Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s unflappable demeanor has been as much a part of his invincible aura as his battering ram jab and crushing right hand. For Klitschko, it’s a matter of strategic principle not to allow himself to become emotionally heated.
The contrast with his upcoming opponent, Tyson Fury, is vivid. The Irish-English contender wears his own emotions on his shirt sleeve. It’s almost as if he feels compelled to insult an opponent, as if failing to do so ahead of time is to neglect an important ritual attached to the fight.
On a media call earlier today, Klitschko was asked to comment on Fury’s penchant for trash talk. In a perfect dead pan, the champion speculated that Fury must have “emotional issues.” But the man known as “Dr. Steelhammer” also stated that he felt he could be a “good therapist” for Fury and “help him to become a better person”, presumably by knocking a bit of humbleness into the unbeaten challenger.
Klitschko further added that he doesn’t mean it as an insult when he calls Fury a clown. “To make people laugh, that is a very good thing,” said the Ukrainian champion, adding that one of his closest friends i s a critically aclaimed clown. Because of this, Klitschko added, he had “good connections” and would be willing to help Fury make a career change after the fight, a reference to the fact that Fury stated earlier this month that he’ll retire if he can’t knock Klitschko out.
With Floyd Mayweather announcing his retirement last weekend, it was inevitable that Klitschko’s contemporary should come up among the questions. Like Mayweather, Klitschko first came to wide-spread attention when he medaled in the 1996 Olympics. They have been the two most dominant fighters of this century and are the current longest reigning world champions.
Klitschko expressed doubt that Mayweather’s retirement would be permanent, stating his suspicion that the the lure of winning fight number 50 and passing Rocky Marciano’s iconic mark would simply be too tempting for Money to resist. The 38-year-old Klitschko gave no indication that he was pondering retirement, instead sounding enthusiastic about his long cherished desire to add the WBC heavyweight belt, a title he has never held, to his already immense hardware collection. The belt currently belongs to Deontay Wilder, who spent time as Klitschko’s sparring partner earlier in his career.
As far as Wilder is concerned, Klitschko was tactful when asked about the poor quality of opposition Wilder has been matched with since winning his belt, noting that the young belt holder probably wasn’t in a position to pick his own opponents, while conceding that he would ultimatley like to see Wilder in tougher.