Dr. Ironfist, Del Boy, and the Secret Dream

By Robert Ecksel on February 17, 2012
Dr. Ironfist, Del Boy, and the Secret Dream
“I have a dream," said Klitschko, "because without dreams life is boring.” (Robert Ecksel)

Redemption is a slippery concept in the best of times, and in Haye’s capable hands nothing less than a wriggling carp…

In anticipation of his big fight with Dereck Chisora Saturday at the Olympiahalle in Munich, Germany, Vitali Klitschko recently met with the press and, to the surprise of no one, more than held his own. Vitali spoke about his upcoming fight, the secret dream, and hinted at his future in Ukrainian politics.

Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs) mostly spoke about his fight with Chisora (15-3, 9 KOs), who looks, at least on paper, as though he’s about to wade in very deep and treacherous waters.

“Don’t underestimate Chisora,” said Klitschko. “He’s young, very aggressive. He’s very hungry and he wants to be world champion. I was very impressed when I saw his last fight against Robert Helenius. Before their fight everybody would talk about Helenius like he was the next world champion. And yes, of course, I saw the last fight. Chisora may have lost the decision, but many experts who saw the fight saw Chisora dominate the fight. He beat Helenius. But in split decision, Helenius won.”

The Helenius-Chisora decision was a bona fide stinker, home cooking at its aromatic worst. But Helenius was fighting with a bum shoulder that required surgery after the bout, so Chisora’s non-victory/victory has to be considered in light of Helenius’ injury going in.

“After this fight, I [telephoned] my manager and told him, ‘I want to fight this guy. This will be very good challenge for me. This will be really interesting fight for not just for the audience but for me, because I need a challenge.’ I want to fight the strongest challenger and Chisora is one of them.”

Klitschko is one of the most intelligent fighters in the game today. Forget the PhD and the many languages he speaks. He studies his opponents the way a scholar studies books, and adapts his style accordingly.

“I use different sparring partners,” he said, “and because Chisora has a totally different style than Sosnowski,” who was 44-2-1 before Vitali KO’ed him in May 2010, “and Sosnowski was pretty fast and has a different technique. That is why I changed my preparation. But believe me—I will be in good form. I understand how important this fight is and I understand it’s very dangerous. He’s very good fighter and I don’t want to make a mistake. He has a good chin, and he has good boxing quality.”

Rumors of Klitschko’s imminent retirement tend to spread across the web like a brushfire during a drought. Although he’s 40 and old enough to be slowing down, as long as he keeps crushing his competition, he might as well keep fighting so we can continue enjoying the show.

“My career is not over. Right now, I try to do my best in my career. This is not easy; sometimes up, sometimes down.  What all heavyweights need are good opponents, good contenders, a good fight. That is why I try to find fighters who have really good skills, who are very tough. The young guys don’t build big names, but they have good skills to become a champion. It’s what my career is about.”’

Although he’s been somewhat less successful in the political ring than he has been in the boxing ring, at least thus far, that doesn’t mean that he won’t one day be President of Ukraine, even though he is playing his cards close to the vest.

“I have a dream,” said Vitali, “because without dreams life is boring. I have my sport dream, but I don’t want to talk about this other dream. I am superstitious. That is why I don’t want to tell you about this dream. This dream keeps me active in boxing and motivates me to keep going into the ring.”

Among Klitschko’s dreams, albeit one that failed to materialize, was a rematch with Lennox Lewis.

“Lennox Lewis was a big star. Right now, all the big stars have retired and Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson are not there. Lennox Lewis is not there. No big names and that’s why everyone from the new generation who challenges the Klitschkos get stopped. Any moment there can be a new guy and he can be tough, and he can give us a tough challenge. And one of them is Dereck Chisora.”

There are people who neither have mothers nor have kept a promise that are hankering for the two Klitschkos to fight. But don’t hold your breath.

“It’s always a competition,” Klitschko said. “Any sportsman, any fighter, has a personal ego, sports ego.  And that is why we have competition between us as two brothers. Who is better? Right now we work together. We try to play in training camp, who is better at table tennis? I remember always when we were running, who will finish first? And right now we compete in the swimming pool.

“I don’t want to fight him (Wladimir). It would be a great fight; one brother’s fight against another brother’s. But we promised our mom to never do that and I love my brother so much and that why it’s never happened. So I’m sorry for all boxing fans. It’s my personal story and that why I can’t do that.”

Inevitably David Haye, the former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion known as the Hayemaker, came up during the presser. The one person who seems truly eager to see Haye fight Vitali is Haye himself. Redemption is a slippery concept in the best of times, and in Haye’s capable hands nothing less than a wriggling carp.

“David Haye didn’t want to fight,” said Vitali. “He just kept running away from my brother. He didn’t come in to fight. David Haye is so unpredictable and we tried to make a deal and I hope the fight comes through, but right now we are miles apart from making the contract. Right now I don’t want to talk about it. David Haye always tries to find excuses why fights do not happen.”

What a difference a day makes

At Friday’s weigh-in between Klitschko and Chisora, Del Boy showed his real stripes. During the traditional staredown, Chisora, for reasons known only to him, tried to headbutt Vitali before slapping him hard across the face. The always composed Klitschko didn’t fire back. Why fight for free on Friday when he can fight for millions on Saturday? But he did tell the slaphappy Del Boy, in no uncertain terms, “You are f-cked now Chisora. You are now really f-cked!”

Vitali Klitschko vs. Dereck Chisora will be broadcast live Saturday afternoon on EPIX and online at EpixHD.com at 4:30 pm ET / 1:30 pm PT.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Vitali Klitschko vs Lennox Lewis Part 1

Vitali Klitschko vs Lennox Lewis Part 2

Vitali Klitschko vs Lennox Lewis Part 3

Vitali Klitschko vs Lennox Lewis Part 4

Vitali Klitschko vs Lennox Lewis Part 5

Robert Helenius vs. Dereck Chisora (1/4)

Robert Helenius vs. Dereck Chisora (2/4)

Robert Helenius vs. Dereck Chisora (3/4)

Robert Helenius vs. Dereck Chisora (4/4)

Dereck Chisora slaps Vitali Klitschko at weigh-in for world title fight

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  1. the thresher 12:09pm, 02/18/2012

    Fight time: 2:30 p.m. EST (U.K. TV) / 4:30 p.m. EST (U.S. TV)

    Location: Olympiahalle - Munich, Germany

    TV channel: BoxNation (U.K.) / Epix (U.S.) / RTL (Germany)

    Odds: Klitschko is an enormous favorite, between -1400 and -1600, with Chisora the underdog at anywhere between +750 to +1000.

    Undercard: Klitschko undercard regular Johnathon Banks (27-1-1, 18 KO) takes on Nicolai Firtha (20-9-1, 8 KO) in a 12-round heavyweight bout. ... Ukrainian junior welterweight Serhiy Fedchenko (29-1, 13 KO) meets Laszlo Fazekas (8-0-1, 6 KO) in an eight-round contest. ... Former British featherweight champ Stephen Smith (12-1, 6 KO) faces Arpad Vass (7-2, 5 KO) in another eight-rounder. ... Welterweight prospect Timo Schwartzkopf (5-0, 4 KO) meets Andre Deobald (4-2-2, 3 KO) in a six-round bout. ... And Emanuel Steward protégé Tony Harrison (4-0, 4 KO) continues his education against Suleyman Dag (9-31, 4 KO) in a four-round fight.

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