Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev was touted as a real threat to Wladimir Klitschko, the greatest heavyweight of this generation. Ranked #2 in the world, Pulev had firmly established himself as a top heavyweight, defeating former Klitschko challenger Tony Thompson among others. Plus, at over 6’4,” he approached Klitschko’s towering height.
Fat lot of good that did him. Klitschko (63-3, 53 KO) walked through Pulev (20-1, 11 KO), knocking him down a total of four times before referee Tony Weeks called a stop to the slaughter.
The first real punch Wladimir threw, a tight left hook, sent “The Cobra” to the floor. Despite some posturing during the count, the Bulgarian went down again almost immediately, so fast the camera did not have time to zoom out from its post-knockdown closeup.
Wladimir, clinching gratuitously as always, kept his output low but efficient, dropping him again in the third round with the same left hook after wobbling him with a right hand. Pulev, meanwhile, was limited almost exclusively to rabbit punches whenever the champion clinched.
Things finally came to a halt in the fifth. Pulev landed a pair of quality punches on his way into the champion’s latest clinch. As if in response to his temerity, Klitschko destroyed him with another left hook on the reset, leaving him sprawled out on the canvas with a rapidly-swelling right eye.
Only one belt remains outside of Klitschko’s grasp: the WBC title once held by brother Vitali and presently held by Bermane Stiverne. Stiverne has been slated to face unbeaten knockout machine Deontay Wilder for quite a while, with promoters Don King and Al Haymon proving difficult to reconcile. In a perfect world, the two will fight and the winner will face Wladimir for the chance to become the unified heavyweight champion.
But we don’t live in a perfect world, as evidenced by the continued significance of Don King, so let’s just hope for the best.