By Chris Cella
This Saturday from Germany, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KO) will put his multiple world titles on the line for the 15th consecutive time as he squares off against southpaw challenger Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KO).
Since 2005 when he defeated Samuel Peter to capture the NABF heavyweight title and the vacant WBO NABO title, Klitschko has owned the heavyweight division, dismissing of one challenger after another in pursuit of securing his legacy as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time.
Most recently Klitschko outworked the then undefeated prospect Mariusz Wach through 12-rounds, imposing his will by landing his jab and keeping the Polish fighter off balance and unable to execute his fight plan. At 37-years-old Klitschko has continued to be a technician inside the ropes and is ready to go back to work against Pianeta.
“Francesco has already won the toughest fight of his life: he beat cancer,” said Klitschko. “I will definitely not underestimate him. I will do everything to defend the titles that I have collected in the years. Although I just turned 37, I feel better than at the age of 27. I know that Francesco will have a fight plan but there is the famous quote by Mike Tyson that says: ‘Everyone has a plan until he gets hit’. Pianeta will be super motivated and wants to use his big chance but I am very experienced and will show him his limits.”
Pianeta has quietly risen through the heavyweight ranks, fighting and defeating journeymen, with the biggest name on his resume being former four-time title challenger and aging Frans Botha. The battle against Klitschko will be by far the toughest test of the Italian fighter’s career, but he feels he is ready for the challenge that will be presented before him this Saturday.
“I had a very good preparation and am highly motivated,” said Pianeta. “It will be my son’s birthday four days after the fight and I would like to give him the belts on this day.”
Pianeta has the right attitude going into the heavyweight title fight, the opportunity he dreamed about when he first laced up the gloves. But each of Klitschko’s opponents have exuded confidence in their fight plan leading up to the fight, only to be picked apart once the fight begins.
Wladimir Klitschko has redefined the heavyweight division. More so than simply dominating one opponent after another, he took what used to be a division full of power punchers and one-punch knockouts and has that heavyweights can be graceful and technical boxers.
The fight will be aired live on EPIX.com this Saturday, May 4 at 4:30 p.m.