The Big Question: Klitschko v Fury - who wins?
Batman's cape has gone and Wlad has been Wlad. The talking is done. Mouths shut, time for a fight. Later tonight Wladimir Klitschko, the world heavyweight king, will take part in his 68th professional contest and look to show once more that Tyson Fury is nothing but another pretender who talked a good game but ultimately fell short when it mattered most.
Or will he?
Fury has advantages over the champion, the words and guidance of his trainer and uncle, Peter, and looks to be in the best condition of his life both physically and mentally. So who wins? Klitschko or Fury? The Boxing Monthly online team give their predictions ahead of tonight's clash in Germany.
Shawn W. Smith - I like Klitschko to continue his reign of terror over the heavyweight division. Tyson Fury is a good fighter and his over the top personality is great for the heavyweight division, but I see Klitschko as having more ways to win.
Michael Montero - Fury is making a quantum leap in opposition this Saturday against the champion. The question fans have is what happens after Klitschko lands that first hard straight right? Will Fury go crazy and retaliate, or will he go defensive? Most tend to believe Fury is "not quite right" in the head and expect him to go for broke - that's when things will get entertaining. Klitschko wins via late TKO and continues to build upon his legacy as an all time great heavyweight.
Andrew Harrison - The criticism levelled at the majority of Klitschko’s opposition over the meat of his (rather vapid) career has been that his opposition has either been too small, too timid, too unfit or simply too inept (or a combination of all four) to contend with the well-schooled former Olympic champion. Fury should be excluded from at least three of those descriptions (though his condition can never be taken for granted) and so, theoretically, should threaten the Ukrainian behemoth’s championship reign in Düsseldorf on Saturday.
Klitschko is the quintessential “on top” fighter. He panics when someone throws punches back at him and holds incessantly, often embarrassingly, until he’s regained a modicum of control. If Fury’s smart, he’ll throw a high volume of shots – arm punches will probably do – to unsettle Wladimir and knock him out of his efficient, mechanical stride. I do feel Fury has sufficient skills, the belief and more importantly the balls to unseat Klitschko, however, ring rust won’t do him any favours (only three fights in two years) and he almost always walks onto a big shot at some point during a fight (his pride won’t allow him to peck and poke at Klitschko like he did with Dereck Chisora a year ago). Klitschko by TKO then – in a fight that could potentially expose the champion’s frailties like never before.
Danny Winterbottom - Almost every opponent of Wladimir over the years has gone into the ring believing all they need to do is connect with his chin and knock him out.
The truth is Klitschko hasn't lost since 2004 and he has turned back the challenges of David Haye, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and Bryant Jennings to name just a few. At least two of those, Haye and Povetkin, were given a real shot at unseating the long reigning king but found out the hard way just how difficult it is to fight a huge man who has learned how to maximise his strengths and protect his weaknesses in the ring.
Yes he still fights scared and yes he holds horribly at times when he feels out of his comfort zone, and if you allow Klitschko to fight at his own pace and land his booming jab it is game over.
Fury won't be intimidated, that's for sure. He also boasts the skills and size to match the champion at range but my biggest concern for Tyson in this fight is can he maintain that discipline for 12 rounds?
My feeling is Tyson will unsettle Klitschko enough to make the champion feel threatened but ultimately, as is often the case with Fury, he will walk on to a big shot at some point but unlike against Steve Cunningham for instance he won't be able to recover.
Klitschko to retain his titles via stoppage somewhere around the 8th in his toughest fight to date.
Colin Harris - As much as I hope Fury will do it and I'd love to be proved wrong: I just think Klitschko is too experienced, too technical, too good: he's not quite ready to be unsettled just yet.
After all of the experts analysis and opinions I like to go with the the cold hard facts: there's a reason Wladimir is unbeaten in 11 years and had a nine-year championship reign turning away 18 challengers.... he's faced all sorts of styles, speeds, heights, weights and mentalities - and he's found a way to win every time. We all say Fury's best chance is to "do a Corrie Sanders" on the big Ukranian - but even if he does, Fury has a habit of being caught by a big punch when he lets pride take over from sticking-to-the-gameplan, and he's been put over by lighter punchers than Klitschko.
I'll be rooting for Fury, but I see Wlad W12.
Fury has plenty of time to come-again though and there's no disgrace in a genuine top-5er in the world losing to THE #1 in the world.
John Evans - The only thing I can predict with any kind of certainty is that we will see the most entertaining heavyweight title fight for many a year. Kubrat Pulev deserves credit for “giving it a go”, as they say, against Klitschko but his challenge degenerated into a fun one-sided beat down. Fury has the size, skill and – most importantly – the fighting heart required to give Klitschko plenty of trouble.
I say Fury’s desire is his most important quality because so many of Klitschko’s opponents get disheartened after sharing just a couple of rounds with the Ukrainian champion. They are mentally beaten before they are physically beaten. Still, however, it takes Klitschko plenty of time to take advantage of his opponents diminishing confidence and he picks away at them with impunity. I’m not sure that any of Fury’s pre-fight mind games will make one iota of difference to Wladimir’s game plan or mindset but it will be extremely interesting to see how his refusal to accept defeat affects Klitschko. If Fury can make it through the first third of the fight with his belief intact and Klitschko is forced to constantly work rather than dictating the pace behind his own jab, things could get extremely interesting.
I pick Wladimir to win by knockout simply because I think he punches too hard for Tyson. Fury won’t go down easily and will impress people with his skill and courage before the weight of Klitschko’s punches simply becomes too much to bear. I think Wladimir wins a very entertaining and hard fought fight somewhere around round seven.
Callum Rudge - In Wladimir's 18 consecutive successful title defences he has supposedly seen every style; rangey southpaws (Thompson), power punchers (Peter), speed (Haye), pure boxers (Povetkin) and the ridiculous (Lepai). Tyson Fury can claim to be all of the above. He can box, he's quick (for a giant HW), he's a southpaw when he wants to be and can bang a bit. He also has improved immensely since teaming with his Uncle Peter and when detractors point to Tyson's knockdown against Steve Cunningham, they conveniently forget his Uncle's absence.
I expect Tyson to start at orthodox but switch to southpaw early in the fight after feeling the champions jab. Fury is defensively a better boxer from this stance and I expect Fury to have his successes in the fight from this stance.
The question is can this hybrid of Wlad's past ruin his future, in short the answer is no. Despite Fury's obvious strengths there's very few areas where he is superior to the champion and I'm finding it difficult to think of a scenario where he can win. I expect Fury's improved defence and stubbornness to see him through the fight but for the champion to retain on the cards.
Klitschko by UD
Shaun Brown - Tyson Fury is going to have to box the champion's head off, avoid getting in close, not get frustrated and stand up to Wlad's right hands to have any chance of winning. The champion will do nothing different but may be forced into becoming more offensive, especially if Fury boxes to orders from his trainer. I can see Fury gaining plaudits, having to get up off the floor but dropping a split decision loss.