HBO News interviewed long-time reigning heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who was out promoting his Saturday bout with number one contender Bryant Jennings.
It has been seven years since Wladimir Klitschko has fought in the United States, and he was in good spirits and basking in the change of scenery.
“It’s really exciting after seven-year break. Today is actually my ninth year of being a champion. It’s great to be on top of the game, it’s great to improve all of the time. So I’m excited about the game; I’m motivated and of course with Bryant Jennings as my opponent I think I cannot have better opponent than him.”
For as jovial and personable Klitschko was, when asked about Jennings’ assertations that the champion makes a lot of mistakes, Klitschko’s demeanor turned serious for a moment.
“I will make them eat their words at the press conference after the fight. Mark my words.”
Is Wladimir Klitschko really going to knock out Jennings and then talk trash in the press conference after the fact? I can’t see that happening, but he’s a clever guy. I can see a subtle barb or two being tossed out there with a laugh and a smile.
Threats aside, Klitschko does respect Jennings. He continued with the go-to “Rocky” narative that has punctuated most of the promotion.
“I think he deserves respect. He’s kinda Rocky Balboa from Philadelphia. So he’s living his dream and he’s now official contender for heavyweight titles. He’s getting a lot of attention. He’s obviously enjoying it. But as Emanuel Steward said, on Saturday night there going to be no team, there is going to be nobody else but him and me and that’s going to be ‘Welcome to big-time boxing!'”
When promotions have to resort to the aforementioned “Rocky” narrative, it means you are going to get a brutal one-sided affair. That is probably the case with Klitschko-Jennings, but this is the heavyweight championship being fought for on American soil. That adds a little intrigue, no matter who is in the ring. With one week left until Mayweather-Pacquiao, it is probably worth checking out Klitschko-Jennings if for no other reason then to whet your pallet for the main course seven days later.