Associated Press - March 5, 2004
BERLIN(AP) Wladimir Klitschko's trainer is worried about his fighter's toughness - and his future.
Fritz Smudek said he told Klitschko that he should retire if he is knocked out April 10 by Lamon Brewster.
"If he loses cleanly, the game is up," Smudek said. "If he loses again through knockout, he's better off quitting."
Klitschko, the younger brother of fellow heavyweight Vitali Klitschko, had been considered the better of the two siblings before he was stunned by
Corrie Sanders last year in a second round knockout.
Now, the 1996 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist is trying to come back against Brewster in the fight for the fringe WBO title he once held in
But Smudek questioned if Wladimir, whom he called the more skillful of the two, boasts the willpower of older brother Vitali.
"That's one tough guy," Smudek said. "With Wladimir, I believe a certain hardness is still missing."
Vitali, once accused of softness himself, buried that accusation with a brutal six-round WBC title fight for the heavyweight title last June against
Lennox Lewis, who has since retired.
The Ukrainian led on all three scorecards as the two big fighters traded one powerful shot after another before the bout was ended because of deep
cuts above his eye.
Vitali Klitschko will now fight Sanders for Lewis' vacant crown on April 24.
Smudek said Wladimir has been training hard for the Brewster fight, maybe too hard.
"He wants a lot. I've got to brake him. The guy who wants to much too early can also burn out quicker," Smudek said.
Brewster is 29-2 with 26 knockouts, but his last fight was a year ago and was against a fighter with a 9-17 record.
The German, who has trained the two brothers since they turned pro after the 1996 Olympics, also said he's skeptical about working with Emanuel
Steward, who has been brought in to soften styles often derided as too stiff and old school European.
"If I see it doesn't work out, then I'll quit," Smudek said.