Vitali Klitschko v Albert Sosnowski - WBC Heavyweight title betting preview
Vitali Klitschko vs. Albert Sosnowski. WBC heavyweight title.
Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Saturday, May 29.
Klitschko 1/33, Sosnowski 8/1.
One trouble with the heavyweight division is that by its nature you tend to have a limited supply of fighters who can compete against each other. In the lighter divisions, fighters move around the weights and compete against a potentially huge pool of boxers, often putting small amounts of weight on incrementally and facing slightly bigger opponents, as has happened in the careers of Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Junior and Manny Pacquiao to name three famous examples. There is usually the option to create competitive fights even if an individual division is looking a little thin on talent thanks to catchweight fights or two boxers moving up at the same time. However, at heavyweight, there is no upper limit, and with only a small number making the switch from cruiserweight, resources are limited. When a dominant force arrives on the scene and starts destroying the main contenders, the number of names he can face isn't bolstered by his ability to change division, and this leads, now and then, to one-sided mismatches.
This fight is one such contest. Albert Sosnowski was scheduled to face Audley Harrison in a defence of his European title, but ended up being offered a crack at the biggest prize in the sport when the Vitali Klitschko call came through, so that fight, and the belt, were dropped. Sosnowski was only a narrow favourite to beat Harrison, which in truth, should tell you all you need to know. Unless Klitschko injures himself, he will win and win with ease. Sosnowski is totally out of his depth and will do very well just to get away with a massive points defeat. He is arguably only in the fight because Klitschko has ran out of opponents that were available for the date that he and his brother have yet to beat.
In terms of advantages, Klitschko is both much bigger, and hits a lot harder. He's vastly experienced at the top level having dispatched Chris Arreola, Juan Carlos Gomez and Sam Peter recently, all of whom would be favoured to defeat Sosnowski themselves. His chin stood up a few bombs from Lennox Lewis and has never been questioned, and he has a longer reach. The huge venue won't bother him as he's fought in the likes of the PostFinance Arena in Switzerland of late, as well as the Staples Centre in LA, the Las Vegas Mandalay Bay and Madison Square Garden in New York, whilst Sosnowski is a man who's spent his career in leisure centres, ice rinks and civic halls. His injury problems seem to have vanished as he's kept himself busy since his layoff from the sport; this will be his fifth fight in nineteen months, all of which were very decisive victories. Indeed, over the course the 39 rounds Klitschko has been in since he came back to the sport following an injury-enforced absence, it's not unreasonable to say that he might have won every single one of them.
Although the fight is being labelled as ‘Fists of Steel,' this only applies to Klitschko. Sosnowski holds a credit worthy 45-2-1 record, but only 27 of those wins were early. That's a modest percentage for a heavyweight and against a man like Klitschko it's almost impossible to imagine a stoppage win. This means that Sosnowski will have to contend with a man who throws a huge number of shots over the course of a heavyweight fight. Klitschko may have won almost all of his fights by stoppage, but even if he was a far lighter puncher it's difficult to make the case for him being outpointed, such is the tremendous amount of work he puts into his fights. In ten rounds against Chris Arreola he threw 802 punches. In his last fight against Kevin Johnson, the pitiful American challenger who came to survive as opposed to win, Klitschko pasted him with a grand total of 1013 shots over the course of twelve utterly one-sided rounds.
The fact that Klitschko failed to stop Johnson was seen as something of a shock, as prior to that only Timo Hoffmann had heard the final bell having stepped into a ring with Vitali. I expect things to be brought back to normal against Sosnowski, who simply has not been in with anyone even remotely as good as Klitschko and is probably walking into the biggest heavyweight title mismatch since his opponent on Saturday night fought Ed Mahone back in 1999. I don't think that it will be over as soon as that fight, which Klitschko won in the third, but I can't believe it won't be just as comprehensive. Klitschko should win sometime around the eighth, with hopefully some bigger tests to come.