It is the lead story on CNN/SI’s MMA and Boxing page – UFC Heavyweight Champion Junior Dos Santos claiming he would knock out Heavyweight Boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko in a boxing match. Now Klitschko has not commented, and likely won’t. He has a defense of his 4 current titles coming up November 10th against undefeated Polish fighter Mariusz Wach in Germany, a match he is favored to win 8 to 1. If that is Klitschko’s odds against a pure boxer who is 27-0, how big a favorite would he be against Dos Santos, who does not have boxing experience?
Klitschko is at this point 58-3, and he has not lost a boxing match since 2004. He has dominated with a methodical style that is tailored to protect his chin, which some say is suspect, and a relentless and powerful jab. He has 50 KO’s in his 58 wins, so he wears people down and takes them out.
Off the top of my head, I can recall two high level boxers crossing over to do MMA, and their overall record is 1-1. Ray Mercer KO’d Tim Sylvia, and James Toney got mauled by Randy Couture. All four men held World titles in their respective sports.
But a boxer, especially one like Mercer, who has KO power will come into an MMA match with a puncher’s chance. Can an MMA champion come in and have a chance in a boxing match, or is it a tall order?
I have to say Dos Santos would walk in their with a puncher’s chance as well. On the physical end, Dos Santos is two inches shorter than Klitschko, and at 240 lbs will have the stature to meet Klitschko. ’Cigano’ would be best served by presenting Klitschko with a lot of movement, and he is athletic enough to do so. If he gets caught up at the end of Klitschko’s jab, he will start to slow down. Klitschko might come out in a rush throwing big punches, but he is more likely to look to wear down Dos Santos.
Dos Santos will be looking to land one big punch. He certainly has the power in his hands to remove any man from his senses, so if he lands, Klitschko will go down. How long in a 12 round bout of 3 minute rounds will Dos Santos retain that power?
How frustrated will he get if he is caught eating jabs trying to get in? He is going to need to stick by his plan and not come unraveled. He may have the instinct to clinch, but in a boxing bout, he will not have all the options he is used to relying on, and will likely get tagged by Klitschko.
Heavyweight boxing has been so boring, that I would certainly pay to see this match, though it would classify as a bit of a ‘freakshow’ type fight. I do give credit that Dos Santos would come in focused and prepared, but he would be at least a 10 to 1 dog.