Klitschko v Haye – the problem or just a symptom

By Rob Moore: The continuing reports of the ongoing David Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko negotiations has been all but impossible for boxing fans to ignore. It is the fight that we all wanted. It is the fight that divided and engaged boxing fans, raised emotions and expectations to some heady levels. Unfortunately the protracted failure to make the fight happen has turned some fans strong views into downright hostility, directed at one or other of the camps.

Interestingly, the latest breakdown in negotiations, rather than just polarizing fans' opinions even further, appears to be creating a growing body of fans who claim to have reached the point that they just don't care about the fight any more. There is a frustration that the love of the sport, respect for the heritage of the heavyweight title that the genuine boxing fans have, appears not to be shared by the belt holders who should be the standard bearers. We all know that at this point in their careers, the belt holders are businessmen first and fighters second.

It would be easy to blame Vladamir Klitschko and/or David Haye for killing the heavyweight division at this point. Number of fans are already doing so. While I am as frustrated as the next guy, I believe this would be taking an extreme and narrow view of a problem that is symptomatic of the bigger picture in the heavyweight division. I would ask the question - has the massive demand for the Haye V Klitschko fight not in part been fuelled by the general lack of competitive heavyweight match-ups? If we take a look at the current top fifteen or so heavyweights, it is clear that the top guys, for one reason or another, are not fighting each other. Of course there are a few exceptions e.g. Adamek V Arreloa, Povetkin v Chambers, but these are exceptions rather than the rule

The dominance of the Klitschko bothers and the lack of a unified champion has certainly exacerbated the problem, with guys having to do little more than just hang around and stay healthy to get a shot at the title. It was disappointing for example to read that Adamek V Peter had fallen through, for financial reasons, and that Hasim Rahman may be Adamek's next opponent. No disrespect to “The Rock” but this isn't a good fight for an ambitious fighter like Adamek, or the fans.

Boxing is becoming an increasingly complicated and frustrating business with the heavyweight division in particular testing the fans loyalty. Its certainly not dead, but neither is it in fine health. Perhaps it is now an unrealistic dream, but if the division is to recover, it needs an undisputed champion and genuine competition among the top guys to earn a shot at the title. I have to admit that my own interest in a Haye V Klitschko fight is wearing a little thin, but if it moves us a step nearer an undisputed champion, I guess it will be worth the wait. A couple of competitive non-title bouts among the top fifteen or so ranked fighters would sure make the time pass quicker an re-ignite my interest though.

Article posted on 07.01.2011

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