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Friday, 10 June 2016

Wladimir Klitschko “I know the game, and I know how to last long.”

April 25th, 2015 will mark the return of Wladimir Klitschko(63-3, 53KO’s) to an American ring for the first time in over seven years, when he defends his WBA Super, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles against Bryant Jennings(18-0, 10KO’s) at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

In every measurable way, there is a vast disparity in experience between champ and challenger, with the former having had three times as many knockouts to his name as Jennings has had fights. Despite this Wladimir refused to say anything detrimental about his upcoming opponent and actually complimented Jennings to the media members who crowded around him with tape-recorders outstretched.
“I have great respect for this guy because of the way he carries himself in the public and, in general. He is respectful, he wants to become the champion, he has the desire, he has a lot of energy, very energetic and athletic, I see how he moves.”

Wlad must be so used to insults flying at him at this stage in his career. Even before he had Shannon Briggs chasing him around the globe in the hope of talking his way into a title shot, David Haye was making t-shirts with his and his brother’s decapitated heads on the front in an effort towards the same end. He seemed relieved to be preparing for a fight where he is able to bypass all of the shenanigans that often accompany a big fight like this.

A reporter nearby then pointed out how relaxed Wlad seemed to be in contrast with the conservative demeanour he displayed in preparation for his last fight in the States, which the big man seemed to misconstrue as a comment regarding his fighting style. His reply sought to justify his in-ring tactics.

“I cannot make the fight; I need somebody to make this fight exciting. If somebody gets in and wants to fight, it’s exciting. If somebody gets in and doesn’t want to get knocked out, it’s very difficult to catch this guy, so you have to chase him, and while you chase him you cannot get hit because otherwise you’re gonna lose the fight. There have been different fights that I’ve had in the past twenty-five years of my career and I do have different qualities; of boxing and punching, and if it’s needed clinching, and if it’s needed not to clinch. It doesn’t matter. So I know the game, and I know how to last long.”

It is as if Wlad is pre-empting any criticism he will likely receive if this turns out to be a boring fight. He is imploring Jennings to make a go of the opportunity he has earned for himself and not shell up in a futile attempt to go the distance. Wlad gets most guys out of there regardless of what approach they choose to employ, so Jennings may as well roll the dice and make it an entertaining fight for the fans, and you never know, he could just shock the world. It’s unlikely, but if Jennings did manage to pull out the win it would dwarf James ‘Buster’ Douglas’s win over the undefeated Mike Tyson in terms of significance, such is the aura the champion has built around himself since his last loss over a decade ago.


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