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Holyfield-Ibragimov fight breakdown

Kevin Iole
Yahoo Sports

Evander Holyfield has held a version of the heavyweight title on four occasions. He said he'll retire once he regains the undisputed version of the crown. He'll take the first step on that path Saturday on pay-per-view in Moscow, where he faces WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov. Here is what each man must do to win:





Keys to victory
HOLYFIELD'S KEYS IBRAGIMOV'S KEYS
1. Hook, hook, hook: The left hook is a punch Holyfield hasn't used recently, but it used to be one of his best. Ibragimov is vulnerable to it. 1. Watch the head: Ibragimov has to be wary of Holyfield's head and his tendency to butt on the inside. A cut on the forehead could be problematic.

2. Move the head: Holyfield will undoubtedly be pressing forward, but he can't be so concerned with offense that he forgets his defensive principles. 2. Combos: Ibragimov has the faster hands and needs to take advantage.

3. Fight in spurts: At 44, it's unlikely Holyfield can go hard for three minutes a round for 12 rounds. He needs to be smart about finding brief rest periods when it won't cost him. 3. Avoid the ropes: Holyfield is a master at taking advantage of an opponent on the ropes.

4. Initiate: When he's struggled, Holyfield has failed to let his hands go and he's gotten beaten badly. If he throws first, he'll create openings. 4. Work the body: At 44, it's unlikely that Holyfield can take a long, sustained body assault.


Rating the fighters
Comparison of Evander Holyfield and Sultan Ibragimov on a scale of 1-10 in several key categories:
on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
CATEGORY HOLYFIELD IBRAGIMOV IOLE’S SKINNY
Punching power 8 6 The old man can still whack
Jab 6 7 The jab will be an important weapon for Ibragimov
Body attack 8 6 Holyfield will keep it up throughout
Speed and quickness 5 6 No one is reminiscent of Floyd Mayweather
Defense 6 6 Ibragimov can be tagged with the hook
Chin 9 8 Holyfield has always taken the best anyone can deliver
Stamina 7 8 Holyfield could surprise and be able to sustain
Corner 8 6 Holyfield's Ronnie Shields is world-class
Intangibles 6 9 Ibragimov is younger, stronger, faster and knows a win would erase a lot of doubts

Total 63 62 If Holyfield is even 85 percent of his old self, he wins easily; I think he is not and say Ibragimov by boring decision.