Every long-reigning champion deserves a lay-up every so often, but the dominance WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko has demonstrated over the field has been such that every fight has looked absurdly easy. Saturday on EPIX, former three-belt cruiserweight titlist Jean Marc Mormeck will be the latest to loose the Klitschko brothers' grip on power and the odds say that he'll end up like all the others.
Only time and action will determine both men's fates, but each man's CompuBox history provides a window into how the fight may unfold as well as the winner's identity. Consider:
Groundhog Day: Remember the Bill Murray movie in which his character relives the same day for years on end? That's what Klitschko, 35, -- and those who watch him -- have experienced in his title fights of late: Klitschko dominating from the outside with his jab-heavy offense while almost eliminating his opponents' offenses.
In his last four fights against David Haye, Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers and Ruslan Chagaev, Klitschko's volume has been nothing special -- his 49.8 per round is slightly above the 46.0 heavyweight norm. But his output more than doubled the combined 22.5 per round his opponents generated. In fact, since 2005 only two men -- Lamon Brewster (41.3) and Calvin Brock (40) -- have dared approach the heavyweight average output against Klitschko. Additionally, of the 22 Klitschko fights tracked by CompuBox since 1999, only David Bostice (48.0 in 2000) exceeded the divisional standard. Fear factor? Perhaps.
Klitschko's accuracy is only slightly better than his rivals' (27.5 percent to 23.8 overall, 25.8 percent to 24.9 jabs and 31.6 percent to 22.6 power). But his command of distance and the specter of his hammering right crosses have led to huge total connect gaps: 134-72 against Haye, 142-35 against Peter, 161-76 against Chambers and 151-47 against Chagaev. Only Haye managed to land more power shots (36-29), but that's only because Klitschko knew his jab success is sufficient (105-36 against Haye, 53-9 against Peter, 124-54 against Chambers and 110-26 against Chagaev).
Mormeck's recent history suggests he won't break the pattern, as detailed later.
The Haye Factor: Klitschko and Mormeck share one common opponent, and the math works heavily in Klitschko's favor -- he beat Haye over 12 while the "Hayemaker" took Mormeck out in seven. Big Brother's dominance was covered earlier while Mormeck's numbers befitted his unpleasant result. Haye averaged an anemic 39 punches per round (the cruiserweight average is 55.4) but he managed connect gulfs of 87-67 (total), 25-8 (jabs) and 62-59 (power) because Mormeck threw just 27.4 punches each round -- less than half the divisional norm.
Mormeck at Heavyweight: The "Marksman" has been no more proactive in his three fights at heavyweight. He averaged 28.3 per round in his split decision victory over Timur Ibragimov, 33.1 in out-pointing Fres Oquendo over 10 and 31.4 in out-scoring Vinny Maddalone over eight. His connect numbers are underwhelming; he out-landed Ibragimov 97-95 (total) but trailed 85-84 in power connects and was badly out-connected against Oquendo (158-103 total, 38-11 jabs and 120-92 power). He led Maddalone, but only by a bit (90-78 total, 15-12 jabs and 75-66 power shots). He only fights as hard as necessary to keep his nose ahead -- and only just. That will be next to impossible against the vastly larger "Dr. Steelhammer."
Prediction: There's little reason to believe that the 38-year-old Frenchman -- who hasn't fought since December 2010 -- will shock the world. He's not active enough, fresh enough or talented enough to overcome Klitschko's size, reach and depth of knowledge in terms of fighting shorter, inactive opponents. The result will depend on Klitschko's mood; if he wants to make a statement he will score an overpowering knockout. But as of late, Klitschko has been content to fight only as hard as needed to win and that probably will happen here. Klitschko by easy TKO.