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Join Date: Aug 2009
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Originally Posted by It's Ovah
I can think of a few improvements:
1. He paces himself better. Early Wlad used to go all out on opponents to get the KO, a la the Mercer fight. Most of the time it worked, but after the Brewster fight, where Wlad gassed himself trying to take Brewster out and left himself vulnerable, he's been a hell of a lot more conservative. You can easily see the extent of the changes he made here by analysing the rematch.
2. He clinches a lot more. Older Wlad used to clinch, but to nowhere near the extent the modern one does, and he did it a lot less intelligently. Modern Wlad throws shots and if his opponent slips them he uses the already extended arms to clinch them up tightly and lean on them. Sometimes this has a positive effect for the opponent, as even if Wlad stuns them he doesn't follow up and they get a chance to rest and recover. Over the course of the fight though this wears out their legs and neutralises their offence.
3. He's improved his balance. Older Wlad used to flop about like Bambi, even when he wasn't hit solidly or even on the chin, and get knocked down by balance shots. Modern Wlad seems to keep his balance a lot better and as a result is more in a position to receive solid shots without such a dramatic effect. He's still vulnerable to the knockdown, but a lot less so.
4. He varies the speed, power and comitment of his jab. Older Wlad threw jabs full power every time, or so it seemed, and there were clear windows where you could get on his inside. Modern Wlad uses his left arm almost like a hypnotising snake, waving it, flicking it, parrying their own left hand, or shooting it into their face. It keeps his opponent guessing, and at arms length.
Those are a couple of the most visible changes I've seen in his style from the early days.