Klitschko vs Jennings: Will boxing match turn into MMA, WWE or NFL clinch-fest?Written by Leroy Cleveland
For the first time in seven years, the heavyweight champion returns stateside to defend his many titles and status as boxing's lineal heavyweight champion.
His opponent will be Bryant Jennings of Philadelphia and Klitschko vs Jennings will be televised live from Brooklyn on HBO this Saturday.
Not surprisingly, this Klitschko title defense has been getting more buzz in the U.S. versus his recent previous scraps in Europe.
A fight legend by any measure, Wladimir Klitschko, among Americans, is perhaps one of the least known and respected heavyweight champions in the entire history of the sport.
There are reasons aplenty but many contend his fighting style is what turned Americans off most.
"Once bitten, twice shy" is an old adage that could quite easily apply to Wlad.
Once an offensive Juggernaut with a growing American fan base, Wladimir Klitschko would be knocked out by Corrie Sanders in March 2003 and the defeat would serve a turning point in his career.
Klitschko's reputation in the U.S. would take a natural dip but it was the ensuing highly- defensive fighting style he'd subsequently adopt that would prove to be his downfall in America and on HBO.
Moreover, not only was Wladimir far less offensive in the ring, he'd employ excessive holding, clinching and mauling tactics when opponents got inside, much to the dismay of fans looking for savory pugilistic action.
Klitschko's grappling tendencies were never more evident than in his October 2013 title defense against Alexander Povetkin as Wlad was allowed to drape himself all over the challenger after almost every punch. And no warnings or point deductions for repeated infractions made the fight almost unwatchable.
Punch and hold...
Punch, hold and grapple....
Punch, hold, grapple and tackle....
Punch and throw-down!
If you were looking for MMA, WWE or NFL action that evening, Klitschko vs Povetkin may have been for you.
Will we see another stink-fest Saturday?
To Klitschko's credit, he's looked like a beast in his previous two outings and has shown in the past that he is well-capable of being fearsome and violent when he chooses.
Which version of Wladimir Klitschko will we see in a few days?
Win or lose, let's hope we see the exciting, monstrous version of the Ukrainian.