Wladimir Klitschko promises 'control'
FRANKFURT, Germany -- Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is predicting a quick knockout in his rematch with Nigerian fighter Samuel Peter on Saturday.
Klitschko says he is a much better fighter than he was five years ago, when he was sent to the canvas three times before beating Peter in an unanimous decision.
Peter is challenging the Ukrainian holder of the IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts and is equally confident of a quick victory.
"It was one of the most difficult and important fights I had at the time," Klitschko said of the bout in Atlantic City five years ago. "It was a milestone in my career."
"But what doesn't kill me, only makes me harder," he said. "I've become much more harder over the years and much more consistent in implementing my game plan of how to control a rival."
The Klitschko brothers remain a big draw in their adopted homeland of Germany despite an often unspectacular cautious style. The fight at Frankfurt's soccer stadium is expected to draw 40,000.
Klitschko takes a 54-3 record into the fight, with 48 KOs. Peter is 34-3, with 27 KOs.
Peter called Klitschko's style "girls' fighting" and said the Ukrainian brothers were destroying the heavyweight division with the way they fight.
Both brothers like to take control of a fight by using their height and reach to jab away at an opponent and not risk going for a knockout at any price.
"What they do belongs to lighter divisions, not the heavyweight," Peter said.
Peter already has lost to the older Vitali Klitschko, failing to come out for the ninth round in October 2008 and losing his WBC title.
The "Nigerian Nightmare" turned 30 on Monday and is four years younger than Wladimir. He is also a much slimmer, seemingly fitter version of the fighter who could not win despite flooring Klitschko three times. Peter has won his past four fights by knockout.
"I have a lot to prove. I have a chance to redeem myself from the 2005 fight. I am getting another chance to prove that I am the best heavyweight champion in all," Peter said.
"There will not be a decision this time around. This time, he will not get up from my left hook. This time around, anyone I touch will not be standing up. So I don't think Wladimir will be able to stand up to me after four rounds."
Klitschko advised his fans not to go to the refrigerator to pick up a beer because they may miss the knockout punch "Dr. Steelhammer" hopes to deliver.
Klitschko's trainer, Emanuel Steward, said Wladimir has the power to knock out anyone with either hand.
"Based on Wladimir's state of mind and the way that he's trained for this fight, he will punch harder sooner. It will be the first time that Peter gets completely knocked out," Steward said.
At 6 foot-6½ inches, Klitschko has a big height advantage over the 6-2 Peter.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press