Head to head: W. Klitschko-Chambers
Wladimir Klitschko fights Eddie Chambers on Saturday in D├╝sseldorf, Germany. Photo / Marianne M├╝ller
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO vs. EDDIE CHAMBERS
When: Saturday, March 20
Where: Espirit Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany
TV: www.klitschko.com ($14,95) 4 pm. ET / 1 p.m. PT
Weight: Heavyweight (no limit)
Title(s) at stake: Klitschko’s RING and two other major titles
Also on the card: Johnathon Banks vs. Travis Walker, 12 rounds, heavyweights; Alexander Ustinov vs. Ed Mahone, eight rounds, heavyweights.
Height / reach: 6-6¾ (199cm) / 81 (206cm)
Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine
Nickname: Dr. Steelhammer
Turned pro: 1996
Record: 53-3 (47 knockouts)
Trainer: Emmanuel Steward
The Ring rating: Heavyweight champion
Titles: Heavyweight (2000-03), heavyweight (2006-current), heavyweight (2008-current), RING (2009-current).
Biggest victories: Chris Byrd, Oct. 14, 2000, UD 12 (won first title); Byrd, April 22, 2006, TKO 7 (won second title); Sultan Ibragimov, Feb. 23, 2008, UD 12 (regained original title); Ruslan Chagev, June 20, 2009, TKO 9 (won RING title).
Losses: Ross Puritty, Dec. 5, 1998, TKO 11; Corrie Sanders, March 8, 2003, TKO 2; Lamon Brewster, April 8, 2004, TKO 5.
Height / reach: 6-1 (185cm) / 75 (191cm)
Hometown: Philadelphia (originally from Pittsburgh)
Nickname: Fast Eddie
Turned pro: 2000
Record: 35-1 (18 knockouts)
Trainer: Rob Murray Sr.
The Ring rating: No. 3 heavyweight
Biggest victories: Ross Puritty, May 17, 2005, UD 10; Calvin Brock, Nov. 2, 2007, SD 12 (title eliminator); Samuel Peter, March 27, 2009, MD 12; Alexander Dimitrenko, July 4, 2009, UD 12 (title eliminator).
Loss: Alexander Povetkin, Jan. 26, 2008, UD 12 (title eliminator).
HEAD TO HEAD
Skills: Both fighters are technically sharp boxers who rely on a hard consistent jab to set up power punches and combinations. Both rely primarily on the one-two combination. Klitschko likes to gradually stalk his opponents behind his jab and right hand, occasionally sneaking a hook off his left stick, until he can back them to the ropes where he generally goes for the kill with power punches. Chambers utilizes more footwork and defense because of his smaller size.
Power: No contest. Klitschko isn’t just bigger, taller, and heavier — he’s got more power to go with his size as the 47 KOs in his 53 victories suggest. In recent years Klitschko’s damaging punches have stopped normally durable vets like former beltholder Chris Byrd and fringe contender Ray Austin, worn down fighters who had never previously been stopped, including Tony Thompson and Calvin Brock. Chambers has more pop in his punches than the 18 KOs in 35 victories would suggest. He took out former prospects Derrick Rossy and Rafael Butler when he put his punches together and his body attack punished heavily favored Alexander Dimitrenko in his last fight. However, the Pittsburgh native’s power is not in Klitshcko’s league.
Speed and athletic ability: This is tough call. Klitschko is superb athlete, gifted with speed and agility. He’s especially quick and mobile for a 6-foot-6, 240-pound boxer. However, his hands are not as fast as Chambers’, nor are his feet. Chambers possesses superior reflexes and slightly better hand-eye coordination. If there’s a heavyweight contender with the ability to make Klitschko looks ponderous, it’s Chambers.
Defense: Klitschko does an excellent job of using his height and reach to stay clear of incoming punches from the outside and he’s become very adept at tying his opponents up on the inside, but he’s not as good at blocking shots with his gloves or side stepping his foes’ attacks as Chambers is. The smaller man has had no choice but to raise his defensive game as his opposition has increased. Klitschko is a smart boxer who’s evolved into a seasoned champion but he’s still primarily an offensive fighter. Chambers beats his opponents with his defense as much as he does with his offense.
Experience: Klitschko is not only the more mature boxer with more fights, he’s been in with the far better opposition. The champ has faced nine current or former titleholders. Chambers has faced one (Peter).
Chin: As good as Chambers’ defense is, the speed merchant still get caught with clean punches on occasion but so far he’s proven to be able to take a good shot. Klitschko, on the other hand, hasn’t fared so well when he’s been nailed clean across his jaw. The champ has been stopped three times. He was dropped three times in his close decision victory over Peter and he also suffered a knockdown in his five-round technical win over DaVarryl Williamson.
Conditioning: Both fighters are well conditioned athletes who stay in shape between bouts and are used to fighting the distance.
Wear and tear: Despite more than 13 years in the pro ranks and three TKO losses, Klitschko has never suffered a sustained beating in the ring; neither has the comparably fresh Chambers.
Corner: Chambers was trained by his father, Eddie Sr., for the first 31 bouts of his pro career (until his loss to Povetkin), then manager Rob Murray Sr., a veteran Philadelphia boxing figure, took over reigns as head coach. Murray has done well with Chambers as evidenced by the fighter's five consecutive wins and career-best victories over Peter and Dimitrenko. However, the job Murray has done with Chambers pales in comparison to the radical reconstruction hall-of-fame trainer Emanuel Steward has done with Klitschko since the champ’s humiliating loss to Brewster in 2004. Steward has forged Klitschko, who is 11-0 since the Brewster loss, into the closest thing to a prime Lennox Lewis.
Outcome: Chambers will box surprisingly well in the early rounds of the bout, beating the bigger man to the jab, slipping punches and stepping inside the athletic giant’s reach to land quick one-two combinations. However, as the challenger tries to add pressure fighting and body punching to his offense he'll find that Klitschko is very effective with holding tactics. While tying up the smaller man, the champ will use his size and mass to tire Chambers out in the middle rounds and gradually begin to manhandle him by pushing him out into the range of his power-jab and short hook. Klitschko will repeatedly buzz Chambers going into the late rounds and finish the fight by landing a series of unanswered right hands with the game challenger’s back to the ropes.
Prediction: Klitschko by late stoppage.