Wladimir Klitschko will defend his titles against Francesco Pianeta on May 4, pending approval from the WBA.
Wladimir Klitschko is set to return to the ring in Germany on May 4 against Francesco Pianeta, so long as the WBA approves of the optional title defense. Alexander Povetkin's team is reportedly still trying to force a mandatory title fight, but that seems very unlikely to happen next.
Klitschko (59-3, 50 KO) had a remarkably forgettable 2012. Though he went 3-0, he faced no challenge from undersized and old Jean-Marc Mormeck, old Tony Thompson, and tough but grossly overmatched Mariusz Wach. Wach's iron chin was the only resistance Klitschko faced, and the fight wasn't competitive for even a minute.
Pianeta (28-0-1, 15 KO) doesn't figure to deliver difficulty for the champ, either. The 28-year-old Italian southpaw has built up a fluffy record against mostly creampuffs.
In reality, the Klitschkos have really hit a new low for competition, because they've wiped out everyone who seemed even a minor threat to them. At this point, there's the part of the heavyweight division that contains Wladimir, Vitali, and whichever poor soul is lined up to lose next, and then there's chaos, with the remainder of the top ten, for the most part, having already fallen at their hands.
So what's left? Fringe (at best) contenders like Pianeta and Wach and Mormeck and Manuel Charr. There is no competitive fight out there for either Klitschko right now, and the only even semi-intriguing possibility is Vitali facing David Haye, which some believe could be interesting, and many believe would look a lot like Haye's flop against Wladimir.
If only Wladimir or Vitali had been so kind as to take a dive, the division would seem a lot more interesting right now. They've been playing their own game for years, and now it's sort of like the Jordan-era Bulls running out of NBA teams to face, so they start playing middling college squads and the like.