Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Wladimir Klitschko-Alex Leapai: Pre-Fight Report Card

by Cliff Rold

Jim Braddock.

Leon Spinks.

Buster Douglas.

Hasim Rahman.

This quartet of names stands with a special place in Heavyweight history.  They are the men that pulled what most would agree were the greatest upsets in history to win boxing’s most prestigious crown.

Alex Leapai could top them all.

Those men, despite the odds against them, had performances in their past that hinted they shouldn’t be taken lightly (or in the case of Spinks an Olympic pedigree and youth).  Leapai has a come from behind stoppage of Travis Walker that was highly debatable and an upset of Denis Boytsov. 

The gap between Boytsov and Wladimir Klitschko is interplanetary. 

On paper, the sheer improbability of Leapai pulling the upset could put this in Douglas territory.  Is there any reason to think the upset is possible on Saturday (ESPN, 5 PM EST/2 PM PST)?
 
Let’s go to the report card.

The Ledgers

Wladimir Klitschko
Age: 38
Title: IBF Heavyweight (2006-Present, 15 Defenses); WBO Heavyweight (2008-Present, 11 Defenses); Lineal/Ring World Heavyweight (2009-Present, 8 Defenses); WBA ‘Super’ Heavyweight (2011-Present, 5 Defenses); IBO Heavyweight (2006-Present, 16 Defenses).
Previous Titles: WBO Heavyweight (2000-03, 5 Defenses)
Height: 6’6
Weight: 247.4 lbs.
Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 246.3 lbs.

Hails from: Kiev, Ukraine
Record: 61-3, 51 KO, 3 KOBY
Record in Major Title Fights: 22-2, 17 KO, 2 KOBY; 9-0, 6 KO (Lineal Title Only)
Current/Former World Champions Faced: 11 (Chris Byrd UD12, TKO7; Ray Mercer TKO6; Corrie Sanders TKO by 2; Lamon Brewster TKO by 5, RTD6; Samuel Peter UD12, KO10; Sultan Ibragimov UD12; Hasim Rahman TKO7; Ruslan Chagaev RTD9; David Haye UD12; Jean Marc Mormeck KO4; Alexander Povetkin UD12 – WBA Regular Titlist)

Vs.

Alex Leapai
Age: 34
Title/Previous Titles: None

Height: 6’0
Weight: 248 lbs.

Average Weight – Last Five Fights: 237.9 lbs.


Hails from: Logan City, Queensland, Australia (Born in Samoa)
Record: 30-4-3, 24 KO, 2 KOBY
Rankings: Unrated
Record in Major Title Fights: 1st Title Opportunity
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 0

Pre-Fight: Speed – Klitschko B+; Leapai B-
Pre-Fight: Power – Klitschko A+; Leapai B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Klitschko B+; Leapai C-
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Klitschko A; Leapai B-

Klitschko enters maintaining a control of the division he’s held since winning the first of the titles he currently holds in 2006.  He does enter with fans thrilled by his last appearance.  Matched with an opponent who looked like he posed at least a modicum of threat, Klitschko fought a mauling, grabbing, brutally ugly fight.  He scored multiple knockdowns and still left room to criticize. 

Leapai, if he is dangerous, will be so early.  The Samoan has quick hands early and some thud to his shots.  He often winds up those shots and can be off balance on the attack, but he does more than headhunt.  Leapai does go to the body, if sometimes inconsistently, and can get low in the pocket.

Where Leapai will be at a serious disadvantage is on the outside.  He lacks head movement, making him vulnerable to Klitschko’s jab and grip.  If he lunges for offense, he falls into clinches and Klitschko is good at not letting a guy whose best chance is a long bomb get that off.

There is also the issue of stamina.  Does Leapai have enough if this gets going past four or five rounds?  He was gassing before the Walker turnaround.  Boytsov was fought at a measured pace on both sides.  Klitschko has shown in recent vintage that some of his better aesthetic outings come against fighters he has no fear of.  If he doesn’t respect Leapai, he’ll probably open up more and force more pace than the challenger saw in his last outing.    

The Pick

This is a joke, right?  If anyone needs evidence of how ridiculous the mandatory allotments can sometimes be, there is this.  The system is not an indictment of Leapai.  He won the fight he was supposed to in scoring the upset over Denis Boytsov but, between that fight and a stoppage loss to Kevin Johnson, he beat dreck.  How was he in that position in the first place?

And, given the opportunity of a lifetime, how does he show up at the highest recorded weight of his career?  A fighter who 18 pounds lighter in December of 2012 now scales heavier than a man always in tip top shape and some six inches taller?  A big upset is always fun, but this doesn’t look like the place to see it.  This looks instead like a stopover before Klitschko resumes facing quality contenders.  Kubrat Pulev and the winners of the Tyson Fury-Dereck Chisora and Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola rematches will all, like Leapai, be underdogs.

They’ll be better underdogs.

The pick is Klitschko in six.   

Report Card Picks 2014: 15-6

Cliff’s Notes…

The Heavyweight title match might be the biggest of the weekend (literally and figuratively), but there are a slew of other televised fights…They all look like sure things too…In Flyweight title action on Azteca America, WBA/WBO titlist Juan Francisco Estrada (25-2, 18 KO) should get some good rounds but ultimately establish himself the superior man over Richie Mepranum (27-3-1, 6 KO).  It could go the route but a stoppage in the final third will be no surprise…Showtime features a tripleheader Saturday with two fights getting a tab here…Lucas Matthysse (34-3, 32 KO) should bounce back from a loss to Jr. Welterweight Champion Danny Garcia in his last outing and look good doing it.  John Molina (27-3, 22 KO) comes to fight and often makes good showings but that’s a bad recipe here.  The pick is Matthysse by the fifth…In the main event, interim WBA Welterweight titlist Keith Thurman (22-0, 20 KO) will keep himself in what is really a mandatory position (a good one in this case) for a theoretical crack at the winner of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana.  Former Lightweight tiltist Julio Diaz (40-9-1, 25 KO) did some nice work in two fights with Shawn Porter.  He’ll suffer a nice knockout inside eight rounds here.      

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by beez721 on 04-28-2014

[QUOTE=daggum;14470072]this guy was such a statue wlad didn't even have to hold very much. he tried a couple headlocks just to stay sharp but besides that statue man literally stood in front of him with his gloves up until he…

Comment by Drunk Punch on 04-26-2014

Why does he even bother with these fights? Why do the Germans keep paying to see this rubbish?

Comment by daggum on 04-26-2014

this guy was such a statue wlad didn't even have to hold very much. he tried a couple headlocks just to stay sharp but besides that statue man literally stood in front of him with his gloves up until he…

Comment by crold1 on 04-26-2014

Answer: yes. It was a complete joke.

Comment by Drunk Punch on 04-26-2014

Here's my prefight report: Wlad takes on yet another overmatched, out of shape little guy and hugs him for ten rounds until he's utterly exhausted, then and only then he will throw some combinations and the exhausted midget will fall…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (7)
Top Headlines Barker: Wilder Will Have Tough Time With Joshua's Skill Set Video: Julian Williams on Ishe Smith Win, Reacts To Trout, More Photos: Anthony Dirrell Edges Denis Douglin in Tough Bout Video: Austin Trout Talks Canelo-Golovkin, Williams, Hurd, More Video: Trainer Breaks Down Julian Williams Win Over Ishe Smith Bellew: I Can 100% Beat Parker, No Way Can He Deal With Joshua! De La Hoya: I Won't Chase McGregor, The Challenge Was Made! Mike Gavronski Wins WBA Regional Title, Beats Hernandez Oscar Vasquez, Gabriel Flores, Bruno Escalante Win in Reno Bryant Cruz Stops Luna: Micah, Lawson Pick Up Wins Deontay Wilder - From Mild-Mannered To Motormouth Ishe Smith: I Fought My Ass Off, The Judges Saw What They Saw De La Hoya: Canelo vs. Golovkin Rematch Will "Definitely Happen" Julian Williams Wins Tough Decision Over Ishe Smith Julian Williams vs. Ishe Smith - LIVE BoxingScene Scorecard Lionell Thompson Drops, Shocks Earl Newman With Points Win Tugstsogt Nyambayar Gets Off The Floor, Decisions Dela Torre De La Hoya on McGregor: It Took Mayweather 10, I Only Need 2! Photos: Oscar De La Hoya Foundation Annual Turkey Giveaway Frampton: That Got The Cobwebs Off, Now I Want The Big Guys! Tomasz Adamek Decisions Fred Kassi Over Ten Rounds Carl Frampton Wins Tough Decision Over Horacio Garcia BWAA Announce a Women's Fighter of The Year Award Jerwin Ancajas Batters, Stops Jamie Conlan in Sixth Round Paddy Barnes Breaks Down, Stops Eliecer Quezada Jono Carroll Claims Vacant IBF Regional Belt With TKO Win Alex Dickinson Gets Decision Win on Frampton Card in Belfast Tomasz Adamek vs. Fred Kassi - LIVE Results From Poland Zolani Tete With Brutal Knockout of Gonya in 11 Seconds! Carl Frampton vs. Horacio Garcia - Early Results From Belfast Ishe Smith: I Would Have Fought Julian Williams in Philly Giovani Santillan Picks Up Stoppage Victory in Ontario Tyron Zeuge Sidelined With Illness, Ekpo Rematch Pushed Back Julian Williams Mentally Prepared For 'Road Game' With Smith Joe Gallagher Pleads: No Callum Smith vs. Braehmer in Germany Carl Frampton: I Feel I Can Stop Any Featherweight in The World Sadam Ali: Moving Up, Fighting Legendary Cotto "a Little Scary" Parker: Joshua's Chin is a Weakness; I Can Knock Him Out! Frank Warren: I Spoke To Haymon About Santa Cruz-Frampton 3 Jerwin Ancajas - The Traveling Man is Back on The Road
Advertisement

Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement