Two top contenders however collide this coming Saturday evening in the German city of Schwerin.
They are unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (17-0, 9), a former amateur stand out who has made a beeline for a title fight right from his professional debut, and American Tony Thompson (38-3, 26), a former two-time title challenger who recently defeated Englishman David Price for a second time.
Whether you're a fan of either man or not one thing is for sure, this is a genuine title eliminator and the winner should rightfully get a fight with a world champion their next contest.
Other than the two losses Wladimir, Thompson's only lost once in 39 bouts and that was more than a decade ago to the then unbeaten Erik Kirkland, in what was Thompson's 5th professional contest.
In terms of Thompson the fighter he is a tall, clever, tough southpaw. His only stoppage losses have come to Klitschko and he's overcome several notable fighters. Not only does he have wins over Price but he's also beaten Dominick Guinn, Timur Ibragimov, Luan Krasniqi and Chazz Witherspoon. A solid selection of fringe contenders.
Whilst Thompson has been overlooked through out his career he's made a reputation of proving people wrong and is a genuine top 10 Heavyweight even if his performances against Klitschko were more like "Tony the Teddy Bear" than "Tony the Tiger". He'll be looking to record his third successive upset here against Pulev.
Pulev, 32 year old from Sofia in Bulgaria is a very well schooled and technically sound fighter having been an outstanding amateur. Although his full amateur record is unknown he won numerous medals on the international stage in a long and very fruitful career.
The amateur experience may not count for a lot in the professional ranks but they do count for something and with the experience Pulev had under his belt his team thought it pointless to waste years against low level opponents. Within just a few fights he was fighting a former world title challenger in the form of Matt Skelton and it was obvious his management were going to try and fast track him up the rankings.
So aggressive has been Pulev's match making that he was seen as a top contender with in 12 bouts. Unfortunately despite his lofty position at that point he was still considered inexperienced in the professional ranks and left to rack up experience against more fighters. In his most recent bouts he has been targeting tall fighters scoring victories, by KO over Alexander Ustinov and Alexander Dimitrenko as he's continued to develop and improve.
In terms of Pulev's fighting style nothing really "stands out". He's not fast, he's not explosive, he's massive but there is also no major flaw in his game. He's a very technically sound boxer who uses his jab and movement very well. He may not be a big hitter but he gradually breaks fighters down by just being consistent.
This fight matches two guys who are both consistent and it's got the premise of being a very interesting match up. Neither is going to take the other man out inside a round but both will be looking to make a statement. It's fair to say that if either fighter attempts to get this over with early then they could come undone very easily, but neither is stupid.
For us the extra youth and energy of Pulev is likely to be too much. He's not like David Price, he has proven his stamina and has gone 12 rounds and he may need to here, though if he does it's hard to imagine anything but a clear decision for the Bulgarian. If it doesn't go 12 we feel it'll be Thompson being stopped late.
Pulev is rightfully the favourite (1/4) and although we all know David Price was the favourite against Thompson as well the price seem more indicative of reality. Pulev is a proven 12 round fighter, something Price wasn't, Pulev isn't basing his entire fight plan around the power in his right hand and perhaps more tellingly Thompson himself is coming into this bout just weeks after the second Price fight. Pulev on points (10/11) looks to be the value bet however as Thompson is a tough old man.
Thompson is tough, he's game and so far in his career only Wladimir Klitchko has stopped him. Pulev, although a more aggressively minded fighter than "Dr Steelhammer", doesn't have that 1-punch KO power and although he could grind down Thompson we don't see that as being that likely though. Thompson knows how to take care of himself and will likely see out the final bell, despite some torrid moments late on.
Pulev by UD12