When you are the heavyweight champion of the world, when you have a hard time getting opponents to give you good rounds much less good fights, sometimes you need a little extra motivation. Motivation like, say, an opponent who has been convicted of battering his girlfriend, who calls your trainer an Uncle Tom and who talks more trash than a WWE wrestler.
Wladimir Klitschko, meet Dereck Chisora.
On Saturday night in the German city of Mannheim, Klitschko will defend his IBF, WBO and
"I'm counting the days," Klitschko said in a telephone interview. "I love that this guy is such a jerk. It's the perfect motivation for me."
For Klitschko, defending his titles recently has amounted to little more than indoor exercise. Samuel Peter worked him out for 10 rounds before going down in a heap. Eddie Chambers almost went nearly the full 12 before Klitschko ended his night a little bit early. Before that it was Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman and Tony Thompson. Challenges? Klitschko has had backyard brawls with his brother that were more dangerous.
Chisora? He has at least made things interesting. He insulted Klitschko's girlfriend, actress Hayden Panettiere, by saying the American actress was "three feet tall." He calls Klitschko's past opponents "cab drivers." It's a comment similar to the one Greg Haugen made to Julio Cesar Chavez in 1993, when Haugen called Chavez's conquests a collection of "Tijuana taxi drivers." Chavez battered Haugen for five rounds before the referee mercifully stepped in; Klitschko expects a similar result.
"I felt embarrassed to sit at the same table with him," Klitschko said. "He's a loser. He beats up his girlfriend because she can't fight back. He has bitten an opponent's ear. He's totally out of control. And when he offended Manny [trainer Emanuel Steward], he really crossed the line. Manny is 66 years old. He's a Hall of Fame coach. Chisora has no respect. He doesn't know where the line is."
There's something else to like about Chisora: He's British, the same nationality as David Haye, the WBA title holder who has elevated avoiding a fight with Klitschko to an art form. With a British fighter comes British press and a chance to put pressure on Haye in his hometown papers.
"Haye has put himself in a corner," Klitschko said. "He is beating nobodies. He talks a lot but it's nothing but hot air with nothing behind it."
Klitschko says he will have more to say about Haye once he is done with Chisora. Because regardless of his disdain for his opponent, Klitschko says he is taking him very seriously. He says he is in the best shape of his life and feels strong coming back so quickly after his win over Peter in September.
"People underestimate [Chisora]," Klitschko said. "He's good. I think he's better than David Haye. And he is determined. He has good skills, very busy, super hyper and active from the first to the last round. He's very aggressive, self-confident. No fear, nothing."
Klitschko will have a couple of newcomers by his side on his way to the ring. One of the sport's biggest philanthropists, Klitschko has auctioned off the rights to carry his belts, which netted a cool $560,000 that will be split between Power Child, a charity that helps prevent sexual violence against children, and The Klitschko Brothers Foundation.
They are worthy causes. So is beating a worthy opponent like Chisora, which, for the most decorated heavyweight in the sport, is a rare prospect indeed.