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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Heavyweights Valuev and McCline Clash

BERLIN -- Nikolai Valuev won't duck through the ring ropes to defend his WBA heavyweight title. The 2.13-meter (7-foot) fighter will step over them.

But in the ring Saturday, the 150-kilogram (330-pound) Russian will finally be picking on someone closer to his own size. Valuev fights Jameel McCline of the United States who hits the two-meter mark (6-foot-6) and weighs 123 kilos (270 pounds).

Depending on Friday's weigh-in, these two boxers could tip in for a combined 273 kilos (600 pounds) which promoters say is a record for a title fight.

"This is a fight of superlatives, the biggest heavyweight championship of all time," Valuev's promoter Wilfried Sauerland said.

Some wonder how Valuev (45-0, 33 knockouts) will handle fighting an opponent he doesn't tower over, someone he can't just jab into submission from the outside with his long reach?

Valuev, however, is looking beyond McCline to Rocky Marciano's 49-0, a record for a heavyweight champion that remains unbeaten.

"I never thought of the record, but so many people have asked me about it, it is now my goal," Valuev said. "And I won't just fight easy boxers."

"I want to do it in the same way Marciano did it, and so I would never turn down the chance to fight someone like [IBF champion] Klitschko just because I might endanger this record."

Valuev beat Larry Donald on a controversial decision to set up his title win in December 2005 against John Ruiz, which was also a close call. Since then he's faced comfortable defenses against Owen Beck and Monte Barrett.

"McCline, just because of his size and experience, is going to be a tough fight," he said.

"Valuev says I am the biggest, tallest fighter he has ever fought," McCline said. "He is mechanical and slow. That is my chance. My strength is my speed and my explosiveness. I am very optimistic I will be the first to beat him."

There is, however, still a considerable difference in height between the two fighters, something that McCline has factored for by sparring with 2.18-meter-tall (7-foot-2) Julius Long in preparation for the fight.

"All you do is find bigger guys [to spar with] because the target zones change for a fight like this. Your jab's not going to go where it would for a guy who is 6-foot-2 or even 6-6."

At a public training session Tuesday, McCline drew laughter when he entered the hall punching at the sky in mock imitation of the task ahead. He is confident of his chances, however: "The difference between us is very obvious," the 36-year-old American told a joint news conference. "I am a superior fighter, a superior boxer and my speed is unlike anything he has ever seen."

McCline (38-6-3, 23 knockouts) could thrust himself back into the heavyweight picture with the title -- ending a downhill slide since Wladimir Klitschko stopped him in the 10th round of a 2002 WBO title fight. Two years later, Chris Byrd beat him for the IBF belt.

"He knows this is my last chance. I'm going to give Valuev everything I've got," McCline said. "He is a disciplined fighter so I will be disciplined too, and win."