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Has David Haye awakened the sleeping giant?

David Haye Wladimir KlitschkoBy John F. McKenna (McJack): Photo: Stefan Hoyer – There has never been any doubt that IBF, IBO, WBO and Ring Magazine Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KO’s) has the ability to be a great champion. From his early days as a fighter great things were predicted for him. Then came the KO losses to Corrie Sanders, Ross Puritty and Lamon Brewster and “Dr. Steelhammer’s” potential as a fighter went out the window. Even his older brother Vitali Klitschko suggested to him that it may be time for him to hang up the gloves and try something else.

At that point Wladimir had an epiphany and reached into the deepest, darkest reaches of his soul and found himself as a fighter. He did not want to give up on himself or his extraordinary ability as a fighter. Along the way he brought legendary trainer Emanuel Steward on board.

Since that time Wladimir has made a 180 degree turn around in his career. Under Steward’s tutelage “Dr. Steelhammer” has won the IBF. IBO, WBO and Ring Magazine belts and has won his last 13 fights in a row, 10 of those victories coming by the KO route. In addition Wladimir has become a dominant heavyweight champion behind his powerful left jab. He also has the ability to take out any opponent with either hand.

The one criticism of Klitschko is that he is robotic and does not fight aggressively enough. For that reason his Saturday night fight with WBA Heavyweight Champion David Haye (25-1, 23 KO’s) will be the first Wladimir Klitschko fight that HBO has chosen to air in several years.

Some of the criticism of Wladimir has come from his own trainer, Emanuel Steward.

Steward has said that Wladimir Klitschko is the most talented heavyweight that he has ever trained. He has also said that Vlad does not always use his God given talent and has to be pushed. Indeed Steward’s frustration with his fighter has been heard between rounds, when he has had to urge Wlad to step it up a bit.

The question that many boxing fans undoubtedly are now asking is, has David Haye awakened the sleeping giant that is Wladimir Klitschko? Will Saturday night be Wladimir’s defining moment as a fighter?

Steward set up training camp in a picturesque Austrian village to take advantage of the pure air and the high altitude. Training has been taken very seriously. Anyone who is late for a workout is fined. Sparring partners are all in agreement that Wladimir is primed for the fight with Haye. Steward likes the anger that Haye has brought out in Wladimir and believes that will translate into him being more aggressive. Preparations have been meticulous for this fight. Team Klitschko realizes the enormity it will have on his legacy as a fighter and as a champion.

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