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Klitschko vs. Adamek: Size vs. Speed

Ukrainian heavyweight boxers Wladimir Klitschko (R) and his

Ukrainian heavyweight boxers Wladimir Klitschko (R) and his brother Vitali Klitschko give a press conference in Moscow. (July 8, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

It’s a question that never gets old. Does size really matter?

It made a difference a few weeks ago when Wladimir Klitschko used his superior height, size and reach to dominate David Haye. Haye had no answers for Klitschko’s jab and refused to take any chances inside.

Could we see the same thing when Wladimir’s older brother Vitali Klitschko (44-2) takes on Tomasz Adamek (44-1) on September 10 at the brand new Wroclaw Stadium in Poland? The 6-8 Ukrainian has a clear size and reach advantage over the 6-2, 220-pound Adamek.

"Speed," Adamek replied when asked what it take to beat Klitschko. "Speed, good conditioning and working very hard."

Boxing is a precise sport, though, which means speed can be negated by a skilled big man. Just ask Lennox Lewis when he destroyed Mike Tyson. Granted Tyson was past his prime, his speed and quickness wasn’t a match for Lewis’ skill.

Although Klitschko said in some situations “size is an important point” and that boxing “is not just speed” he’s intent on not overlooking Adamek. “He’s a heavyweight,” Klitschko said. “If you lose respect of your opponent, you lose the fight.”

Facing bigger opponents is nothing new to Adamek, who fought 6-7 Michael Grant and 6-6 Kevin McBride. Neither Grant nor McBride ison the level of Klitschko, but the experience he gained facing a tall fighter was invaluable.

“If Vitali doesn’t hold me, we’ll make a good fight…I love clean fights,” Adamek said.

Whether or not Klitschko resorts to holding and leaning, the size differential will be a challenge for Adamek, a former cruiserweight and light heavyweight champion. Seeing a smaller fighter make the jump to heavyweight is nothing new, though. Adamek and Haye are just the latest big-name fighters to do it.

New York Sports