Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Heavyweight Division's New Hope: Is Kubrat Pulev Next?

by Cliff Rold

Given their dominance, the Klitschko brothers leave many observers in a state of duality.  They assume victories for the twin heads of the division while constantly projecting onto the future.  As the Klitschko’s age, an end feels inevitable.  Conversations about tomorrow are sure to increase.

It is particularly true now.

The Heavyweight division is recharging.  Tyson Fury, David Price, Deontay Wilder, and when he returns from injury Robert Helenius, are all newer faces reaching various points of contention.  Some may factor into the Klitschko legacy.  Others will stand ready to fill the void.

On the undercard of Alexander Povetkin-Hasim Rahman this weekend, U.S. fans will get a good look at a fighter who may do both.  Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (16-0, 8 KO) is 31 years old.  He stands just a shade under 6’5.  He’s in shape at around 250 lbs.

He might be the future.

Amateur pedigree?  Pulev, while never the best in world in the headgear set, had a deep pedigree and learned his craft.  He competed at the 2008 Olympics and competed at his final World Championship tournament in 2009. 

Effective progression?  Pulev has developed on a firm professional path.  He’s faced a fighter with a losing record only once, that in his professional debut.  In his last three fights, he’s faced increasingly tough opposition in journeyman Travis Walker and Michael Sprott before taming fringe contender Alexander Dimitrenko. 

Power?  In that category, Pulev has been spotty. His temperament reflects a long unpaid tenure focused more on contact to win than contact to concuss.  If here is reason to wonder about his real long-range chances, it could come in the form of waiting so long to turn pro.  The best prospects rarely wait until their late 20s to get paid for being punched.  He’s more technician than terror but he can crack enough to finish.

Now he takes another in what can be called logical steps.  Opponent Alexander Ustinov (27-0, 21 KO) is limited but to date has passed his tests.  Most expect a failing grade versus Pulev.  With the win, Pulev has the chance to expand on his current position in the various sanctioning body ratings.

That position is good.

Pulev is rated in the top available slot for the IBF (3rd, with the top two vacant while eliminators are determined).  He is also rated number six by the WBA and number 12 by the WBC.  Two of those belts, IBF and WBA, belong to Wladimir Klitschko. 

With Vitali, the WBC titlist, likely to retire soon, Pulev may be able to jockey for that title when it goes vacant.  His angles indicate a clearer path, for now, to a shot at Wladimir’s belts and the lineal crown.

That means it’s time to start paying attention to Pulev.  That means it’s time, it’s fair, to start wondering if he might be next.

Boxing is not static.  Borrowing, as this scribe often does, from the great George Carlin, if it’s undisputed, why do they keep fighting?  For all the hoopla about unification fights, debates about who ‘real’ champions are, the wheels never quit turning. 

There isn’t a fighter in the division who would be favored over either Klitschko right now.  There hasn’t been a fighter who would have been favored over either since Lennox Lewis retired. 

That doesn’t mean no one ever will.  It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for someone who might.  If there are no contenders, then what is the point of a champion?  It’s what makes Pulev-Ustinov a fight worth looking forward to.

The winner emerges a strong contender.  Contention is the birth of discussion, the source of anticipation.  If Pulev impressively topples Ustinov, having already been mentioned as a possible future foe by Wladimir, anticipation can build. 

So too can the future of the class.  Just rubbing shoulders, and coming close, against Lewis gave Vitali an aura he’s carried for the rest of his career. Someone who can compete with the Klitschko’s can do the same for themselves.

Derek Chisora got a rub just by giving Vitali a fight earlier this year and made Vitali-David Haye hot again.  Whether it ever happens or not, it’s bigger now than it would have been had Haye simply rested on the blasé defeat he suffered versus Wladimir in 2011. 

Pulev versus Wladimir can be a point of intrigue, win or lose when the Bulgarian gets there.

First he has to make us wonder.  Ustinov is a big opportunity to do so.

The Weekly Ledger

But wait, there’s more…

Burns Scorches Mitchell: http://www.boxingscene.com/ricky-burns-fires-up-crowd-with-glasgow-stoppage--57424
And Ready to Burn up Lightweight?:
Ratings Update:
http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=boxing-ratings
Ward Ascends P4P:
http://www.boxingscene.com/dre-day-boxingscenecoms-pound-pound-update--57465
Updated P4P Top Ten:
http://www.boxingscene.com/forums/view.php?pg=pound
Picks of the Week:
http://www.boxingscene.com/boxingscenecoms-televison-picks-week--57501

Cliff’s Notes… A quick mea culpa is in order.  The ‘Picks of the Week’ looked forward to a fight between Chris John and Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo but it appears that fight is not happening this weekend.  That scheduling snafu was missed here.  Apologies…Rest in peace to former Heavyweight beltholder Corrie Sanders.  Best remembered for his upset knockout of Wladimir Klitschko and losing wars with Hasim Rahman and Vitali Klitschko, Sanders had a big punch.  It turns out he had a bigger heart outside the ring.  He was killed protecting his daughter from gunmen and one hopes they are brought to justice rapidly…Manny Pacquiao’s lawsuit against Floyd Mayweather is over.  Whatever…Odlanier Solis is fighting Tomasz Adamek next.  It’s easy to look forward to Adamek fights.  It’s hard to care if the slovenly Solis ever fights again…Wouldn’t it be great if Hasim Rahman upset Alexander Povetkin?  It’s highly unlikely but seeing a fighter forge a career with almost no visible desire to be the best in his class is unseemly.  If Povetkin is never going to seriously go after a Klitschko, what’s the point?  That said, he’s wearing Marco Huck’s belt…Sorry Golden Tate.  You didn’t catch that ball.  Roger Goodell isn’t fit to carry Pete Rozelle’s coffee mug.

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Jizzme Mack on 09-29-2012

Pulev the future? No thanks. No one wants to watch a feather duster HW. People like hard hits and KOs. [SIZE="1"][I]Posted from Boxingscene.com App for Android[/I][/SIZE]

Comment by D-Uneek on 09-29-2012

Tate did too catch that ball. Go Seahawks!

Comment by Freedom. on 09-29-2012

Excellent article.

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (3)
Top Headlines Randy Caballero To Return on March 23 on ESPN Card "Fighting Words" - Angel Garcia to Blame, Though We Enabled Him Abel Sanchez: Maybe It Could Be Golovkin-Chavez, Canelo-Jacobs Puerto Rico Commission To Investigate Vazquez Jr. Pay Claims Shawn Porter Tabs Santa Cruz To Beat Frampton in Rematch Chocolatito: All Rungvisai Has is a Punch, It Won't Be That Difficult Klitschko Coach Says Everyone Will Be Shocked After Joshua Fight Nacho: Juan Manuel Marquez Has Not Retired, Wants To Fight Memo: Chavez Jr. Will Be Stronger, No Weight Issues For Canelo Thurman-Garcia: Narvaez vs. Rodriguez Clash is Eyed For Card Rob Brant Stops Alexis Hloros in First at Grand Casino in Hinckley Canelo vs. Chavez is a Fight Boxing Needed, Says De La Hoya David Haye: Chris Eubank Jr. is a Force, He Will Go All The Way Canelo vs. Chavez: Positive Talks Ongoing With MGM, Jerry Jones Conlan Hopes For 'Dream Fight' With Carl Frampton in The Future Top Rank Prez Eyes Deontay Wilder vs. Joseph Parker Unification Jacobs: Most Guys are Beaten Mentally When They Face Golovkin Frampton Expects Rematch With Leo Santa Cruz To Be Easier Tomoki Kameda Returns To Japan on March 10, Faces Tawatchai Carl Greaves Looks Back On 2016, Is Excited About 2017 Jermell Charlo, Gary Russell Mandatory Double Eyed For March 11 De La Hoya: Canelo Beating Chavez Jr. Will Not Satisfy The Critics Cedric Vitu Retains EBU Title, Decisions Isaac Real in Levallois Horn Warns Pacquiao, Top Rank Not To Look Beyond April Fight Angel Garcia, Mayweather Tarnished What Should've Been Good Week for Boxing WBA Champ Ortiz Wins Decision Over Ramos in Mexico City Robert Garcia: Canelo Has A lot More To Lose in Chavez Jr. Bout Hairon Socarras Training Hard in Miami For February 3 Return Zab Judah Returns, Blasts Out Munguia in Two Rounds Jose Pedraza Confident That He Will Return Strong at Lightweight Javier Fortuna Ready - Targets Sosa, Corrales, Lomachenko Alvarez vs. Chavez Rematch is Being Planned For March 11 Miguel Cotto: Juan Manuel Marquez Fight is Very Viable Bradley Pryce Announces Retirement After Defeat Robbie Davies Jr. Crushes Zoltan Szabo, Retains WBA Regional Patrick Nielsen, Dina Thorslund Win Decisions, Khattab Shocked Bellew: 'Ego Maniac' David Haye Better Hope He Ends Me in Four Beterbiev: Barrera Proved To Be a Real Fighter, He Agreed To Fight Luis Cruz Admits He Was Close To Retirement Before Easter Shot Mundine: When I Beat Danny Green - Call Me Black Houdini!
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement