Heavyweight division interesting again with Klitschko-Haye
The long-boring heavyweight division dominated by the Klitschko brothers emerges from its lull Saturday when Wladimir Klitschko fights England's charismatic world champion David Haye in a unification bout from Germany on HBO.
The 30-year-old Haye (25-1, 23 KOs) has been aggravatingly elusive in ongoing negotiations to fight Wladimir (55-3, 49 KOs) and his fellow world champion brother Vitali, but he's declaring full health and has colorfully promised to defeat Wladimir at a Hamburg arena.
The Brit and Ukrainian have long disliked each other, with Wladimir railing against Haye's character even last year when they hadn't even officially agreed to fight. When HBO sat the pair down recently, Haye said he believed Wladimir was ready to strike him after Haye took some verbal shots at Vitali.
This is exactly what the heavyweight division needs after nearly a decade of slumber since Mike Tyson was knocked out by Lennox Lewis in 2002 and the stoic Klitschkos took control of the division. Their dominance was so uneventful that HBO stopped airing their fights.
"They've Klitschko'd their way through the division, but it's not all their fault," Haye promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions said. "It takes two to tango, and now with David Haye, you have someone who is capable of knocking them out, and he's also one of the most charismatic fighters in the sport.
"The heavyweight division has been waiting for this moment, and the moment of truth has arrived for the Klitschkos while the question for David is, 'Can he survive this level of the heavyweight division?'
"This is an important night for the sport."
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: The heavyweight boxing pro Wladimir Klitschko. Credit: Malte Christians / EPA