Wladimir Klitschko: ďI said, ĎDavid, just donít say anything about your toe! Itís not good!í Instead he just jumped on the table and showed to the public the issue why he lost.Ē
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - This weekís 152nd edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with the reigning Heavyweight Champion of the world Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) who recently had a scheduled December 10 title defense against Jean Marc Mormeck postponed until March 3 due to health issues. Klitschko spoke about his future plans for 2012, and also shared his views on a variety of other topics including a potential fight between his brother Vitali Klitschko and David Haye, the Pacquiao-Mayweather situation, recent victories by heavyweight contenders Alexander Povetkin and Robert Helenius, Antonio Tarver, and more! Here is a complete transcript from that interview:
Article posted on 12.12.2011
JENNA J: It is now time for our final guest of this weekís show. Heís making his fourth appearance to On the Ropes Boxing Radio. Heís the reigning IBF, WBO, WBA,and Ring Magazine heavyweight champion of the world. Weíre joined once again by Wladimir Klitschko. Howís everything going today, Wlad?
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO: Now the question how am I doingóIím doing fantastic! Believe it or not, youíre going to probably be really surprised with my good mood, but I assure you life without pain is beautiful! Itís so enjoyable and Iím very happy and eventually it will be over and Iím recovering well. Itís the first day that Iím completely free of all the other days that I wasnít really feeling well. But now itís all great and fantastic and Iím very, very, very happy about that.
JENNA: Now how difficult was it for you in the training camp dealing with this kidney stone problem, and what ultimately made you decide to have surgery to take care of it?
KLITSCHKO: Iíll tell you something. I never ever shared my health issues with the public, or anyone else but my doctor. And youíre obviously not my doctor, butóand I was hiding actually. It happened last Thursday and I was trying to keep it as cool, as calm, and as not visible as possible. But it looks like with my face and my name itís not that easy, especially in Europe. Probably in the States it would be easier, but somehow the information went out and all of it became more official. Of course I understand that I also have to explain to the fans, and also I have to give certain statements. I couldnít share my health issues and my status at that time and show up at the press conference on Monday. But now I am showing up and giving interviews and sharing my experiences that I have collected in the past. So I have to tell the fans, I feel sorry for the fans and especially for Mormeck with his team because he was preparing, and also a lot of the undercard fighters because we set up such a great, great show, which weíre actually not canceling. Weíre postponing it until March 3. Itís going to be at the same stadium in the same city. So itís all going to be the same and the same opponent, but itís going to be postponed. Iím happy about that, too. So what happened was difficult, but itís not dramatic to my career. I will continue as planned, and Iím also very, very happy about that part. So there is no complications to my health that could affect my boxing career and Iím super happy about that.
JENNA: Wladimir something that boxing fans know about you is youíre pretty honorable when you have a fight setup with a fighter, and when you have an injury, you try to make that fight still happen. You did the same thing with Dereck Chisora previously. How much does it mean to you to actually have this fight with Mormeck?
KLITSCHKO: It meant a lot because it was supposed to be fight number 60, and 60 is a round number, and I was looking forward to it like any other event. Itís always a challenge, and I know that Mormeck also hired the former coach of Mike Tyson, Mr. Rooney, that was preparing him for this fight. I know that heís very well motivated and he got a lot of strength. Iíve been watching also his workouts online, and he was definitely preparing for this fight tremendously. If youíre over 200 pounds, and you have 10-ounce gloves , and youíre super motivatedóyou definitely have a chance, at least if youíre trying. Mormeck was definitely a guy that was going to give it a try to actually become first, as he promised at the press conference in Parisóthat he is going to be the first heavyweight champion in the history of France. I think that he really seriously took this challenge, and I was preparing for this fight with the expectations that Mormeck was going to give me a good fight. So Iíve done over 100 rounds of sparring and was really ready for this fight.
JENNA: Okay. Well you know in the month of March there is another fight that is being talked about, and that is between your brother and David Haye. How much would you like to see your brother finish what you started in the same month you fight Mormeck?
KLITSCHKO: Itís very difficult to give any comments on David Haye, because if you take a look at the history there had been negotiations for two and a half years to get David Haye to fight us. There has been a lot of cancelations, and postponements, and statements, and a certain things that David Haye has done before. I would actually stay out of that, but one thing I will actually promise you, or predict to youóDavid Haye will come back! He was actually saying that Iím a ďcontrol freakĒ before the fight, and you know? He was right! So Iím actually controlling his sporting career right now and Iím confirming that David Haye will come back, and we will see him pretty soon. I think if he still has the ego, which an athlete has, that was really badly humbled after this fight and wrinkled. Actually that was a good reality checkup for David Haye to become a better man. I think it was good for him and his life. So I think he will comeback. Will he comeback next to fight Vitali? I donít know. Itís very difficult to give any comments on that, but I think he will come back.
JENNA: Well you mentioned before about your fight with him, and how he talked so much and he certainly didnít live up to the expectations. Can you tell us a little more about how you feel now? That fight was in July. How do you feel now about the fight you did have with him, and were you at all disappointed with the fight that he brought you?
KLITSCHKO: I was promising to knock David Haye out in the twelfth round, and it was actually working. It was a good, good plan. David Haye was behind for eleven rounds, and then after the eleventh round in the pause, I see he knew he was losing and he had been talking so much nonsense before. So you obviously have to get it and just give it a try, and do the ďHayemakingĒ thing that heís famous for. I was waiting for him to come with that strategy in the twelfth round. Unfortunately, he tried once, he got countered back, and that was it! So I was kind of disappointed that I couldnít knock him out, on one side. On the other side, the chapter is closed with Haye because I think he got the reality check like I mentioned before. It was kind of a reality show in the ring, and to get back with reality treatment also to become a better person. I think he realized whatever he did before, and especially after the fight, which I was saying at the press conference before. I said, ďDavid, just donít say anything about your toe! Itís not good!Ē Instead he just jumped on the table and showed to the public the issue why he lost. There is a saying, ďNever complain, never explainĒ and it was exactly what he has to hold on. But I donít think heís a bad guy. I think heís a good guy. Hayeís just a person that lost his mind a little bit after so much success in a short period of time. He was a cruiserweight champion. He moved t o heavyweight and he beat the big guy Valuev and he became WBA champion, and he totally go overconfident and lost reality. But now I think heís back, and I think heís doing better now as a person. I expected that, and weíll see what heís going to do next, and I think people will still be interested in him getting back and seeing what he does in the ring.
JENNA: Okay! Well Wladimir, weíre also on the line with my Co-Host and Producer Geoff Ciani.
GEOFFREY CIANI: Hi Wladimir! Itís a great pleasure having you back on the show.
KLITSCHKO: Thank you! Itís a great pleasure to be back. Thank you for having me.
CIANI: Thank you, Wladimir. Now the possibility of your brother fighting David Haye, if that happensófans are going to be comparing how Vitali does against him as opposed to how you performed against David Haye. Iím wondering, since you and your brother will never fight, is that sort of a way how you two compete with each other? By seeing how well you can do against common opponents?
KLITSCHKO: Well, I like the question. Iím going to tell youóVitali will knock Haye out! My brother is the strongest of the two of us, and Iíve said it before. Iím pretty sure Vitali will eventually knock David Haye out, if the fight happens.
CIANI: What do you think fans will say? How do you think they will perceive it, if Vitali does knock him out and you were unable to? What kind of judgments do you think fans will make if that does play out that way?
KLITSCHKO: Well itís very difficult to say, but I think itís always from fight to fight, itís different. I remember I was fighting defending my title in Las Vegas with Charles Shufford. Charles Shufford actually did pretty good with Lamon Brewster before my fight. I lost against Brewster, but I beat Charles Shufford. So with different times and different opponents sometimes things are working and some other things are not. Iím going to be alright with any judgments that fans are going to pull out with this fight, with anything. I will accept anything. I will be only happy for my brother that he will eventually knock David Haye out.
CIANI: Now Wladimir, going back to when your brother first came back from retirement after nearly a four year absence, when he came back to fight Sam Peter, did you ever imagine at that time that he would have the type of success he had? His body seemed injury prone previously, but now heís apparently been healthy and heís been dominating for three years since he came back. Did you ever imagine that he would do that well when he came back from his retirement?
KLITSCHKO: I always knew that my brother is really good in boxing, and he is really the most talented one of the two of us. I became a fighter. Vitali was born as a fighter. It was actually in his bones, but I never expected him to be so good, especially in his recent fight with Adamek. I never ever thought that my brother, at the age of 40, was going to beat Tomasz Adamek in the way and dominate him as one-sidedly in the way that he did. The way Vitali looked also in this fight, his physical shape, his mental shape. The fans saw this fight. It was so one-sided. Iím sorry for saying it, but the difference in class and everything it was like beating up a child. I definitely was really surprised by Vitaliís performance. It doesnít say that Adamek was bad. He was great! He was fighting a lot of heavyweights before he got to this mandatory position, but Vitali really surprised me and Iím very happy about this fact.
CIANI: Now Wladimir, you havenít lost a fight in over seven years now since the Lamon Brewster fight. When people were counting you out then did you ever think that you would go on this dominant run as heavyweight champion where, right now, there isnít even anybody out there that fans view as a real challenge for you. Did you ever think you would reach that point after some of your earlier career setbacks?
KLITSCHKO: Youíre probably going to think Iím having a big head, but Iíll tell you something. After I lost against Brewster and then my performance against Williamson wasnít so great right after, so obviously people just thought and said Iím burned out. Even my brother said to me, ďBrother, you have to retire. I think this is it for you. Itís over with boxing.Ē But inside of me, I had this feeling that it just was a mistake and itís not me. Iím not belonging to the bottom of the sport, in those days where I was in 2004. So I could do much better, and I knew my abilities were definitely not going the right way. So I made a lot of changes. I changed completely everything that I had to change, and I did it, and eventually worked out. So have I ever thought that I was going to be so dominating? Not really, but I trusted myself and I believed in myself that I could perform better than others.
CIANI: Now that you have been performing so dominantly, when people look at Mormeck they donít view him as a guy thatís a real threat to you. But how do you stay motivated knowing that the majority of people in the boxing media and the boxing fansóthey donít even see a guy like Mormeck, or anyone else for that matter, as a real challenge for you. How do you cope with that and stay motivated?
KLITSCHKO: Itís any sport like that, you always have underdogs that are eventually going to win. Iíll give you an example in the history of boxing. ďThe Brown BomberĒ Joe Louis was fighting Max Schmelling, and Max Schmelling was not a ďBum of the MonthĒ, and this fight ended up in a knockout win for Max Schmelling over Joe Louis. I will give you an example with Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman the first time in 2001 when they fought. We had been shooting Oceanís Eleven and I remember on the set when we were with Lennox together, he said everyone knew it was not a mandatory title defense. It was a free defense and everybody thought of Rahman as like being a piece of meat for Lennox. The class between those fighters was so different that there was no chance that Hasim Rahman could really give any threat to Lewis. There are tons of examples, like me and Corrie Sanders! I remember there were some TV issues, even. Television didnít want to accept Corrie Sanders as my opponent to fight him, but eventually it turned out being a disaster for me. The class is different, but there is always a chance. Like I said, if your weight is over 200 pounds and youíre super motivated as Vitali was motivated in the fight with Lennox Lewis, which Lennox also underestimated Vitali because he doesnít look impressive with his style. His style is like a cowboy style. You know, hands on the hips and he shoots right from there. So this is what happens and you canít underestimate anyone, and especially after I was going through a lot of names. All of the guys, either it was Tyson Fury, or it was Robert Helenius, or it was Aleander Povetkin, or some other guys. They said Iím not ready this year, maybe 2012, or the others say 2013, and others stated that in 2020 Iím going to be ready for a Klitschko. (laughs) So what am I going to do? Mormeck was so self-confident and heís in the top ten in the heavyweight division. So itís like I understand that people think that any fight could be one-sided, but I will not view Mormeck as such a bad fighter. Itís not true. Heís experienced. His style could become dangerous if I give him a chance, and I will not give a chance to any opponent since I promised to win all of my fights. I just always want to say that no matter who you fight, you can certain different opinions, and Iím okay with that! I will continue my fights and my career with whoever Iím going to face, and I will beat them up in a way I want to do. As long as Iím motivated and healthy 100%, there is no one who is going to win against me. I donít want to sound cocky, but itís just my attitude, and my experience, and just my status of the way I think.
JENNA: Alright! Well Wlad, this past weekend a couple of heavyweights out there that have been mentioned in regards to your name foughtóand that was both Robert Helenius and Alexander Povetkin. Helenius had some struggles with Dereck Chisora. Some people feel he arguably lost, and Povetkin knocked out Cedric Boswell, a former sparring partner of yours. Iím just curious what you thought of both of those fights, and which one of those two opponents you could possibly see actually meeting you in the ring sometime in the future?
KLITSCHKO: That would be fantastic to fight Alexander Povetkin or Helenius. Iím ready for them. Even Povetkin had twice a chance to fight me, and twice there was something in the way. With Helenius it would be also great, because heís a tall guy and itís going to be really good. I obviously have a lot of fights with shorter guys, and itís really complicated actually to fight short guys because you have to keep the balance and not bend too much forward to reach them. I would love to fight these guys. Iím game and that would be really great. Iím looking forward to it and I think that 2012 is going to be a busy year since I have my next fight in March. So on the timing I could make three fights next year.
JENNA: Okay now Wladimir, my Co-Host brought up before how there is not many challenges out there for you, and asking if it was difficult to stay motivated. But when you look at the heavyweight division right now, besides you and your brother, who do you think is the next best heavyweight?
KLITSCHKO: I think weíll never know. Nobody knows! Iím trying to remember I was talking to Roger Federer, the most successful tennis player in the history of the sport, and he said it also, ďYou know in the beginning, I was not different than others. I was a regular tennis player and there was nothing special. Nobody had seen me before to become big.Ē But eventually he became the most dominating tennis player in history. I think that some of those young guys could develop themselves tremendously. I know that there is some American fighter that is young and ambitious and heís going to fight now on HBO. Heís going to be shown for the public, which is great. Itís Seth Mitchell. Iím looking forward to that, and there are a lot of young fighters coming up. So I am definitely looking forward to it. As Emanuel Steward said to me, ďWlad you just have to keep fighting, keep on going, and itís always in history like that. The big fights and good names are always coming up.Ē Itís like nothing has been changed in this routine of boxing. So you have to just keep yourself busy and the rest will work itself out and its own.
JENNA: Alright well if you listen out there Wladimir, there are certain fighters that tend to call you out. There is one interesting name. Heís a bit of a talker like David Haye but heís an American, and thatís Antonio Tarver. Iím curious what you would think of Antonio Tarver as a future challenge, and do you think that kind of fight is a fight that can be in the United States and help bring you back to HBO?
KLITSCHKO: Of course there is a lot of talkers, and if the public in the States and the boxing fans are interested to see this fight, I think this fight will happen and I will be happy about that, too. Do you think actually? Let me ask you. Do you think this is a good fight? Do you want to see this fight?
JENNA: Well in my honest opinion, I think he can sell the fight well in the United States and it would be good to see you back fighting in this country. I think he can sell it and make it an event. Do I think the fight itself would be competitive? Heís a good boxer.
KLITSCHKO: Do you think he will knock me out?
JENNA: (laughs) No. I donít think anyone out there will knock you out.
KLITSCHKO: (laughs) Well itís something that Iím facing right now. Itís nothing bad about it. I understand. There are different opinions. But if you want to get the payday, and you want to get knocked out, and itís going to be a really good sell in the States, and people really want to see itóIíll do it! Itís fantastic! Iím very happy about the news that you think itís going to work out in the States pretty good with him. Iím happy about anyone, to be honest with you. Not that Iím too overconfident or anything like that, but I can judge and see my abilities and the abilities of my opponents, and I just have my opinion, and please donít judge me on that. I will do whatever is out there and I will not choose the weakest or simplest opponent. Iím ready for a challenge and I would love to have a challenge. Itís great that there are a lot of talkers and they really want to fight, because thatís what I see. There are a lot of guys that want to fight, but when you ask them to fight theyíre not ready for this year. They want to be ready for next year.
CIANI: Speaking of fights that fans want to see that we think is going to happen one year, and then we hear itís next yearóIím talking about Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Junior. Iím curious first of all, did you see Manny Pacquiaoís last fight that a lot of people thought he should have lost, and if you did see it did you think that Pacquiao did enough to win that fight?
KLITSCHKO: It wasnít televised in Europe. I havenít seen it, but Iíve heard about it. I heard that it was not easy but Manny won this fight. I would say whatever the decision was from the judges, and there can also be different opinions. But I think they will probably move forward with the fight. Since the fight wasnít so great on Pacquiaoís side, I think it could be good motivation for Mayweather to actually accept the deal. Iím looking forward to this fight as well with Mayweather and Pacquiao. I would love to see it!
CIANI: Now you just said that you thought this might actually inspire Mayweather to get in the ring. Do you think we will see it in 2012, and if we do who do you think would win that fight?
KLITSCHKO: I would be very disappointed if it wouldnít happen. I think the interest is huge. The upside potential financially is huge. There is like no logic as to why itís not happening. I donít understand it. So if it wouldnít happen I would be very disappointed, as all of us I guess. But I think, wellóprobably you will think Iím being too diplomatic. I see the chances as 50-50, but I think the speed of Pacquiao can become a real problem for Floyd. To handle the speed is going to be not easy. I think itís 50-50, but I will be not surprised if Mannyís going to make it.
JENNA: Alright well Wladimir, we have just a couple of more questions before we let you off the line. Youíre fighting in March. Itís going to be against Mormeck, but how much are you looking forward to being a little more active as heavyweight champion in 2012. Youíve had some injury setbacks. You fought David Haye as your only fight last year. How much do you want to be more active?
KLITSCHKO: I would love to make three fights next year. If I fight at the beginning of March, then I fight in the summer time, and then I fight at the end of the year. So the timing schedule looks like Iím going to be able to make three fights. I hope so.
JENNA: Now Wlad, my Co-Host mentioned earlier, too, that youíve been on an incredible run as a heavyweight champion. Youíre starting to get up there and mentioned with other great fighters, like Larry Holmes in the sense that you had a long reign but some fans out there say itís in a weaker era. I got to ask you, when itís all said and done, how much would it mean to you to be considered one of the all time greats at heavyweight?
KLITSCHKO: I wouldnít put myself that far up with those guys, and I have to tell you that those legendary champions are something remarkable. Iím not considering putting my name in with them. There has to be a lot of work done, and Iím not even thinking about my legacy or anything like that. Iím really enjoying the time right now to perform. I have too much respect to even put my name in with those guys to mix it up. I think itís not my business. I think the guys outside and the critics and everything can actually mention on their own what they think about the position and the history or whatever. But for right now Iím just focusing on my sporting career. Everything else, all they think of under the line, itís too early to say because Iím reaching actually the peak. I havenít reached the peak of my abilities. Iím reaching the peak now little by little, and Iím not done with my business. So I canít talk about the past and where I am right now and what is my legacy. So itís not my business.
JENNA: Well Wladimir, youíre going to turn 36 in March. So you still see yourself not at your peak?
KLITSCHKO: I donít want to hear those numbers!
JENNA & CIANI: (laughs)
KLITSCHKO: (laughs) But I definitely am thinking thatís what I feel, and I donít actually like hearing those numbers and age. I feel young and quick and hungry to be honest with you. Not that Iím starving, but Iím pretty much excited about every fight.
JENNA: Well I have one final question for you Wladimir. In March with your fight with Mormeck, what can your fans expect from the fight and is there any message you would like to pass along to them?
KLITSCHKO: I would like to say to the fans, thank you so much for being with the Klitschko brothers and the sport of boxing, which includes a lot of good names even if those fighters are not well known yet and I will not mention them right now. But I think 2012 will bring us a lot of excitement in boxing. Itís always that way in history. Something unexpected could happen and something exciting could happen. I just wish them great, great health and that they will never cancel the time while theyíre going to watch the fights to do some health issues. So stay healthy guys! Itís the most important part in life, as I understood most recently. Iím also excited, and I wish youíre going to be excited to watch all the sporting events that are going to happen next year, especially as it involves the Klitschko brothers. Thank you very much and weíll catch up next year then. Happy holidays!
JENNA: Alright! Well Wladimir itís been outstanding talking to you and youíve given us a great interview. So I thank you for your time and I wish you all the best in your fight with Mormeck.
KLITSCHKO: Thank you very much guys. Thank you.
CIANI: Thank you Wladimir! Best of luck.
KLITSCHKO: Happy holidays. Bye bye now!
For those interested in listening to the Wladimir Klitschko interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and thirty-one minutes into the program.
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