With Haye Out Of The Picture, Who Should Vitali Klitschko Fight Next?

By James Slater: David Haye has made it official: he HAS retired after all. With this news we need to ask ourselves who WBC heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko will now face in his planned February-March defence.

Klitschko’s mamager Bernd Boente, speaking on Sky Sports News earlier this week (at a time when some though Haye’s e-mail to the BBB of C telling them he did not want his licence renewed was merely a ploy to try and force Klitschko into accepting a deal with him), said 40-year-old Vitali will “definitely fight in February or March either against Haye or someone else.” With Haye’s retirement announcement we now know it will indeed be “someone else.”

But who? Who should “Dr. Iron Fist” face next?

Say what you want about the now out-of-the-question Haye fight, but millions would have tuned in to watch, hoping to see Vitali go one better than his younger brother and KO the trash-talking Londoner. But who will the fans get excited about facing Vitali instead?

Let’s take a look at five men who would, at the very least, provide the elder of the two brothers with a decent challenge.

1: Chris Arreola. Haye himself, in his farewell announcement, said Vitali will likely face “Chris ‘Pass the Corona’ Arreola” next. And, Haye’s disrespect aside, the Mexican/American would make as good a challenger as anyone. Sure, a fight between he and Wladimir would be more interesting, seeing how “The Nightmare” has already lost to Vitali; but the division is so thin, the idea of Arreola getting a second crack at Vitali isn’t that crazy an idea (especially if, in the meantime, Arreola has gained revenge over Tomasz Adamek in a return fight that has been talked about by HBO).

2: Alexander Dimitrenko. The reigning European champion recently lamented the fact that the Klitschkos “never mention my name.” Dimitrenko is wrong if he is suggesting the brothers are ducking him, but he does not get spoken about by them either. Maybe fans feel this is because the man beaten by Eddie Chambers is not deserving of facing either sibling, but with his size, his strength, his experience and his power, fellow Ukrainian Dimitrenko might just be able to test one of the world champions.

3: Cedric Boswell. Let one of the older guys of the division have a go at a Klitschko. Boswell may be 42 and he may not be a big puncher, but he is a tough nut who has a ton of experience. “The Boz” also has a fine record (just one pro loss) and he has asked again and again for his chance. His activity level good this year (three fights, three wins), Boswell, I feel, would give it his all against either brother. At the very least, Boswell is more deserving than is next Wladimir challenger Jean Marc Mormeck.

4: Robert Helenius. Helnuis may not be ready (by his own admission), therefore, like Alexander Povetkin did in the case of his aborted fight with Wladimir, he may not want to fight a Klitschko just yet. But “The Nordic Nightmare” has to make his move soon, and maybe after he’s had one more fight this year he will look Vitali’s way in time for a March fight. Seen by many as the best young contender out there, Helenius is both big and powerful and he is gaining experience all the time.

5: Michael Grant. Why not? Grant is as tall as the two kings, he has a longer reach than the pair and he has power and experience also. Grant has been around forever himself, but he says he believes it is his destiny to finally become world heavyweight champion one day. Time is running out for the man known as “Big,” but if he can do a job on Frans Boths next month, then maybe Vitali or Wladimir will sneak him in as a “keep busy” opponent. What would happen if Grant landed a hayemaker on the chin of either brother?

Article posted on 13.10.2011

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