Klitschko-Haye: Don’t Hold Your Breath Waiting For This Fight To Happen
By Nate Anderson: Much has been made of IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s comments made recently to the BBC Radio 5 Live, saying this about WBA/WBC/WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye (21-1, 20 KOs): “He’s an exciting fighter so why not?…If he wants to bring excitement then I wish him best of luck. He better get himself in the gym and get ready to fight.” However, for those who failed to listen to the audio of the interview, Klitschko was for all practical purposes making fun of Haye, 27, who has been critical of Klitschko since he recently defeated WBO heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov in February.
Haye has made it public that he’d like to fight Klitschko, and thinks he’d knockout him out in short order. Up until yesterday, Klitschko hadn’t said a word about Hayes’ comments, staying low key as is his custom, but when the question was put to him by the interviewer, Wladimir seemed to go with it, giving a little hope for a future fight with Hayes where there previously was none. That said, I don’t see Wladimir fighting Haye anytime soon, mainly because Klitschko has two immediate mandatories for his IBF & WBO titles – against Tony Thompson and Alexander Povetkin – which leaves no room for a fight against a cruiserweight with a big mouth.
If Wladimir is still the champion after fulfilling those two mandatories, he’ll likely be fighting WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter in another unification bout. Unifying the heavyweight titles are first and foremost what’s on Klitschko’s mind, aside from his mandatories that he has to fulfill. The only way I can see Wladimir not fighting Peter, is if Vitali Klitschko is successful in his attempt to regain his WBC heavyweight title in a match against Peter sometime later this year. However, the chances of Vitali regaining the title would seem remote at best, for he’s experienced multiple injuries while training in 2004, leading to his retirement from boxing.
Then, most recently, Vitali was injured again while training for a tune-up bout with Jameel McCline. Even if he makes it to the bout, beating a fighter of Peter’s caliber would seem very tough. As such, this leaves Peter as the next goal for Wladimir after he deals with his mandatories. Again, there’s no room for a bout with Haye at this point, and we’re probably taking about a year and a half by the time Wladimir takes on Peter.
If everything goes right with those fights, then possibly Haye could come into the picture, but that’s still not certain. By then, Wladimir would probably be interested in fighting a unification bout with the WBA heavyweight champion, currently held by Ruslan Chagaev. By then, perhaps, Chagaev won’t be the champion any longer, for he’ll have fought a rematch with 7-foot 320 lb heavyweight Nikolay Valuev, whom he squeaked by with a controversial 12-round majority decision victory in April 2007.
As for Haye, he’ll have to be content to work his way up the heavyweight ladder, like all heavyweights have to do. He’s already shown to have a questionable chin while fighting as a cruiserweight and he may be in for a rude awakening once he starts getting hit on the chin by much bigger and powerful fighters than he’s been accustomed to. If Haye can keep busy for the next two years, fighting quality heavyweight contenders like Calvin Brock, Hasim Rahman, Chris Arreola, Alexander Dimitrenko, and Vladimir Virchis, then, yes, I see him challenging for the IBF title. However, we’re looking at roughly two years, possibly a little more than that before Haye can get a title shot, and even then, there’s no guarantee that Haye can beat fighters like that.
Dimitrenko would be big problems for the smallish Haye, who would have troubles dealing with the 6’7″ 250 lb Dimitrenko’s reach and height. It’s one thing to see Haye beating short 200 lb cruiserweights and quite another thing for him to attempt to beat fighters four inches taller and 30 lbs heavier like Dimitrenko.
Haye has mentioned that he plans on putting on weight and coming in around 230 lbs for his heavyweight bouts, but I see that as mainly slowing him down rather than helping him any. He’s already over-muscled as he is now, and any extra muscle he puts on will give him diminishing returns. I’m sure in his mind he thinks it will help him, but it won’t, I hate to say. He’s just going to screw up his body and become real slow when he adds that extra 20-30 lbs of muscle.
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