Cautious Klitschko destroys Ibragimov at MSG

Working the jab has rarely looked so beautiful.

Despite not being as aggressive as we’re used to seeing, Wladimir Klitschko unified his heavyweight title with that of formerly undefeated Sultan Ibragimov improving the Ukranian’s record to 50-3 while Ibragimov fell to 22-1-1 with the loss. Unfortunately for Ibragimov, the one loss may have erased most of those 22 wins in the eyes of many who watched the beating.

Out of the 143 punches Klitschko landed during the fight, 108 were jabs (the left jab) indicating the effectiveness of the punch itself and Klitschko’s ease in being able to land the same punch over and over and over again.

The fight drew 14,011 fans to the 20,000-seat arena.

The fight was the first in a potentially long line of unification fights with the goal being to produce the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis over five years ago. Since then, the title has been spread all over the globe with four people holding heavyweight title belts entering Saturday night; by the end of the night Ibragimov was thoroughly dispatched from the club.

The major complaint of many including Klitschko’s trainer Emanuel Steward was that Klitschko was not showing the same aggressive streak that produced Klitschko’s dominating wins over Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, Ray Austin, and Calvin Brock.

Maybe it was the enormity of the prize on this night, but that Wladimir Klitschko did not show up to Madison Square Garden this past Saturday night. Instead, there was a Klitschko who was okay with simply decimating his opponent and going it easy in the championship rounds. Klitschko’s main opportunity for the knockout came when he had Ibragimov literally half in and half out of the ring after a barrage of punches, but chose instead to back off after the ref resumed the action.

Despite the shortcomings Klitschko put on display Saturday night, the positives he showed are reasons why he would have to be the favorite to be the one to unify the heavyweight title completely.

Klitschko’s jab once again was on full display and, after a performance like this, now would have to be up there with the best to ever display the punch well.

Klitschko’s defense was also showcased in this fight as even when Ibragimov became a wild and desperate puncher, Klitschko not only kept his cool, but also still didn’t allow the Russian to gain any ground or create any opportunity to land that big punch.

In short, when it comes down to who’s the best heavyweight in boxing today, there should be no doubt anymore.

My scorecard:
Klitschko 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 120
Ibragimov 10 9 9 10 9 9 9 9 9 10 9 9 111