It was an emotionally charged moment for both brothers. When Peter refused to come out for the ninth round, Wladimir leapt up and down on the ring apron like a lottery winner who had just seen the winning numbers appear on TV.
It has been almost a year since that defining moment, and Vitali (37-2) is still fighting on. Last March, he knocked out No. 1 contender
At 38, and with a litany of lucrative fights behind him, Klitschko is financially secure. He has a Ph.D. in sports medicine and philosophy to fall back on. He has a wife and three young children. And he has a bright future in politics: Despite being defeated in two mayoral campaigns in Kiev, Klitschko remains one of the most popular figures in the Ukraine and is currently serving on the Ukrainian delegation of the Congress of the Council of Europe.
So why is he still fighting?
"To be honest, I'm still very motivated to fight," Klitschko told SI.com. "I took a lot [four years] of time off. My body feels good. And I'm still fighting very well."
That's certainly true. His performance against Peter was flawless and he put Gomez down twice before the referee stepped in. The memories of Klitschko quitting on his stool against
But there's another thing that motivates Klitschko: the WBA title, the missing piece of the heavyweight crown. It currently belongs to Russian giant
"We need to get them all," said Klitschko. "When that happens, I will think about my future."
It could happen soon. Klitschko's team, which includes manager
There is also the possibility that his brother could beat him to it. Wladimir was scheduled to fight Haye in June before Haye pulled out with an injury. Plus, a fight with Valuev would be huge in Europe, where Wladimir is immensely popular. His June fight with
"They are both tough," the source said. "But Vitali's style is all wrong for David."
Regardless of how long it takes, Vitali says he will wait. And by the looks of it, he can wait a long time. At the pre-fight press conference on Tuesday, Klitschko walked onto the dais looking like he was carved out of granite. He has been swimming at UCLA for the last five weeks and has run more than 100 miles and boxed more than 120 rounds in training camp. He is fully prepared to go 12 rounds with Arreola, though no one expects it to go more than five.
"I have been eating and sleeping Chris Arreola," said Klitschko. "This is a big fight. A lot of people are saying this young guy is going to take my title. But I know that is never going to happen."