As always, there’s a shortage of good heavyweights in boxing. For the last decade, however, two Ukrainians born into the same household, Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, have dominated even the most promising challengers, and new documentary “Klitschko” (directed by Sebastion Dehnhardt) aims to educate serious and casual boxing fans alike in the story of the first set of brothers to ever hold different versions of the heavyweight title simultaneously.
Maxim spoke with one-half of the Klitschko tandem (Wladimir) as he awaited the opening of the documentary and prepared for his December 10 showdown with Jean Marc Mormeck.
Your next fight is against Jean Marc Mormeck, a former cruiserweight champ that is considerably smaller than you.
He’s smaller than me. We’ve been going through a lot of names to approach and he’s just entered the top ten, so, I’m going to fight him on December 10.
Do you think it’s going to be a tough fight?
Well, you’re wanting me to say that he’s not a tough opponent, I guess. I can read between the lines! I saw him at the press conference in Hamburg (Germany) and we’re going to have another one next week in Paris. It’s obvious that he’s very intelligent and a very smart guy and from what he says. he’s very well motivated. He looks like the underdog in this fight, but I definitely won’t underestimate him.
Tell me a bit about the documentary about you and your brother, Vitali.
The documentary was started five years ago, maybe. There were some directors that were approaching us and told us “Let’s shoot a documentary.” We didn’t feel comfortable about it - I don’t know why, we just thought it was probably not necessary and just a project that didn’t make any sense to do. Then Sebastion Dehnhardt, the movie director, got to us and somehow we started to shoot with him. We had a personal sense that he was different from other guys, so we were like “Ok, let’s try it, why not?” It was good, especially when Vitali came back and won the title, putting us in history as the first two brothers to hold the championship belt at the same time. Somehow, Sebastion even got our parents involved. Our parents were never in the public eye or interviewed by anyone, only in this documentary. In fact, my mother said, “That’s the last time I’m giving any interview!”
We were getting a lot of questions from our fans. They wanted to know who we are outside of the boxing ring and this was a perfect way to answer those questions. It’s about the dream of two boys and it shows what the sport of boxing looks like. It’s explained from different angles and it’s also about Eastern Europe and the sports programs in the Soviet Union.
You and Vitali have dominated the heavyweight division for over a decade and still top the current world rankings. In your mind, who are the best boxers after you two?
There are a lot of good guys that are not well-known and they are really good. I don’t think that Chris Arreola is bad, although obviously he lost against Vitali. Adamek, the other guy, Vitali beat in September in his home country of Poland. There are a lot of good, young guys that are fighting but they’re not well known. In the old days, when Muhammad Ali was fighting Ken Norton, Joe Frazier and George Foreman, there was a lot of excitement in the heavyweight division, I have to admit it.
I talked to my coach, Emmanuel Stewart, and I said, “Manny, what’s going on?” He said, “Wladi, just keep fighting and eventually the big fights will come up.” It was big for the heavyweights with David Haye. Joe Louis had this issue until he lost against Max Schmeling: Suddenly the Brown Bomber was knocked out and in the rematch Joe knocked Max Schmeling out. Before that, Louis was fighting the “Bum of the Month,” as they used to call it. Manny said Tyson used to go through the same thing - everybody was watching to see who he was going to knock out. He was exciting to watch fight, but there was also a lack of good names until Holyfield and Lennox Lewis came around to make big fights. Emmanuel said, “It’s always been this way in this sport. This is your era and you just have to keep fighting.”
You haven’t lost since 2004 against Lamon Brewster and you’ve won 12 of the 14 fights since then by knockout. What was your toughest fight?
I think that Samuel Peter fight. He was unbeatable, he was knocking people out and he was the next hope for HBO. I was the underdog in this fight, I really was. I was the one that was going down the hill and he was the one that was going up the hill. His manager said, “Klitschko is a dead man walking.” That’s exactly it. Everyone had this attitude, even Samuel Peter. He was so comfortable. Listen, I can hit, I promise you I can hit. I was hitting this guy with big shots to his head, but he was just shaking his head and moving forward and moving forward and moving forward. It was a really, really tough fight. I was, kind of on the way up after being down, and that was motivation for me in a certain way. I was like, “No way I’m giving up. I’m going to win this fight. There is nothing that can stop me.” That was my motivation. Even if I was three times on the floor..
If Floyd Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao this weekend, who would win?
I think Manny, but I think Floyd – with his style – is a very difficult guy to fight with. I’ve said before I thought it would be 50-50. If you had to decide in your gut feeling, I would say that due to speed, Manny has a good chance. He’s experienced because he was going through losses as well and he knows what it tastes like. I think that gives him a slight advantage.
Do you have any closing thoughts about your fight on December 10th?
I will – as always – take care of my business. I will be 100% ready for this fight and I will do everything to knock Mormeck out. That’s my opinion, that’s my motivation and that’s what’s going to happen. I don’t want to talk cheap talk, I promised the same thing with David Haye and I couldn’t deliver it – I feel really bad about that. That’s my motivation to get through the training camp. As in a chess game, I will destroy my opponent with strategy, technique and tactics and I will eventually knock him out.