Wladimir Klitschko will be looking to defend his IBF Heavyweight title for the 17th consecutive time as he battles unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev possibly on Sept 6 in Hamburg, Germany. But will Pulev be another stepping stone to Dr. Steelhammer’s invincibility?
Extending the Reign
Klitschko’s 16 successful title defenses in his second reign is the third most in history behind Joe Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20). His reign as IBF champion since April 2006 is the second longest in heavyweight boxing history, and is next only to the 11 plus years of Joe Louis’ title run. It is also the longest title reign in IBF heavyweight history. He also holds the record for the longest title reign in IBO and WBO heavyweight history.
Since 2006, Wladimir has dominated the Heavyweight boxing scene. After capturing the IBF and IBO Heavyweight titles in 2006 against Chris Byrd, he also annexed the WBO, Ring and WBA Heavyweight titles to make him the most decorated boxing champion today with five belts around his waist.
The Pulev fight will give him one title fight more than Muhammad Ali’s 25, making him the solo second placer behind Joel Louis who fought 27 world title fights. A win over Pulev will put him one win closer to Holmes and Louis in successive title defenses.
Klitschko’s legend grows with every fight. And with that, so does his stake to being the greatest heavyweight boxer of all-time becomes more credible. And although Wladimir will not become the greatest, he may be the most dominant of all-time. Remember that this reign is Klitschko’s second as heavyweight champion. Let’s compare his reign to Joe Louis:
|Inclusive Dates||Titles||Duration||# of days|
|10/14/2000-03/08/2003||WBO||2 yrs 4 mos 23 days||876 days|
|04/22/2006-present||WBO,IBF,IBO,WBA, Ring||8 yrs 1 mos 28 days||2980 days|
|Total||10yrs 6 mos 21 days||3856 days|
*present day is 6/18/14
Joe Louis’ reign was 11 years 8 months and 8 days or 4271 days. The difference is 415 days. If Klitschko gets past Pulev and fights again in May next year, that would be 317 days (on May 1). Should Wladimir win his next fight, he will eclipse the great Brown Bomber’s total reign. With the opposition and competition that Wladimir has in the heavyweight division today, winning his next two bouts doesn’t look like a tall order.
Tom Loeffer of K2, who promotes Wladimir Klitschko says that Pulev is considered as one of the best in the Heavyweight division and he will be a test for Dr. Steelhammer. But he believes that Klitschko is in a different level than anybody else in the division. Loeffer was close to saying that his boxer is nearly invincible after 16 straight title defenses.
Despite that, Pulev is no patsy. He is the IBF’s mandatory challenger for Wladimir. He has a record of 20-0 with 11 KO’s, He earned this title shot by defeating American Tony Thompson. Since winning that bout, Pulev has fought and won twice. Both have been knockouts.
Pulev said that he was at Ringside when Wladimir fought Lepai a couple of weeks ago. He said that it was a walk in the park for Klitschko. But Pulev said that he will cause problems for Wladmir when they meet in the ring and he will prove that Klitschko is not invincible.
That remains to be seen though.