Wladimir Klitschko: “It is a very special event; it is a very special night, and a very special opponent. I won't underestimate Sultan, and I won’t overestimate Sultan. Don't miss it.”
Much more Wlad: "To be the heavyweight champion means a lot. The title is very special and is different than other titles in sport. The heavyweight champion can use that title to inspire people outside of the ring all over the world."
"I do have a special feeling about Madison Square Garden. I have fought here twice before and know what to expect. When you are at MSG, you have to deliver your best performance."
"I am determined to win this fight. I am not looking beyond that."
"That is my determination and goal – to clean up the heavyweight division with each fighter I face."
"I have to prove that I am the heavyweight champ and do it as impressively as possible."
"I am entering into my best form. I feel I am entering my best time in the sport and I feel great about that."
"This fight isn't about money, it is about pride. This fight has to happen."
Emanuel Steward, Klistchko trainer: “I am very excited about this fight. I wish I could go over to the hotel now and come back TONIGHT for the fight, that is how excited I am.”
More Manny: “I am very fortunate to work with Wladimir. He is one of the best both inside and outside the ring of any era.”
Sultan Ibragimov: “We had a great camp in Florida, the best camp ever. It's a unification, it's going to be great. I am honored to fight at the Garden.”
Jeff Mayweather, Ibragimov trainer: “this is the opportunity I have waited my whole life for. It has brought me out of the shadows of being the other Mayweathers. I have the heavyweight champion, he's the right guy with the right temperament.”
New York City’s Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin: “I have a lot of confidence because of my hard work. I want to be the best otherwise you shouldn't even be in the ring. This is my fifth time in MSG, I am going to keep my record unblemished.”
Kery Davis, HBO Senior Vice President: “Unifications are rare, heavyweight unifications are even rarer. This one is the first one of the century and the first in nine years.”
Tom Loeffler, K2 Promotions, Klitschko promoter: “What can I say, this is the second time at the “Mecca of Boxing,” the first being Wladimir against Calvin Brock. I was talking to (co-promoter) Leon Margules (Seminole Warriors Boxing), and I asked, 'is this the biggest fight you've ever been involved in? He said 'of course, and it's also the biggest fight you've ever been involved in, too.’”
More Loeffler: “Wlad went through a lot of hoops to make this fight happen. We expect it to be the first in a series of fights to unify the titles.”
FIGHTING FOR THE KIDS
Wladimir is dedicating this fight to the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, a global charity that funds and promotes the use of sport as a tool for social change.
Wladimir will be making at least a $250,000 donation to the Laureus Sport For Good Foundation - a major part of the gift will support a boxing program in the Bronx that will receive a visit from members of the Laureus World Sports Academy and its Friends and Ambassadors later this spring.
Wladimir offered fans a chance to enter the ring with him at Madison Square Garden by making their own donations to The Laureus Sport For Good Foundation and then having their names embroidered on the scarlet colored robe he will wear into the ring on the 23rd. That robe will also be auctioned off in the spring to benefit The Laureus Sport For Good Foundation, USA. 2,000 Over 2,000 people will be in Wladimir’s and Laureus’ corner Saturday night.
About Laureus: The Laureus World Sports Academy is a collection of 43 iconic retired athletes who volunteer their time to raise funds and draw attention to programs around the world that address social issues through the common language of sports. There are currently 50 programs globally which receive grants from Laureus in countries ranging from Sierra Leone, China and Cambodia to England, Brazil and the United States. The Academy is supported in its efforts by the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors – a group of active and retired athletes using their influence to highlight the plight of underprivileged children. WK and his brother VK volunteered their services as Laureus Friends and Ambassadors two years ago.