Sven Ottke v Dariusz Michalczewski
24th May 2008, Tui Arena, Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany
For Michalczewski this will be only his second fight in 4 and a half years with the other being a 6th round TKO loss to Frances Fabrice Tiozzo in an unsuccesful WBA title tilt 3 years ago after which he immediatly announced his retierment. This was of course a comeback fight in itself for Michalczewski who was relieved of his WBO strap and unbeaten record by recent Clinton Woods victim Julio Cesar Gonzalez 14 months previously.
It is likely that more tears will shed at news of Ottkes return than at the announcement of his retierment following a wide unanimous decision win over Armand Krajnc in March of 2004. Ottke, whose career was blighted by claims ranging from bias judging and officiating to downright corruption, is rumoured to be returning due to a costly divorce. It is easy to forget amid the criticism aimed at him that he defended a version of the supermiddleweight title on no less than 22 occasions and retired undefeated. Many have questioned his record but it does contain many well known fighters of the era such as Thomas Tate, Glencoffe Johnson, Charles Brewer and Byron Mitchell however for every one of these names there is a Joe Gatti or Lloyd Bryan.
Even in the prime years of both fighters this would have been a tentative affair however with both boxers being the wrong side of 40 once the bell rings I beleive this fight will be one for the purists only. I can see a strict pattern of Michalczewski pressing the action with Ottke content to counter of the back foot and keep a tight defence. I feel that when the dust settles Michalczewski will win a close decision victory although with Ottke still likely to be a firm fan favorite, despite Michalczewski being a german citezen (Polish by birth), that outcome could well be reversed. If the fight is to be finished early I can only see it going Michalczewskis way (cuts or exhaustion aside) as the old saying goes the last thing a fighter loses is his punch and if I am truthful Ottke did'nt have one to lose.