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Haye vs. Klitschko: A Possible Fight In 2009?

David Haye Wladimir KlitschkoBy Michael Lieberman: According to Sky Sports, IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (50-3, 44 KOs) is in talks with cruiserweight champion David Haye (21-1, 20 KOs) for a fight that would likely take place later in the year. With a mandatory defense of his WBO title to take place in July against challenger Tony Thompson, Klitschko then has immediately defend his IBF heavyweight title against number one contender Alexander Povetkin – a fight which will likely take place in November or December of 2008. That leaves early 2009 as being the most likely opening for a fight between Klitschko and Haye. That is, unless Wladimir chooses to throw away his IBF belt, abandoning it for the immediate fight with Haye.

That would perhaps be the smartest option for Klitschko, because he stands to gain little by having to defend both titles repeatedly against dull fighters that the public has little interest in seeing Klitschko fight. It’s doubtful that Klitschko will give up the IBF belt, as he’s made it known that he wants to attempt to unify the titles in the near future. It seems like a near hopeless venture, for the WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev is likely to never fight Klitschko, and as for the WBC heavyweight title, it’s held by Samuel Peter, who has a potential future match against Wladimir’s older brother Vitali. If by chance Vitali should win, that would remove the possibility of a title unification bout between Peter and Wladimir.

Haye, 27, has made no bones about wanting a fight with Wladmir, whom he has little respect of his boxing ability after watching Wladimir fight cautiously against the weak-punching Sultan Ibragimov in their recent unification bout in February. Wladimir ended up winning the fight by a substantial margin over 12-rounds but it was far from an impressive performance by Klitschko.

Some of the blame for Wladimir’s poor performance has to go to Ibragimov as well, who fought most of the fight in an exaggerated crouch, leaning back and making it nearly impossible for the taller Klitschko to hit him with anything other than jabs. Rather than risking leaving himself open for counter shots when throwing long distance right hands, Wladimir opted to take what he was given, focusing on jabbing Ibragimov silly. One can’t really blame Wladimir too much for fighting cautiously given his weak chin and history of knockout losses subpar opponents.

Haye, arguably the best cruiserweight in the division, has decided to move up to the heavyweight division, hoping to find greener pastures. The cruiserweight division is too lacking in stars and Haye has appeared to have gone as far as he can with the limited talent in the division. The heavyweight division isn’t much better in that respect, though, there is a few more near-stars like the Klitschko brothers, Samuel Peter, John Ruiz and Nikolay Valuev.

Beyond that small bunch, there are few other fighters that the public cares to watch. Even Wladmir Klitschko, despite his immense talent, has failed to get much of a following in the boxing world. Some of that is his own fault, as he’s spend too much time in Europe and not enough time giving interviews and staying visible in the U.S, the largest market for boxing in the world.


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