Klitschko vs Joshua prediction: "He's scared to get hit"Written by Leroy Cleveland
Who will win the high-profile superfight between Wladimir Klitschko and IBF belt holder Anthony Joshua in December?
Deontay Wilder and David Haye predict a Joshua victory... Shall we add Shannon Briggs (60-6, 1, 53 KO) to the list?
"It's not too early for Anthony...it's a great fight...once you're scared to get hit, anything can happen," the former heavyweight champion told the elite boxing site FightHype.com recently.
"We've seen in the last fight (with Klitschko), he's scared to get hit."
"...He's [Wladimir Klitschko] no longer relevant...this is a great time for Anthony to step up and possibly knock the guy out."
Without offering a direct prediction, Briggs seems to suggest Wladimir Klitschko doesn't have the fire to defeat Anthony Joshua.
Briggs, of course, who is 9-0 with 8 KOs since his comeback started in April 2014, publicly stalked and taunted Wlad for over a year, hoping to generate enough buzz to create the groundswell for a potential Klitschko vs Briggs showdown.
Is Shannon still upset because Wladimir didn't give him a title shot?
Perhaps... But Briggs makes a fine point as Wladimir’s ultra conservative style is symbolic of a fighter who is a little too concerned about getting punched.
Late, great fight trainer Emanuel Steward used to plead with Klitschko in the corner bewteen rounds, "Let your hands go!"
Wladimir has been tentative for quite some time but against Tyson Fury in 2015, Klitschko fought with the level of cautiousness of a soldier walking through a mind field. Hit, hug, hold and pose... Pose, hold, hug and pose more.
Wlad's output was hideous as he landed a dreadful 52 punches and 8 power shots in the entire 12 rounds. And when he finally exhibited some semblance of aggression in the final two rounds, he was seemingly hurt by subsequent Fury combinations.
Was Wlad protecting a weak chin? If so, will his conscientiousness and concern force him to clam up when he faces the explosive Anthony Joshua in December?
Tyson Fury, himself, who participated in a Klitschko training camp in 2010, accused Wlad of being mentally weak last fall.
"He was very worried about fighting Dereck Chisora, who was unbeaten at the time and was the British and Commonwealth champion," Fury told the BBC in 2015.
"He was very afraid; he was very mentally weak. I remember seeing him so uptight about things and I walked over to him and said: 'Wlad... he can't beat me, never mind you. You're the champion.'"
In Klitschko's defense, he ended up taking a much bigger fight with a more-dangerous David Haye.
However, Wlad, ever since getting knocked out by Corrie Sanders in 2003, has been extremely tentative in the ring. And yes, despite all of his accomplishments, he's often fought like a fighter 'worried.'
Is Wladimir Klitschko, a man with awesome punching power of his own, an offensively- limited fighter these days because he's too concerned with being punched?