By Johnny Walker
Following two straight weekends of exciting heavyweight fights, world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and French challenger Jean Marc Mormeck will try to make it a triple play when they meet this coming Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Just after the HBO network had announced that it was giving up on the heavyweights, Vitali Klitschko and Dereck Chisora (with an assist from David Haye), along with Alexander Povetkin and Marco “Captain” Huck, showed why contests featuring the big fellas can be exciting in a way that the lower weight divisions just can’t match.
Thankfully, new cable player EPIX picked up these fights and allowed interested American fans a chance to see some dramatic heavyweight action.
There is, however, widespread cynicism about the Wlad-Mormeck matchup (also on EPIX). The French challenger is short (under six feet tall), not exactly young at age 39, and has not had a distinguished run at heavyweight since moving up from the cruiserweight division in 2009.
There is a feeling out there in the boxing public that this is a throwaway title defense for the younger, stronger, larger Klitschko, though it could also be argued that Wladimir has earned an easy one after facing the best in the division for the last few years.
Resultantly, there is almost no pressure on Mormeck (36-4-0, 22 KOs) going into this fight. Everyone outside of Mormeck’s own immediate family expects him to lose, and perhaps even they are hedging their bets. If Mormeck somehow avoids ending his night lying on the canvas and staring up at the referee, he’ll have exceeded most people’s expectations.
For Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs), however, there is immense pressure this time not only to win, but to look very good while doing it. A chess match in the ring is not what is called for this time out, with even Klitschko trainer Emanuel Steward complaining about the lack of knockouts in heavyweight boxing as of late.
At today’s final press conference in Germany, Klitschko seemed to acknowledge the pressure that is on him to produce fireworks against Mormeck, and he at least tried to take some of the heat off and reduce the boxing public’s expectations of an easy win.
“I still have the hunger and I do not take this fight lightly,” Wladimir said.
“It is extremely difficult to box against a man who is a lot shorter. It does not make my job easier.
“His size makes it even more difficult for me to hit him. I will do anything to make sure to keep the belts that I have been unifying in the last years.”
All of that is fine and dandy, but none it changes the fact that anything less than a spectacular knockout win for Klitschko this Saturday night will see him answering numerous questions as to what went wrong. A unanimous decision is not going to be enough against Mormeck.
It’s time to for the cerebral Wladimir to put the chess set away, and go for broke.