It appears as if former lineal cruiserweight champion and one-time WBA heavyweight titlist David Haye has gotten his wish. According to ESPN.com’s UK outlet, Haye has stated that terms have been agreed upon for a fight against current WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
The deal, while not nearly as lucrative as when Haye fought Wladimir Klitschko, comes on the heels (relatively) of Haye’s impressive knockout of countryman and former title challenger Dereck Chisora in July.
Haye, who is often known as much for his boisterous behavior as for his mercurial talent, had apparently sent definitive ultimatums about the course of his career when seeking a fight against the elder Klitschko:
“Now the Brit [Haye] insists he will only fight again if a bout with Vitali is on the table, which he claims is happening after negotiations between the two camps. The Ukrainian is yet to announce his next fight after beating Manuel Charr in September, but Haye claims the pair are set to meet.”
There had been stumbling blocks standing in the way of a Haye-Vitali Klitschko clash, but the impasse has seemingly been overcome:
“The heavyweight showdown became a major possibility when the WBC lifted its ban on Haye in August, and the Brit has since attempted to anger Klitschko by criticising his fights and insisting he will not fight in the Ukrainian's homeland.”
Of course, Haye was involved in an uncouth brawl with Chisora when he crashed his rival’s post-fight press conference after Chisora had unsuccessfully challenged for Klitschko’s WBC title. Due to their antics, Haye and Chisora had to seek boxing licenses in Luxembourg for their fight, because the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC) would not sanction it.
Haye has since handed back his Luxembourg license and has been cleared by both the WBC (as stated above) and the BBBofC of any repercussions for his malfeasance.
The prospect of Haye fighting Vitali Klitschko at this juncture is probably—and perhaps sadly—the best fight to be made in heavyweight boxing. While many will be outraged that Haye has seemingly talked his way into another high-profile title shot, he does bring skill and name recognition to the table and his win against Chisora was impressive.
After a somewhat blasé win against the underwhelming Manuel Charr in his last fight, it seems plausible that the elder Klitschko will be looking to end his career in style before he enters the political realm full-time. The prospect of both Klitschko brothers besting Haye undoubtedly appeals to Vitali’s sense of personal satisfaction and, should it be his last fight, will give him a proper platform for his swansong.
With younger brother Wladimir set to defend his titles against Mariusz Wach in November, the hope is that Vitali will fight Haye and that Wladimir will finally lure Alexander Povetkin into their long-overdue fight.
This series of matchups would make for some decent heavyweight title fights while allowing upstarts like Tyson Fury, David Price and Seth Mitchell to get another year of experience under their belts. Ideally, at least one of these prospects will distance themselves from the pack and become viable candidates to perhaps challenge the younger Klitschko—or both, should Vitali remain active—later in 2013.
While it’s still too early to say, boxing fans could almost accidentally be finding themselves in the midst of a relatively exciting stretch for the heavyweight division.
Given recent history, this might seem like a long shot, but David Haye versus Vitali Klitschko is not a bad place to start.
Let’s keep our toes crossed.