Valuev, the tallest and heaviest champion of all-time, makes the first defense of his heavyweight belt since reclaiming the vacant WBA title on Aug. 30 with a unanimous decision victory over
Holyfield (42-9-2) weighed in Friday at a svelte 214 pounds, while the 7-foot Valuev (49-1-0) tipped the scales at 311 -- the lightest weight of his 15-year pro career.
Various boxing officials and the international fight press have lampooned this fight throughout the week. ESPN.com's
While today's title bout hardly represents a high-water mark for the sport, I'm not certain it's the completely lopsided mismatch everybody's clamored about. Valuev is known more for his freakish stature than his athleticism, and I'm not sold on his closing ability against a fighter with Holyfield's otherworldly determination and single-mindedness of purpose.
That said, I don't think Holyfield -- a 6-to-1 underdog -- can turn back the clock and find a way to win today. I simply don't see the four-time heavyweight champion solving Valuev's imposing height and reach advantages. Expect Valuev to control the pace, distance and range, outpointing his American opponent handily. But every champion believes he's got one more great fight left in the tank, and if Holyfield can summon one last brave effort, I wouldn't be floored to see the old man take this fight the 12-round distance. I'll say Valuev wins by a unanimous decision.