While most of the fight world is expected to be tuned in to the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Robert Guerrero bout on Saturday night at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, another great fighter will step in to the ring on the same day, but a several hours earlier.
The world’s top heavyweight, Wladimir Klitschko will be making his 14th title defense against Italy’s Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KOs), in the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany exclusively on EPIX at 4:30 p.m.
It will be a landmark event for Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs), the “Super” WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight champ who hopes to earn the 60th victory of his career.
“I know that Francesco Pianeta will have a fight plan but there is the quote by Mike Tyson that says: ‘Everyone has a plan until he gets hit’”, said Klitschko. “Pianeta will be super motivated and wants to use his big chance but I am very experienced and will show him his limits.”
Klitschko has dominated most of his opponents during his seven-year stretch as champion, but said he won’t let the success get the best of him.
"I don't want to and I won't underestimate Francesco Pianeta," Klitschko said during a pre-fight press conference. "I have prepared how I've should, because I know what to expect."
Aside from getting his 60th win, Klitschko also has his eye on unifying the belts. With two (WBO, IBF) of the four major belts and the “Super” WBA belt in his possession, a victory will get Klitschko a match against Alexander Povetkin, who holds the “regular” WBA belt.
The two are scheduled to meet on August 31 at Olympic Hall in Moscow assuming Klitschko is victorious and Povetkin defeates Andrzej Wawrzyk on May 17.
Part of Pianeta’s motivation will be the fact that his son’s birthday falls a few days after the fight.
Said Pianeta: “I had a very good preparation and am highly motivated. It is my son’s birthday four days after the fight and I would like to give him the belts on this day.”
In addition to his son’s birthday, Pianeta is a cancer survivor and a southpaw. Pianeta overcame testicular cancer three years ago. His southpaw could give Klitschko some problems.