It looks likes the next opponent for Wladimir Klitschko has been decided.
Wait for it.
It’s Francesco Pianeta.
Don’t all clap at once.
In some ways Wladimir’s in a difficult place. His current run of wins goes back to 2004 and he’s defended his versions of the world title 13 times, including beating Chagaev to gain the RING title and won the superfight with David Haye. Then factor in that the media and fans often treat him and his brothers as a single entity and so there’s little interest in seeing a boxer who’s already been beaten by Vitali and frankly he’s basically cleared out the division. With Povetkin seemingly avoiding facing him and certain prospects/contenders who seemed to be on the fast-track to a title shot (Robert Helenius comes to mind) stalling there’s somewhat of a lack of opponents.
But surely he can do better than Pianeta?
The positive is that Pianeta has a pretty record, 28-0-1.
The downside is everything else.
He’s built that record on about as soft competition as one can face and even pretend to be a contender. His last win was over Nelson Dario Dominguez, a 14-1-1 completely untested prospect who’d lost his only meaningful bout. Prior to that Pianeta picked up decision wins over Frans Botha and Oliver McCall. Now those were a pair of good wins… in the 90’s. Not in 2012.
The rest of his record is likewise littered with dross, journeymen and past their best contenders. 2009 gave him some half-decent wins over Albert Sosnowski and Matt Skelton when he still had something left but beyond that it’s frankly pretty horrible.
It’s not as if he’s some incredibly talented boxer who is simply unable to get meaningful bouts. You can watch his bout with Botha here. I’m trying to think of a positive to say and in all honesty I’m struggling. I don’t see anything that’s above mediocre (at best). His workrate wasn’t anything special, he showed no real power, he wasn’t accurate, his defence was open, his footwork was average, his head movement was poor… I could go on.
Wlad will be the favourite against any heavyweight he faces (with the possible exception of a completely unrealistic bout with his brother) and Price’s recent loss shows the danger of reading too much into a prospect surely a better bout could be made then this? Does anyone, anywhere (including Pianeta’s family) think he’s a top 10 heavyweight, let alone have a legitimate chance?