By Andrea Canales
Perhaps the air was charged that night with a battlefield mentality.
the aftermath of David Beckham's sending off, Galaxy hard man Dema
Kovalenko joked in the locker room, "David was trying to be me!"
is famous for his tough tackles, and infamous for a few, including ones
that resulted in broken legs for Brandon Pollard and Ronnie O'Brien
But perhaps Beckham's fighting nature was inspired by another athlete all together.
attendance at the match as a guest of the Galaxy was World Boxing
Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. The fighter, a Ukranian
like Kovalenko, has an upcoming bout versus Mexican heavyweight
"It's a world title fight and a big challenge for my next opponent - for
Chris Arrreola," Klitschko told Goal.com. "He's a Mexican, he's a tough fighter. He's undefeated,
a great fight record. It's not an easy task, but I will give my best to
keep my title and to win the fight."
his love of chess and his doctoral degree from a Ukranian university,
when Klitschko's 6 foot, eight inches of powerful muscle stood in the
hallway of the soccer stadium, all one could think of was his
intimidating physical presence.
Klitschko admitted that he did, in fact, play soccer in his youth.
Klitschko specified, then cracked a smile as others laughed, imagining
what a nightmare he would likely have been for opposing forwards.
Now Klitschko follows the sport as a fan, though he wouldn't say if he has a particular favorite player.
"I have so many friends who play soccer - to say who is my favorite or
not - it's hard," Klitschko explained. "At different times, it's different players."
He was more forthcoming about his favorite teams, admitting a soft spot for a particular one from his homeland.
"Dynamo Kiev I
support very much and I know a lot of the players," said Klitschko.
However, Klitschko was very international in his taste for the sport.
"In Germany, (I support) St.
Pauli and Bayern Munich - Barcelona in Spain," Klitschko stated. "Here, I support the Galaxy because I have so
many friends here. I like soccer very much."
Kovalenko was clearly an admirer in turn of the boxer, though at
over a foot shorter than the boxer, he looked small and insignificant beside Klitschko.
On the other hand, not even Ian Feuer, the Galaxy goalkeeping coach
noted for being the tallest player to ever play for the US Men's
National Team. could look down on Klitschko in matters of height, let
alone girth and strength.
The one Galaxy player who could surpass Klitschko, in terms of high profile,
was the one who logged less than 20 minutes against the Seattle
"Beckham is a world-class
athlete," said Klitschko. "That's why people
The Galaxy, however, will be missing both Beckham and Eddie Lewis, in
their upcoming Wednesday match versus Chicago because of their red
cards. Next time, the midfielders might be better off leaving the
battles to the tough guys.
Andrea Canales is Chief Editor of Goal.com North America
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