Thursday, July 29, 2010

Steward Discusses Povetkin Backing Out Of Klitschko Fight

Hall of fame trainer and trainer of current WBO,IBF,IBO, and Ring heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Emanuel Steward had a few words on the pullout of Alexander Povetkin and a replacement fight with the next highest IBF available opponent Samuel Peter.

On Wladimir Klitschko’s recent switch in opponent from Alexander Povetkin to Sam Peter:

“Well I was kind of prepared for that. I have never believed that Povetkin was going to fight Wladimir, just not as bad as David Haye. So we were prepared and I told Wladimir to be prepared about two weeks ago that he might have to fight Sam Peter and also that they should contact him to see if he was available, because I had a feeling that this was going to happen.”

On whether he blames Teddy Atlas for Povetkin pulling out of the fight:

“Well he’s been consistent. From day one Teddy has never said that he thought his fighter was ready. If you read between the lines in all of the interviews that he did, he was always consistently just speaking in general like how you have to train a guy this way, you have to be prepared, people have to find themselves. He never did speak with any strong conviction that he felt that his fighter was ready. He feels that he needs more time. He was put in that position because the fighter was already in the mandatory position when he became involved with him. If he hadn’t been, he probably would have never pushed for him to be in that position. So he did what he thought was best and I respect it and I respect the fact that the IBF is going along with that. After two years he has shown no real desire to step up and take advantage of his position. They have decided to move on.

So everything is sorting itself out so to say, and you can’t make a guy fight that doesn’t want to fight and it’s very difficult to promote a fight when you have one guy who’s prepared and another guy who really seems sort of reluctant to participate and promote it and everything else. We have to move on to Sam Peter and I think it’s going to be an interesting fight because Sam didn’t look that great in some of his fights after the first fight with Wladimir. But his last fight, which I think was in Texas when I was down there doing the HBO broadcast, everyone said he looked fantastic just due to the fact his weight is down. Maybe with a different trainer, I think he’s working now in Big Bear and having a whole different attitude about everything. Just the fact that his weight is down you know he’s taking it more seriously. That’s one of the complaints always was his conditioning. And he is a puncher so nevertheless, we’re not going to be relaxed. The first fight had enough drama to last me a lifetime with Wladimir down three times and then in the twelfth round Sam Peter was out on his feet. So we’re not going to take the fight lightly because he is a puncher. We figure Peter to be a much more dangerous puncher than Povetkin.”

On what he believes will be the major difference in the rematch between Wladimir Klitschko and Sam Peter:

“That was the breakthrough fight for Wladimir Klitschko. That was the fight after he had been stopped twice and he had a fight with DaVarryl Williamson where he looked not that impressive. He went down in that fight even though he won a technical decision because of a cut. His brother had like given up hope on him and most of the people in his camp, and it was just he and I for the most part. That was apparent for the Sam Peter fight. It was a fight where, for the first time, he actually barred his brother from coming to a training camp. They had been training together all of their careers. It was because of the lack of confidence and the negative vibes that everyone had going into that fight.

He could have chosen an easier fight, but he ask who was the best fighter out there that could give him credibility back after being stopped by Brewster and barely getting by with DaVarryl Williamson and having been stopped by Sanders. I said “Well the most dangerous guy is Sam Peter”. So that’s what he wanted. That was the make or break fight that he said would put his career back on track or he could have picked a safe bout. So going down two times in the fight early, which they weren’t really clean knockdowns, but I looked at the expression on his face and it was like psychologically he wasn’t hurt but he was just totally confused and disappointed in himself. When he came back at the end of the round he was surprised by how cool I was, because I saw he wasn’t hurt. So I spoke to him very carefully and told him he was boxing at a distance where he could get caught with those clubbing punches and that he needed to be all the way back or if he got in too close to just tie him up and never allow him at that halfway distance where he could get clubbed. He said, “Okay” and if you watch the fight, before the bell rang for the next round after he had been down twice, he was the one in the center of the ring waiting on Sam Peter.

That was psychologically a tough fight for him. The last knockdown, I think was the tenth round, which we both consider was a true knockdown but he came back and had Sam out on his feet in the twelfth round so that was like the turning point in his entire boxing career in that fight. Since then I think he’s progressed tremendously and gone to another level to become one of the probably most respected and maybe on his way to becoming one of the top fighters in heavyweight history. Meanwhile Sam has been going back and forth and probably aside from his last fight hasn’t been that impressive. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens because we still don’t know what the psychological affect will be on Wladimir. Whether this time he wants to go out and prove that he’s the best heavyweight, and this is a good chance for him to fight a guy who just recently fought the other heavyweight that everybody considers maybe the best which is a guy named Vitali Klitschko.

This will be a very good comparison point for the public to judge between the two heavyweight champions and the two brothers. For that reason, I think Wladimir is going to try and put on a very impressive performance and I don’t know if Sam’s going to be able to hold him off if Wladimir comes in with that attitude. Wladimir is one of the most devastating one-punch boxers in heavyweight history. He’s not the type of guy who wears you down. He can turn out the lights with one single punch. Sam Peter said he’s going to pick up where he left off, that’s what Wladimir told me—where he left off the last fight by knocking him down. I said, “Well Wladimir, you have to pick up where the fight actually finished up in the twelfth round where you almost had him out with the left hook”. It will be I think an explosive fight because of the emotions with Wladimir trying to prove something and Sam realizing this is his big shot right now. It’s going to be an interesting fight between punchers for a change.”

His thoughts on Sam Peter’s comments from earlier in the show when Peter had words for Wladimir stating, “Be ready because it’s going to be a short night”:

“I think it will but I think he’ll be on the short end of it, but that really means that he has tremendous confidence in himself now and I think that’s good.”

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