HBO.com caught up with Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward on the eve of his charge Wladimir Klitschko's showdown with David Haye for the unified heavyweight championship.
Wladimir came in at 242 at the weigh-in, but that was after eating, so he's probably closer to 238. Wladimir stays in excellent shape, so from the beginning of camp that's never a concern. The first time we weigh him is at the weigh-in. I have to check my weight more than him. Right now, I'm about 172.
I'll be 67 next week [July 7], and I know now that if I ever take a break from working mitts, I'll never be able to do it again. At the end of the day, I get a lot of throbbing in my shoulder and hands. That's why I wrap hands. I've never seen another trainer do it, but my hands feel better when I do it. In 1992, I began wrapping my hands for mitt work. But it wasn't until this camp that Wladimir suggested I start taping my hands, too.
I'm not a proponent of using pitty-pat techniques on mitts. With Wladimir, like all my fighters, I make him punch with full follow-through, so I need that ligament support of the tape on my hands.
Four days a week, from 8-10 am each morning, we do about 10 rounds of mitts. Then we'd sit on the ring apron and watch David Haye's fights that we kept going on three separate big screens.
The other tape Wladimir watched was Tommy Hearns fighting Duran. Tommy is Wladimir's favorite fighter and in that fight, he went out and took control right away. Wladimir watched it and said to me, "That's the attitude I need to have." I also suggested he watch Foreman-Norton. Foreman is one of the smartest fighters ever, and he took the space away from Norton all night.
We do 10-12 rounds of sparring four days a week, too. That's in the afternoon. The other two days, Wladimir does 45 minutes of continuous swimming in an Olympic length pool. I don't know how he does that. I can't even watch him because I get sick.
I don't have Wladimir doing any roadwork the final 30 days because for all his training, I want him using the exact shoes on the exact surface using the exact muscles that he'll be using in the fight.
People underestimate Wladimir, but he is incredibly fast. Real quick. At his final public workout, we actually had him wear these heavy black shoes to weigh him down. Fight night, he'll wear these lighter Nike Kronk white and gold shoes. Eddie Chambers, when they woke him up after he got knocked out, said of Wladimir, "he's too fast for me."
Haye really doesn't box. He also never throws combinations because he's always off balance. He has to have his punches land or be blocked in order to keep his balance. He cannot throw three punches. So if you feel two, you can attack, because you know there isn't a third coming.
These opponents of Haye all fight his fight by plodding in like robots. Haye then runs in and explodes and then runs away, again, to go on a vacation. We will take away his vacation time with fast footwork. Instead of blocking his punches, we're going to step away to set him off balance. The only two fighters who truly use footwork today are Manny Pacquiao and Wladimir Klitschko.
Wladimir's really been working on the footwork and cutting off the ring since I got to working with him. He was more of the type of fighter you hear other people describing him as today - lumbering and throwing one punch at a time - but that's not who he is anymore.
Sometimes Wladimir gets too comfortable. Just like Lennox used to. Then I have to start hollering. He enjoys what he's doing because he's winning, but I have to scream at him. He gets all mad at me and then goes and knocks his guy out. He never waits a round. He always goes out the round after I holler at him and knocks these guys out in that same round. Sometimes his critics say, "Why does that little trainer of his start yelling at him before the fight, so that Klitschko will knock these guys out three rounds sooner?"
The problem is Wladimir is a chess player. Also like Lennox. I don't like fighters who play chess. Those guys think too much. They don't even realize it themselves. They get too analytical. Sometimes you have to take the chess board and knock it on the floor.
Posted 12:00 AM | Jul 2, 2011
HBO WCB - July 2, 2011