Can Wladimir Klitschko become a three-time heavyweight champion?

There will be a lot on the line on the night of July 9th; for Tyson Fury and for Wladimir Klitschko. Reigning and defending heavyweight champion Fury will be out to prove his title-winning effort against Klitschko was not a fluke, while Klitschko will be shooting for revenge. And history. If 40-year-old Klitschko can regain the crown against Fury, he will become just the second three-time heavyweight ruler in boxing history (along with Muhammad Ali; Evander Holyfield being the only four-time champ at heavyweight) and Wladimir will become the third oldest heavyweight champ ever (after George Foreman and Vitali Klitschko).

So does Klitschko go into the July 9 rematch with added motivation, perhaps more motivation than Fury possesses? Fury, in speaking with The Mail, said things such as, “I’ve had my time in the sun, I’ve achieved what I wanted to,” And, “Now it’s about making money and securing the kids’ futures.” It is talk like this that has led some people to feel Fury is not as motivated and as desperate to win the upcoming second fight as he was the first one. But then, with Fury, we never know what he’s really thinking, do we!

Another interesting thing Fury came out with is his suggestion that Klitschko might have lost to him last November, “on purpose.” Fury – again either being serious or merely winding up his interviewer – said the following:

“You don’t know how much of an effect it [a loss] has on a fighter’s mind, especially when he was unbeatable – he might have lost on purpose. He knows I was contracted in and couldn’t fight anyone else. If I retire and don’t fight him he gets the belts back anyway. If he beats me, then he becomes a three-time heavyweight champion.”

Back when a young upstart by the name of Leon Spinks upset the great Muhammad Ali to take the title, a number of people said a similar thing, in that “The Greatest” lost to Spinks on purpose so he could go into the history book as a three-time king by defeating Spinks in the rematch he knew he would get. So maybe it’s understandable, a little bit anyway, that Fury has thought what he thought and said what he said. Certainly, if Klitschko can avenge his loss in July he will go down as a great – he will go down in history as such anyway. And for Wladimir, maybe it’s all about his legacy as much as it is about pride.

The loss hurt him, as he acknowledged himself, and now he is reportedly training intensely hard to make sure he can put things right (something his big bro Vitali says will be the case). But is Fury in the same frame of mind as he was when going into the first fight? Or will Fury, like the aforementioned Spinks, lose his crown in his first defence?