NEW YORK — IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko faces WBO title-holder Sultan Ibragimov on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in the first heavyweight title unification bout of the 21st century. Here is what each man must do to win:
KEYS TO VICTORY
1. Control the distance: Klitschko needs to fight tall and keep Ibragimov at the end of his jab.
1. Move the head Ibragimov needs to minimize the times Klitschko puts his hands on him.
2. Fight in the center: Klitschko shouldn't let his back touch the ropes.
2. Get off first: Klitschko can be methodical, so Ibragimov can score points by getting off first.
3. Double jab: Ibragimov won't be able to avoid being hit if Klitschko throws more than one jab at a time.
3. Turn him: If Ibragimov is able to keep Klitschko turning, he'll be able to limit the big man's attack.
4. Don’t back up: Klitschko needs to make Ibragimov fight going backward.
4. In and out: Ibragimov needs to find a way to get inside, get off his punches and then spin out of danger.
RATING THE FIGHTERS
Comparison of Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
Klitschko has knockout power with either hand.
Klitschko's jab is a dangerous weapon.
Ibragimov needs to cut the distance to be able to get to Klitschko's midsection.
Ibragimov has faster hands than anyone Klitschko has faced other than Chris Byrd.
Defense will be a priority for Ibragimov.
Klitschko has been vulnerable to shots on the chin.
Klitschko has faded in the past, but looks in superb shape.
Klitschko has picked up a lot of tricks in 11 years as a pro.
Jeff Mayweather has greatly refined Ibragimov's game.
This may be Klitschko's best chance to establish himself as the man in the division. .
Ibragimov is better than many believe, but Klitschko's jab and power will be too much for him to overcome. Expect Klitschko to win by a late stoppage.