Wladimir Klitschko eyes 50th career knockout

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DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) — Wladimir Klitschko will be aiming for his 50th career knockout when he defends his world heavyweight titles against French challenger Jean-Marc Mormeck on Saturday night.

Klitschko is 6½ inches taller, has a 7-inch reach advantage and is four years younger than the 39-year-old Frenchman.

"I've been criticized for having him as an opponent," Klitschko said.

The Ukrainian, who holds the WBA, IBF and WBO titles, has a 56-3 record and has won his last 14 fights. He is a big favorite against the Guadeloupe-born Mormeck, who is 36-4, with 22 KOs.

"It's so difficult to fight a smaller guy because usually they are faster physically," Klitschko said. "This is why I'm expecting a tough challenge, at least in the beginning of the fight."

Klitschko, who has 49 knockouts, will be fighting in his 20th title bout and trying to maintain the brothers' dominance of the heavyweight division.

Older brother Vitali won a unanimous decision against British challenger Dereck Chisora in Munich two weeks ago to retain his WBC belt. Chisora slapped Vitali at the weigh-in, spit water in Wladimir's face before the bout and brawled with former British fighter David Haye at the post-fight news conference.

This fight, taking place in the soccer stadium of Fortuna Duesseldorf, promises to be a more civilized affair. Mormeck has rejected Klitschko's flattering comparisons of him to Mike Tyson.

"I'm not Mike Tyson, though sometimes it's a good PR stunt. I have neither the explosiveness nor the punch," said Mormeck, a former WBC and WBA unified cruiserweight champion.

Klitschko hasn't fought since beating Haye by unanimous decision for the Briton's WBA belt in Hamburg last July.

"I will do everything in my power to knock a person out, but I won't guarantee it," said Klitschko, a 1996 Olympic gold medalist. "I promised a knockout against David Haye and I didn't deliver. I'm going to do my job."

Mormeck's last defeat came to Haye while he was still a cruiserweight in November 2007. He had the Londoner on the canvas in round four, but Haye recovered to win by technical knockout in the seventh round.

Mormeck is aiming to become the first world heavyweight champion from France.

"I can imagine what the odds will look like for me against Wladimir Klitschko," Mormeck said. "But I know my skills. I had Haye on the canvas and shortly before a knock out which Klitschko could not do. What I missed out against Haye I will now do with him."

After losing to Haye, Mormeck moved up to the heavyweight division in 2009 and has won all three fights since.

"Wladimir has a glass chin which I will break," he said. "He cannot stand punches. Against his brother Vitali I would have thought longer about fighting him, but against Wladimir I believe I have very good chances."

Klitschko said he's not overlooking the challenger.

"Mormeck is one of the most experienced fighters I have ever faced," he said. 'He has had many world title fights, has a very good technique, can take a lot of punches and is very intelligent inside the ring. To underestimate him would be a fatal mistake."

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