Ukraine's Klitschko Wants Title Unification To Be Made In U.S.

NEW YORK, NY -- Wladimir Klitschko believes in learning from history, specifically the path traveled by the late Max Schmeling. "When I met Max Schmeling, Max said, 'If you want to make it big, you have to make it in the United States,' " Klitschko says. "You know what? Max was right."

At age 32, boxer Wladimir Klitschko says he isn't going to hang up his gloves anytime soon. He would like to make his mark in the United States before that happens.

The advice from the former heavyweight champion, and legendary rival of Joe Louis, helps to explain Klitschko's recent visit to the Big Apple. When he wasn't meeting with HBO executives to discuss what has been an endless and difficult search for attractive bouts, he was meeting with various media outlets to remind anyone willing to listen that, as he joked at one moment, "I rule."

He holds only one of the three major belts (IBF), but he still is regarded as the world's best heavyweight after knocking out Tony Thompson in the 11th on July 12. Yet he is hardly content.

"I want to continue my mission to unify the titles even if it is not an easy job because of boxing politics," he says. "The saying in boxing is really the truth. It may be more important to have a good lawyer than a good coach."

The Klitschko camp is working out details for a fight against Alexander Povetkin that is being mandated by the IBF. Povetkin emerged as the top challenger with victories against Eddie Chambers and Chris Byrd. They are likely to clash in Europe.

If Klitschko gets past Povetkin at a date to be determined for later this year, he likely would oppose the winner of the Aug. 30 Nicolay Valuev-John Ruiz rematch for the WBA crown.

His connections would welcome Madison Square Garden as the site for such a bout. "We love to fight in the States, we love to fight at Madison Square Garden because New York is really the place to go," says Klitschko's manager Bernd Boente.

Klitschko, 32, who earned a doctorate in Sports Science, has not thought about retirement. "I'm just entering my prime," he says. "I've heard boxers over 30 get better, and I'm seeing it now.… I don't see limits to myself right now and I enjoy it because it's a discovery for me."

Wladimir's brother, Vitali, is ending a four-year retirement to tangle with WBC titleholder Samuel Peter in Berlin on Oct. 11. If Vitali makes a successful return, wouldn't Klitschko vs. Klitschko finally provide the heavyweight division with the kind of marquee event it so sorely lacks?

There would be money to be made in a bout with broad international appeal, but their mother, Natalia, is an insurmountable opponent when it comes to having one son pound another.

It is one thing for siblings to trade shots with tennis racquets as Serena and Venus Williams do. It is an entirely different matter when fists are involved.

"They sparred with each other," Boente says. "Both brothers wanted to win and it was very tough. Boxing is a little different than tennis, where there is a net in between."

Wladimir and Vitali intend to keep their promise to Natalia that they cannot be coaxed into the ring together. "She just will not accept it. She will not," Wladimir says, "and we follow her wish."


Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones (52-4, 38 KOs) will take place Nov. 8 at New York's Madison Square Garden in a light heavyweight match (HBO Pay-Per-View).

Although Calzaghe (45-0, 32 KOs) doesn't hold any of the three major belts, by virtue of his victory vs. Bernard Hopkins in April, he's recognized as the world's best 175-pounder through lineage. The bout was postponed from September because of an injury to Calzaghe.

Source: USA Today