Doghouse Boxing Decides: Wladimir Klitschko vs Sultan Ibragimov
Compiled by Benny Henderson Jr (Feb 23, 2008) Doghouse Boxing 
It has been nine years since the fight world has witnessed any stab at a heavyweight title unification, well tonight is the night and it should be a humdinger of a heavyweight showdown as the IBF/IBO heavyweight title holder Wladimir Klitschko 49-3 (44) clashes with the WBO’s version of heavyweight hardware holder Sultan Ibragimov22-0-1 (17) on HBO’s World Championship Boxing 9:30 PM ET/6:30 PM PT.

Klitschko is on a roll winning seven consecutive bouts while Ibragimov has not tasted defeated yet in his time as a
professional. Can the stinging southpaw pull a Corrie Sanders (the last southpaw to defeat Wlad) and drop and stop the towering Ukrainian, or will King Klitschko continue his domination?

Doghouse Decides!

Danny Serratelli: Wladimir Klitschko will establish the jab early. Ibragimov's chin and defense will probably be the only things that can save him from being stopped. If Ibragimov really comes to fight, he probably gets stopped even with a good chin and defense. Wladimir Klitschko by Unanimous Decision.

Anthony Cocks: I have been a fan of Ibragimov since I first saw him cut down Lance Whittaker in seven dominant rounds three years ago. A lackluster draw against Ray Austin took some shine off Ibragimov's rising stock, but subsequent victories over Shannon Briggs and Evander Holyfield put him back in the picture for big fights. Now, against Klitschko, Ibragimov has his big chance. Ibragimov's southpaw stance and good use of angles promises to trouble Klitschko early, but as the rounds progress I expect the jackhammer jab and hard right hand of the Ukrainian to
increasingly find their mark. Look for Klitschko to open up the fight in the second half, stopping a game Ibragimov sometime after round seven.

Ian Keogh: It's been more than 8 years since two heavyweight titleholders met in the ring. 8 years!! Just take a minute to think about what's happened in the last 8 years. That is simply too long and it's about damn time. The favorite is Klitschko and it's not hard to see why. He's bigger, stronger and more experienced on the pro level. Ibragimov recently defended his title in his native Russia against the ghost of Evander Holyfield and judging by that performance and his fight before that with Shannon Briggs I'm picking Wladimir Klitschko. I expect the southpaw stance of Ibragimov to trouble Klitschko early on but I expect him to figure it out with his sharp punching and I see Klitschko turning the fight in his favor in the middle rounds before putting it on Sultan and forcing a stoppage between the 9th and 12th rounds.

Vikram Birring: For the first time since 1999, the heavyweight division is hosting a unification battle, this time between two Eastern European stalwarts. Wladimir Klitschko has been on a tear as of late, knocking out any opponent who dares to step in the same ring as him. Sultan Ibragimov has been knocking off crafty heavyweight veterans, first Shannon Briggs, and then legendary Evander Holyfield. Now, the two titans meet, and the world watches with interest, because in the end, the heavyweights are the glamour of boxing.

Nate Edwards: This is going to be a great fight. Sultan is a small and quick heavyweight who can mix it up well and has an unorthodox style for this weight class. Wlad is a huge heavyweight who not only has one of the hardest punches in the division but incredible hand speed for his size. What I look for in this bout is for Sultan to try to use his footwork and awkward style to disrupt Wlad's rhythm while Wlad will look to let his jab dictate the pace while looking for clean opening to shoot his big right hand or possibly even that sneaky left hook he likes to disguise as a jab at times. It’s going to be an interesting fight because it’s going to be relatively a chess match early on between the two when they are trying to figure each other out. I feel as though Sultan's best shot is to try to be aggressive and use angles early to evade the jab and try to land something big on Wlad for the possibility of stopping him. I don't see Sultan winning a decision over Wlad even with his superior amateur pedigree. I think Wlad will probably lose a few of the early rounds while adjusting to Sultan and his style but in the long run he will figure it out and time Sultan as he is coming in with that jab and he will land that right hand on Sultan PLENTY.

My Prediction: After the first 6 or 7 rounds Wlad will gradually chip away at Sultan punishing him and stopping him within the distance.

Rob Scott: Klitschko just may be the very best heavyweight out there, but every man has an Achilles heel. Every man can be beat – that includes Klitschko. Ibragimov is probably the most elusive fighter in the division. If he can utilize his elusiveness and make Klitschko miss – and miss often – David may just slay Goliath and somehow have his hand raised. For Klitschko, he has to do what Klitschko does, just do it better and often. Landing that jab and utilizing his size advantage to wear Ibragimov down will be his key. Of the two, Ibragimov has to put his plan together, but be ready to put it into play from the first bell to the last. However for Klitschko, his plan may not take that long if done well. The current IBF champ has been on a mission, but his WBO counterpart has made us take notice as well – just not like Klitschko. I have to go with Klitschko by late round stoppage; but where if Ibragimov beats Klitschko shockwaves will be felt by some, it wouldn't surprise me at all. Klitschko – late stoppage.

Jess Trail: Sultan Ibragimov is a good, efficient boxing technician. He's smart, well conditioned and is a southpaw. He will be good challenge for Vladimir Klitschko. Unfortunately that is all he can be. The only question is whether he will hear the final bell. In order to defeat Vladimir, you have to have close to one punch knockout power and the willingness to wade in and eat very hard jabs in the process. This won't happen. Klitschko by TKO in 8.

Gabriel Montoya: Klitschko is certainly fighting his stiffest competition in awhile but heavyweight unification is supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff and that is exactly what will happen Saturday night at the most fitting of places, Madison Square Garden. While I think Ibragimov is certainly no slouch, Klitschko is a class above as an athlete and as a fighter. Wlad's jab will pick apart the low lead hand of Sultan and make it hard for him to fight from the outside. The right hand and hook from Wlad (lead hook or off the jab) will be too much of a price to pay over the early rounds as Sultan tries to close the distance. I don't feel the speed of Ibragimov will throw Klitschko off as much as some have predicted. Perhaps the sneaky angles Sultan throws from will but by the 4th round, the right hand of Klitschko will be in full effect and a knockout happens in the 8th.

Benny Henderson Jr.: Any heavyweight has a punchers chance, one punch can change the course of history. Ibragimov does have that pop, but can he land that shot? That is the question. I have to go with Wladimir on this go around, I still cannot get the Ibragimov-Austin fight out of my head, a fight that Sultan had trouble with, and then Wlad totally dominated Ray using only jabs, doesn’t add up. Now I do know that styles make fights, so who knows. I believe Wlad will utilize his jab, and of course the hook. I say Sultan makes it a challenge but Klitschko gets the win via knockout in the middle rounds.

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