Thursday February 16th, 2012

MUNICH -- Vitali Klitschko is fighting on Saturday. Usually, it doesn't matter who he's facing.

Disagree? You must be a member of the Briggs family. Think I'm wrong? Just stop reading Chris Arreola, Tomasz Adamek and Albert Sosnowski. Insulted? I'm sorry, Kevin Johnson.

Facts are facts: Since Klitschko came out of retirement in 2008, you would be hard pressed to find a round, much less a fight, he has been in trouble in.

The latest challenger for Klitschko's WBC heavyweight title is Dereck Chisora (4:30 p.m. ET, Epix/, a foul-mouthed Brit who comes in brimming with confidence.

"The way I'm going to fight he won't be able to keep up with the pace I'm going to set," Chisora said. "It will be at a hundred miles an hour and his old legs won't be able to keep up. I'm not scared of him. He's human, he bleeds and so do I. I'm looking forward to this. It's the end for Vitali, I promise you."

Want more?

"The Klitschko team [doesn't] like me because I'm wild and unpredictable," Chisora said. "I'm not like any of the other challengers that bow down in front of them. It scares them because they have no control over me."

If you think you have heard this before, you have. Briggs talked. Arreola talked. Johnson talked before and during the fight. Opponents get a double dose of courage when they see the silver-haired, 40-year-old Klitschko at press conferences. Then they get in the ring and realize that old man has twice the stamina they do.

Is Chisora different? Not many think so. Oddsmakers have installed Klitschko as a 4-1 favorite. Adam Booth, the trainer for fellow Englishman David Haye, thinks the challenger will get creamed. The Mirror wrote that there is a better chance "of Patrice Evra inviting Luis Suarez round for tea than there is of Del Boy winning."

Yeah, I needed Google, too.

Here's the thing though: Chisora might have a shot.

Let's look at his record: Chisora won his first 14 fights, nine by knockout. Last July, he stepped in against Tyson Fury. Chisora was a mess. He weighed 261 pounds, about 20 pounds heavier than his normal fighting weight. He was still reeling from not one but two canceled fights with Wladimir Klitschko, the first due to a Klitschko injury the second because, well, Wlad wanted to fight Haye more.

His head wasn't in it, and it showed. In a physical fight, Chisora lost a unanimous decision.

He won an interim fight four months later before challenging Robert Helenius in December. Helenius was marketed as a can't-miss prospect destined for greatness. Chisora busted him up. The only three people who didn't think Chisora won were the judges.

That brings us to today. Chisora isn't Joe Frazier, but he's arguably the most talented opponent Vitali has faced since his return. He has a nice jab, a chopping right hand and a willingness to absorb one shot to fire two. He's not elusive but has good enough head movement to make Vitali think before he throws.

Maybe I'm being too optimistic. Maybe I'm thinking about the possibilities created by having a flawed 6-foot-1 titleholder instead of an unbeatable 6-foot-7 monster. The Klitschko reign has been impressive but there is no question Vitali and Wladimir's dominance has sucked the energy out of the division. They own it.

Chisora could change all that. He has to be better than he was against Helenius, which was one of his finest efforts. He has to be aggressive, take the fight inside and make Klitschko uncomfortable. He has to match Vitali's energy and maintain it from bell to bell. He has to stay even on the scorecards in the early rounds to avoid getting desperate in the later ones.

In short, he has to be perfect.

Can he do it? The odds -- and history -- are stacked against him. But maybe, just maybe, Chisora could be the one opponent to back up his tough talk.

"A lot of people have tried to stop him but they don't have the swagger and the passion to go in there and do the business that I have got," Chisora said. "Vitali has been around a long time. He is the king of the sport but it's about time that somebody came in who is young and fresh."

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