Boxing

Without Klitschko, Haye stands to lose

By David P. Lopez: For the second time in just over a year a proposed mega-fight between heavyweights Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye has come apart at the seams after seemingly being set in place. The first time around it was Haye who chose to go another route, electing to face the giant Nicolay Valuev instead of the younger of the two Klitschko’s. Disappointing as that may have been, it was a sensible choice from a business standpoint to choose the less-athletic Valuev for a title challenge given that it was only Haye’s second fight after declaring himself a heavyweight for good.

This time the fight has gone by the wayside due to Klitschko’s decision to reschedule his title defense against the little-known Derick Chisora, a fight originally scheduled for last month but postponed due to an injury suffered in training by Klitschko.

Though it appears that part of the reason for the fight’s demise this time around is a television scheduling conflict, the bottom line is this; Klitschko will be facing a 14-fight novice whose biggest win thus far is over the shopworn-never-was Danny Williams, while Haye will reportedly face Ruslan Chagaev. So instead of the biggest heavyweight fight since Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis, fans are stuck with two match-ups that are unlikely to attract much attention outside of the fighters home countries.

At first glance it appears that the big loser here is the boxing public, but after a second glance it seems that someone else may stand much to lose as well - Haye. Even if the fights undoing was no fault of his own, and it would seem it was not, the former cruiserweight champion is in dire need of a defining heavyweight victory. Perhaps twenty years ago moving up to heavyweight and winning a belt would have been defining enough, but given the current state of the division Haye’s accomplishment is only slightly noteworthy. Throw in the fact that Valuev had struggled mightily in his last fight prior to Haye, a controversial decision over a 46-year-old Evander Holyfield, and a pessimist might even say that Haye’s heavyweight title victory was more opportunistic than anything else.

Now comes word that Klitschko has signed to fight Tomasz Adamek after Chisora. Though a match with Adamek may not be as big as one with Haye, it is still the next biggest fight that can be made in the division not involving big brother Vitali.

So where does this leave Haye once he’s through with Chagaev? If he is serious about being “done with the Klitschko’s” then there are few, if any, options that would satisfy both the public’s desire to see a meaningful fight and enhance his legacy at the same time. A fight with Mexican-American Chris Arreola would excite some fans, but given that Arreola has offered little proof that he will ever become an elite fighter, Haye would be a clear favorite. If Adamek is off the market then there is little else Haye can do to that would create a buzz.

Article posted on 10.01.2011



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