Klitschko-Haye: A Real Heavyweight Championship Fight
By Cliff Rold
There is no guarantee it will be a good fight. Given that the two men competing have both been stopped before, and rocked plenty, only a fool would guarantee a long fight.
But, damn it all, for the first time since Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko decided to say the hell with it and jump on each other at short notice, we’ve got a real “World Heavyweight Championship” fight.
Oh, sure, there have been plenty of ‘title fights’ since that last big one in the summer of 2003. A few were entertaining. One, Sergei Liakhovich’s 2006 WBO belt win over Lamon Brewster, earned being remembered as a great fight. None of them are what now looks certain for July 2nd in Hamburg, Germany.
Wladimir KlitschkoGet it?
It’s center spaced for magnitude.
Seriously though, this is the sort of fight the marquee has light bulbs for.
It’s a grudge match featuring a lineal World Champion in Klitschko (55-3, 49 KO) and a former lineal Cruiserweight king with a WBA belt of his own among the big boys in Haye (25-1, 23 KO).
Klitschko has won 13 straight, 10 early, since his last stoppage loss (and his losses all share the trait) while winning IBF and WBO honors.
Haye has gone the route twice in fifteen consecutive wins, across two divisions, since being stopped in his lone 2004 loss.
Building since the summer of 2009 when Haye pulled out first from a fight with Wladimir and then, later, walked out on negotiations with Vitali, this is the sort of main event Heavyweight boxing has been missing.
The real thing.
Longtime fight followers know what that means. This isn’t just a fight and, in fact, it remains to be seen just how much fight there will be. Regardless, this will be an event, something that always feels most special at the top of the boxing food chain. Over 50,000 will be on hand in Germany with literally millions watching in Britain, Germany, the U.S., and the states of the former Soviet Union.
One could point out Klitschko has done stadium fights already. Haye has put his share of butts in seats as well. It’s true. They are Heavyweight boxing stars of the highest order even if that order, for now, exists largely outside the U.S. To the sizable corners of the fistic universe that follow them, they are established big deals.
But this fight isn’t their normal big deal.
In the 1990s, Mike Tyson sold out the same MGM Grand for Peter McNeely that he did for both Evander Holyfield fights. The pay-per-view numbers were even of a relatively similar scale. That did not make the contests of the same magnitude. It takes two genuine players, on the same stage, to make an event.
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