WBA Heavyweight Mandatory Challenger Ruslan Chagaev Sees Tomorrow’s Haye-Harrison Clash As A “50-50 Fight” - Awaits the Winner

By James Slater: Former WBA heavyweight titlist Ruslan Chagaev, the man who is currently the WBA mandatory challenger, will be watching tomorrow night’s clash between current WBA boss and challenger Audley Harrison. In line to face the winner, the Uzbekistan 32-year-old with the 26-1-1(17) record, told that he has no preference who wins, and that he sees the fight as a 50-50 affair.

Beaten only once, by the planet’s premiere big man Wladimir Klitschko, back in June of last year, the talented southpaw who has been plagued by illness and layoffs, feels neither Haye nor Harrison can beat him.

“It makes no difference to me,” Chagaev said to Fightnews when asked who will win out of Haye and Harrison. “I know that I can defeat both of them and that’s what I’ll do.”

First though, the man known as “White Tyson” takes a potentially dangerous fight on November 19th, in Germany where he is based. In what will be just his second fight back since retiring on his stool against “Dr. Steel Hammer,” Chagaev will face the always-dangerous Travis Walker over a scheduled eight-rounds.

This fight follows on from the former champ’s good win over Kali Meehan, who he out-pointed by a wide margin back in May. That win earned Chagaev a shot at winning back his old WBA crown, and he will not want to blow his chances by losing to “Freight Train.”

Walker, a year younger than Chagaev and sporting a decent 34-5-1(28) pro record, badly needs a win. Last time out, in a thriller that really is well worth searching out on YouTube, the man from Houston, Texas lost an up-and-down war against Samoan slugger Alex Leapi (losing via a somewhat controversial/prematurely-called TKO in the 4th-round of a real dandy). And before that, in a fight he was also winning until the ending, Walker was TKO’d in the 6th by Johnathon Banks.

Now getting this big opportunity against the best fighter he will have faced to date, “Freight Train” can be counted on to give his all. But can he possibly win against the ultra-experienced (at amateur and pro level) Chagaev?

Walker, courtesy of his big punches, will always have a chance, whoever he fights. But Chagaev has a proven chin, he is a smart and accomplished boxer and, Klitschko aside, he still believes he is the best heavyweight in the world - it really would be a big shock if Walker derailed his plans for a crack at the winner of Haye and Harrison.

Walker’s chin is not what it could be, even if his bravery and heart never let him down, and at some point Chagaev is likely to hit and hurt him. But, with the fight being set for just eight-rounds and with Chagaev being no huge puncher, despite his nickname, there is a chance Walker could make it to the final bell. The betting favourite would, after all, be wise not to take chances against Walker, and he will probably box a smart fight and look for a points win. I think he’ll get one.

But will Ruslan Chagaev prove to be an exciting, box-office-winning challenger for whichever guy it is who holds the WBA championship this time the day after tomorrow? Haye-Chagaev, or Harrison-Chagaev just might prove to be a tough sell to the fans

Article posted on 13.11.2010

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