By PHILIP H. ANSELMO
I just hung the phone up. It’s June 27th and my good friend and trainer of champions, Emanuel Steward took his precious time to field a phone call from yours truly to comment on Saturday’s blockbuster Heavyweight Championship and unification bout between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye.
My partner-in-the-world-of-scribes, Scoop Malinowski had just e-mailed me footage of today’s press conference. Haye bad-mouthed the Klitschko brothers, insulted Steward and angered elder Klitschko Vitali. So what’s new?
“Well Phil”, stated Steward, “The press conference was only about 4-hours ago. Haye thinks we’re worried about him? THAT is a joke! I have never seen Wladimir in such a great state of mind. I feel the same way I did before Lennox Lewis’ fight with Mike Tyson or Tommy Hearns before his fight with (Roberto) Duran, and when I feel THIS GOOD, everything’s OK.”
When probed about strategy, Steward said, “Just think what (George) Foreman did to (Ken) Norton (KO 2), or what Tommy did to Duran (KO 2). Wladimir is a big fighter and he will fight big and there is no doubt that he will knock David Haye cold.”
When asked about Haye’s intimidation factors he replied, “Wladimir looks into David’s eyes when he talks all that mess and just sees fear. It’s Haye who’s scared to death. When he (Haye) is standing in the ring come fight night, and he sees this huge man in a red robe coming out of the tunnel, surrounded by smoke, with big brother Vitali standing directly behind his (Wlad’s) shoulder wanting to get at him, all these emotions are going to spawn reality. And as I like to say, ‘Welcome to the lion’s den David’.”
I remember speaking with Emanuel about a year ago on the “When will David Haye and Wlad actually fight?” subject, and Emanuel was glum. At the time, he did not think Haye would ever actually step into the ring with Wlad. But now that the fight is happening, and all preparations have run smoothly with Wlad’s training, the Kronk guru sounds like a different person. He is beyond upbeat. As a matter of fact, he said he’d been up close to 24-hours straight, “but still felt ecstatic.”
I’ve known Emanuel for some 6-years now, and of all people, he has known the public’s soured perception of today’s heavyweights. Now that this heavyweight mega-fight is upon us, he feels that redemption is less than a week away.
“Wladimir has been in some bad fights in the past because certain opponents did not want to actually risk “fighting”. In truth, people will always remember your last fight. Wladimir knows this, and he is going to take care of business Saturday, and I mean bigtime. Like I said, when I feel this good before a fight, then we’re good. As a matter of fact, we’re BETTER than good. Haye has nowhere to run anymore.”
If any of the readers out there don’t know it by now, I am a biased writer. Wladimir Klitschko is a great Heavy Weight Champion and a class act. David Haye is neither. Perhaps Vitali (who is fighting Tomasz Adamek this fall) said it best: “My opponent Adamek FOUGHT his way into a title fight with me, David Haye TALKED his way into a fight with my brother.” And if that ain’t the truth, then I have no tattoos on my head.
I’ll make a prediction here and now, using one of my favorite quotes of all time. When Lennox Lewis was an up-and-comer, he took on an older but still dangerous Donovan “Razor” Ruddock. When asked about the outcome of the fight, the young Lewis simply said, “He’s gonna die out there.” And Ruddock did just that.
The same will happen to David Haye. Lewis got his man (Ruddock) in the 2nd round. Is the 2nd round KO theme a prophecy of things to come? When will Wlad get David? I think what Emanuel thinks; Haye is already defeated. And come fight night the anxiety of actually being in the ring with the best Heavyweight Champion of this generation, Wladimir Klitschko, will set in on Haye like rigor mortis does a corpse.
The pick here is Wlad by KO anytime he wants. Eventually, Haye’s legs will betray him and his chin will follow shortly. And from this viewpoint, it’ll be the sweetest victory for Wladimir and his supporters the globe over. The best man will win!
Enjoy the weekend and the fight!
This will be my reaction when Wlad lowers the boom!
Not bad for a 43-year old dude, eh?
Philip H. Anselmo is a musician, vocalist, songwriter for such groups as Pantera, Down, Super Joint Ritual and Arson Anthem. You can keep up with Phil’s latest music production and going-ons, including his video interview with former New Orleans Saints star Jeremy Shockey at www.thehousecorerecords.com