The 33-year-old, a former two-time International Boxing Federation world champion, has shown that he has the skills inside the ring to take on all-comers but in the past it’s been his lack of mental fortitude that has cast aspersions on his career.
The fighter dubbed “Stone” has been guilty of switching camps with regularity but he admits that making the move to trainer Sean Smith ahead of his showdown with Jasper Seroka this Friday for the IBF intercontinental super-featherweight title has been the right one.
“I’ve settled in well. When I got here there was something else and I’m impressed. For the first time I’m more dedicated. At other gyms I was doing my own thing. I was a loose cannon,” Klassen said.
This is not the first time that the two fighters will be meeting when they step into the ring on the “Electric Storm” bill at the University of Pretoria. The pair met in a six-rounder back in 2003 with Klassen taking a points decision.
The two are also familiar given that they both used to hone their skills in the gym of Manny Fernandes at one stage.
“I’m fighting a guy who’s been in a camp where I was taught. Manny knows me and he knows what I can offer. I know Jasper has trained for this fight because he knows who he’s fighting,” Klassen said of his opponent.
“Jasper is one-dimensional. He won’t change overnight. I don’t even think he’s got the heart that I do. Six rounds he’ll get. It’s the seventh one he won’t see,” the 27-6-2 Klassen said, giving a bold prediction as to the outcome.
“I’ve learnt a lot of new tricks in the gym. With what I’ve got I just think I’m going to be explosive on the night.”
It’s a line of thinking that his new coach, Smith, agrees with and admitted that Klassen has shown enough signs over the course of their eight-week training camp to instil a belief that he is still a force to be reckoned with.
“I’ve seen glimpses of that two-time world champion. Malcolm is just able to elevate himself to another level. His heart is still there.
He’s still working with enthusiasm and I believe that he does have one or two big fights left in him,” Smith said.