By Mike Coppinger
Wladimir Klitschko destroyed yet another heavyweight on Saturday at the O2 World Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
The unified heavyweight champion did what he always does: clutched, grabbed and jabbed his way to a stoppage victory before thousands of adoring fans in Hamburg, Germany.
The end came at 2:11 of Round 5 after Pulev ate a punishing left hook. Pulev tried to beat the count (as he did three other times in this bout), his left eye bloody, his right eye sporting a giant mouse underneath the eyelid. But after getting up to the seat of his pants as Tony Weeks reached five, Pulev fell flat on his back and it was all over.
Pulev (20-1, 11 KOs) tried to rough up Wlad in the early going, but was immediately dropped twice in the first round. Pulev sprung right up after the first knockdown, only to be dropped hard again by a power right, on his feet for maybe three seconds after Tony Weeks finished his count. When Klitschko (63-3, 53 KOs) wasn’t hammering Pulev with jabs and left hooks, he was exercising his favorite move: the clinch.
Dr. Steelhammer dropped Pulev in Round 3 with a hook and a push, and this time Wlad smelled blood. He went after Pulev, while the latter continued to resort to rabbit punches, his only offense.
Pulev finally landed some effective shots in the early moments of Round 4, a combination that HBO’s Jim Lampley called some of the best shots Klitschko has absorbed in recent fights.
Pulev also did some fine work in the fifth before Wladimir responding with the fight-ending shot.
Klitschko successfully defending a heavyweight title for the 17th time, three shy of tying Larry Holmes for second all time.
This time, the victim was Kubrat Pulev, a top contender from Bulgaria who’s best win to date was a decision win over Tony Thompson.
The bout was pegged for live American coverage on HBO on a week’s notice, a rarity.
Now, Wlad might finally fight a guy that gets the masses excited. With Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder due to mix it up early next year for the WBC title, the victor looms as a big-time matchup to crown a undisputed heavyweight champ. That’s partially why HBO made a deal with K2 to televise future Klitschko’s fights.
Wlad is likely to win against either Stiverne or Wilder, but for once, Americans will be excited for a Klitschko fight.
Also on the card, former EBU light heavyweight champion Eduard “Eddy” Gutknecht (26-3-1, 9 KOs) won an eight round decision over Christian Pawlak (20-7-1, 11 KOs). This is the third time the two have fought. Gutknecht previously won decisions over Pawlak in 2007 and 2008.
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