23.2.08

Round By Round: Klitschko-Ibragimov

We're still waiting for tonight's main event between Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov from Madison Square Garden. First up on the broadcast is a replay of last week's rematch between Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor. It was interesting to see the fight with the judge's scores displayed, as I disagreed with several rounds but agreed with the decision.

Now we've got a little debate about the heavyweight division with Lennox Lewis. The former champ gives props to Ibragimov for his caginess, but thinks Dr. Steelhammer will catch up with him sooner or later.

I give Ibragimov the edge in gear, simply because my taste in clothing runs more toward Affliction than Hugo Boss. This has been Klitschko's longest period of inactivity; we'll see if that means anything. Ibragimov enters tonight's fight at 219 pounds, Klitschko at 238.

Rd. 1

Klitschko using his left hand to smack away Ibragimov's numerous quick jab attempts. That was about 90 seconds of boredom as both guys are being extra cautious. First punch that lands is a left to the body by Ibragimov. Maybe another left or two and some wild swings at the bell that miss. Not much action in that round, to say the least.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Ibragimov

Rd. 2

More of the same to start the second, though Wlad does land a jab or two. Another jab and Ibragimov has to jump in to get anything off. Quick left to the body by Ibragimov but it just doesn't look like he can do anything to hurt Wlad. The crowd boos, understandably in my opinion.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 3

Klitschko looks like he could wade in there if he wants, but he's not doing it yet. Sultan backed up into the corner but escapes without harm. Double up on the jab by Wladimir and they snap Sultan's head back. We haven't seen the right hand behind the jab yet though. Ibragimov chases Klitschko across the ring but to no avail. More boos and the announcers think Ibragimov may be tiring already.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 4

First semi-exchange in the center of the ring and Wladimir gets the best of it. Sultan gets in with some shots to the body. Nice powerful jab by Wlad. Left to the body by Ibragimov. He comes forward for a second behind another left. Crappy round but Ibragimov may have won it with activity.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Ibragimov

Rd. 5

Double jabs by Klitschko and Ibragimov fires back with a left. The crowd boos again in displeasure. Finally a right hand by Klitschko and it scores. Ibragimov tries to come forward again but it ends up in some wrestling. Sultan goes for the body. No connections of note in the round's final ten seconds.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 6

Jim Lampley makes a good point that Klitschko ran out of gas against Lamon Brewster, which may be something he's keeping in mind here. The fans may not be happy with that explanation. Sultan rushes inside but ends up in a clinch once again. Klitschko dances back away from a combo, looking effortless. More wrestling inside, then a one-two combo that sort of lands by Ibragimov.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 7

A right lands from Klitschko, but Ibragimov doesn't appear hurt. Left from Wlad and Sultan retreats. Sneaky right gets in there from Klitschko. More jabs landing from Wladimir. Sniping lefts and rights as Ibragimov looking a little more hesitant. Lennox Lewis imploring Klitschko to throw more combos against the ropes. It doesn't happen, as the boos prove.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 8

Wladimir starts coming forward a little more to start the eighth. A big right finds the mark, then Ibragimov goes down but it's ruled a throw or slip. Straight right finally starting to land for Klitschko. Left to the body by Ibragimov. Right and left by Klitschko and Ibragimov is brave facing them down. It took eight rounds, but Dr. Steelhammer connected with a few big shots.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 9

Looping shots from Ibragimov answered by straight shots from Klitschko. Ibragimov uses the ropes to save himself and the ref does not score it a knockdown. Three unanswered jabs by Klitschko. Sultan's combo answered by a Klitschko right hand. A little more wrestling late in the round, which was an easy Steelhammer round.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 10

Sultan still showing some spark but doesn't seem to have even a puncher's chance right now. Both guys go down in a move straight out of WWE. Headlock action is the dominant theme of this round. Partial score with a right by Klitschko and more tie-ups. Left hook finds the mark but Ibragimov still making an effort. The announcers are praising Klitschko's defense though the crowd still sounds unimpressed.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 11

It's kind of hard to believe this fight is still going, and Emanuel Steward just told Klitschko he should never be going 12 rounds with Ibragimov. Jabs still landing for Steelhammer, but where is that right hand? This fight may end with a whimper instead of a bang. A brief flurry breaks out right before the bell, though nothing lands of consequence.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Rd. 12

Steward just told Klitschko he should get the knockout or "it's going to be bad." Let's see if that lights a fire under him. He does look a little more aggressive. Lewis is dropping all kinds of vrbal gems, which have been the most entertaining parts of this fight. He and Max Kellerman are debating the merits of Steward's instructions. Lots of swinging and missing from Ibragimov. Wladimir looks like he will jab his way to victory, and we'll have to be content with that. A late right hand from Klitschko but not the performance many fans expected, or hoped for, quite frankly.

Franchise scores it: 10-9 Klitschko

Franchise scores it 118-110 for Klitschko. The judges score it 119-110, 117-111 and 118-110, all for Klitschko.

No surprise that Steelhammer got the easy decision, but it will be interesting to see what kind of criticism comes his way. I know his chin isn't the best, but it really didn't look like he was in much danger, so his caution seemed to be a bit excessive.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This fight was pathetic and boring. Klitschko was overly careful when he could likely have ended it quickly. It is good to see the unification aspect of it, though. Thanks again for the round by round, guys.

Bob J

The Franchise said...

No problem, but it was pretty painful to do it because of how the fight went down.

And while I agree that unifying the heavyweight belts is a noble goal for Steelhammer, it does matter how he does it. The heavyweight championship is one that still resonates with the public at large. But let's say Wlad gets three of the belts and wins another fight like this one to get the last belt. If Joe Q. Sportsfan, who doesn't usually watch boxing, is tuned in, he won't be watching again!

My brother Uatu boxes for his law school club team, and even though I didn't see it, he fought last night, I guarantee he threw more right hands than Wlad in a much shorter fight...