Archives for posts with tag: Klitschko Brothers

 By Johnny Walker

It seems that 2010 is ending much like 2009 did as far as boxing’s heavyweight division is concerned: with escalating trash talk between the respective camps of the Klitschko Brothers and David Haye.

Haye versus Klitschko: Just a fantasy?

 After doing everything he could to avoid getting in the ring with one of the Ukrainian brothers for the last two years—this after demanding a showdown with Wladimir when he made the jump up from cruiserweight—WBA paper champion Haye is now doing his best to convince the world (with the help of his UK press cheerleaders like The Guardian’s obsequious Kevin Mitchell) that he is doing the The Ring magazine heavyweight champ a favor by accepting his 50-50 contract offer for a heavyweight showdown.

“Despite the fact we know we bring more UK television money to the table, David and I are happy to split the entire pot 50-50 and grant Wladimir the deal he has wanted since day one,” says Haye mouthpiece and trainer Adam Booth. “We have offered them 50-50 on everything and now see no reason why this tremendous fight can’t happen. The path is clear.”

So now we are to believe it is Haye, who holds one belt (the legitimacy of which is questionable) who is lowering his standards to offer Wladimir Klitschko—who holds the IBF, IBO and WBO belts as well as the The Ring magazine honor—the same 50-50 contract that Klitschko had already offered the Brit.

Sure, boys.

Haye, being his usual eloquent self, put it this way: “We agreed to 50-50 on everything, which they requested. We took away every possible excuse. There is no reason for this fight not to happen. I want to fight that big Russian prick next.”

Let’s hope a few months from now, Haye doesn’t tell us he was really talking about a rematch with Nicolay Valuev, who is very big—and actually Russian.

For their part, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko recently issued a statement in the German newspaper Bild that promised a showdown with Haye in 2011.   

“We want this fight at all costs,” the statement read.  “[Haye] may choose which of us he wants to step into the ring to lose his world title.”

Now, Wladimir has gone further, claiming that a fight pitting either Klitschko brother against Haye is “an easy payday.”

“It doesn’t matter which one it is, both of us are far too big and strong for David Haye, who … is rated only in his own head – outside that nobody rates him,” said Wladimir.  “He will be nothing for us to beat. He will leave the arena embarrassed if he ever sets foot in the ring with us.”

“If” indeed.

Before anyone gets too excited, it should be remembered that we’ve heard all of this before. Haye has gone so far as to sign to fight Wladimir, only to pull out at the last moment with an “injury” that was never substantiated by any doctor’s report. 

And Haye has reiterated a number of times lately that he intends to retire next year before his 31st birthday whether he has fought a Klitschko or not.

So despite all of the talk and the promises, we are in reality no closer to the second biggest fight that can be made in boxing actually taking place. 

Talk, as they say, is cheap.

See you in 2011.

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Tomas Adamek had too much firepower for Vinny Maddalone

By Johnny Walker

Top heavyweight contender Tomasz “Goral” Adamek (43-1) of Poland destroyed Vinny Maddalone (33-6) Thursday night, outclassing the game journeyman from Queens, New York via a fifth round TKO.

Adamek, since entering the heavyweight division after a dominant career at cruiserweight, has had his ups and downs.  After destroying his semi-retired countryman Andrew Golota, Adamek had a not entirely convincing win over Jason Estrada, an impressive majority decision victory over the much bigger Cris Arreola, and a hanging-on-for-dear-life cliffhanger win over the even bigger Michael Grant.

Those waiting for Adamek to look totally dominant at heavyweight finally got their wish in his bout against Maddalone.

Looking less bulky in the upper body than he did last time out against Grant, Adamek used his superior speed to pepper the game but awkward Maddalone from the first round onward.  He doubled and tripled up on the jab, worked Maddalone’s midsection, and then went head-hunting with crisp combinations.

You name it, Adamek was throwing it at Maddalone, including the kitchen sink.

If Adamek showed any weakness in this fight, it was in his vulnerability to the left hook, which the less than speedy Maddalone nevertheless managed to land with some regularity.

But all the work Adamek was putting in, especially to the body, had Maddalone running on empty by round five, when a right-left combination following a wild miss by Maddalone saw the Queens native deposited to the mat.

From then on, it was a mere matter of time, as Adamek was determined to close the show and get his first stoppage as a heavyweight, peppering Maddalone with combinations to the body and head. 

Finally, and correctly, Maddalone’s corner had seen enough, and signalled to referee Steve Smoger to call an end to the fight at 2:17 of round five.

With this win, Adamek figures to be in the running for a title fight next year with one of the Klitschko brothers, possibly at Madison Square Garden in New York, which would benefit from the proximity of Adamek’s Polish fanbase in New Jersey, as well as that of the many Russian and Ukrainian fans of the Klitschkos residing in Brooklyn.

Perhaps the most tantalizing–and potentially winnable–heavyweight championship matchup for Adamek would be against Britain’s David Haye, in a battle of of ex-cruiserweight champions.

A fight between Adamek and Roy Jones Jr. has also been discussed, and some members of Team Adamek are apparently all for it, but if that were to take place, it would be a travesty and a waste of Adamek’s time — and at age 34, he hasn’t got all that much time to waste in what remains of his boxing career.

Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail in the Adamek camp: Adamek is too valuable a commodity in the current heavyweight scene to be taking part in credibility-destroying fights of the kind Haye just had with Audley Harrison.

Wladimir Klitschko (l) taunted Dereck Chisora with his belt collection

By Johnny Walker

Dereck “Del-Boy” Chisora of the United Kingdom raised the trash-talking stakes today when he called the trainer of IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine an “Uncle Tom” during a pre-fight press conference for their upcoming title tilt this Saturday in Mannheim, Germany.

The final presser for the fight was very contentious, with Chisora exhibiting a near-total lack of respect for the champion and his legendary trainer Emanuel Steward.

Klitschko taunted Chisora with the belts at one point: “It’s a nice belt, huh?” he said as he waved a championship strap in Chisora’s face.  “You’ve been dreaming about it, huh?  You can take and play with [the belts], I don’t care about it,” Klitschko continued dismissively.

Chisora responded with a blistering verbal attack on the imposing champ.

“You want to be like Muhammad Ali and all the rest, but you will never buy greatness, because you are not that great.  That’s why you’re stuck in Germany, that’s why the other countries don’t want to watch you.  You can’t get a fight in Vegas, no one will pay to watch you in Vegas, because you stink up the joint,” claimed Chisora during his vicious verbal tirade.

“I guess your [ideal] opponent is your ex-girlfriend, who can’t punch back,” a steaming but calm Klitschko countered. 

Chisora was given a suspended sentence in November for an assault on his ex-girlfriend.

Things deteriorated as Chisora tried to argue that his ex-girlfriend is better looking than the champion’s current one (actress Hayden Panettierre), who Chisora described as being “three feet tall.”

Chisora also made the aforementioned racial slur toward Manny Steward, implying with the “Uncle Tom” label that the trainer is a race traitor, working to help a white European fighter defeat black opponents.

Steward was understandably furious. 

“Chisora is a horrible person . . . [but] I don’t have to motivate Wladimir. Chisora already made him mad and showed no respect towards him,” said the Kronk boxing legend. 

Klitschko ended by offering a few choice words in German, drawing a hearty laugh from the reporters present while Chisora frowned. 

Klitschko then turned toward Chisora with his final comment on the proceedings:

“Learn the languages, buddy!”

Ruslan Chagaev (l), had all he could handle from Travis Walker

By Johnny Walker

Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan, the mandatory contender for David Haye’s WBA heavyweight title, barely got by tough American journeyman Travis Walker Friday night in a fan-friendly, eight-round “tune-up” scrap in Hamburg, Germany.

Those who like to loudly bemoan the lack of back and forth action in today’s heavyweight division surely would have been silenced by the aggressive tactics of both Chagaev and Walker.  Chagaev, who has been talking up an upcoming 2011 contest with Britain’s controversial “Hayemaker,” had the most to lose coming in to this bout, and Walker did his best to take advantage of that.

Chagaev started well in rounds one and two, showing why he formerly held the belt that now resides around David Haye’s waist.  Showing fast hands and moving well, the southpaw Chagaev established a pattern of landing flush lead lefts to Walker’s face, and also backed up the American with some lightning fast combos.

Walker, as round two progressed, eventually started to get some rhythm going, and thudded a cracking uppercut into Chagaev’s sturdy chin in what would become a pattern of his own.

With Walker’s excitable and vociferous corner yelling for “right hands!” to the point of distraction in round three, it was Chagaev who landed a nifty uppercut of his own, followed by a flurry of lefts and rights.  Round four saw both fighters winging hard shots, most of which were blocked by gloves, with Chagaev again landing a thudding lead left near the end of the round.

The fifth round was one of the best in the fight: Walker came out aggressive, landing those “right hands” his corner had been begging for.  In what could be seen as an ominous sign for a future matchup with Haye, Chagaev proved vulnerable to repeated uppercuts, as Walker bullied the smaller man around the ring.  Yet another hard lead left from Chagaev only momentarily halted Walker’s progress, and both men flurried to end the round.

Rounds six and seven saw Chagaev, who looked a bit soft at 232, rapidly tiring from the fight’s hectic pace, while Walker got a second wind.  The superior upper body movement Chagaev displayed when handing giant Russian Nicolay Valuev his first loss (lifting the WBA title from him to boot) was now nowhere to be seen, and Walker took full advantage, muscling Chagaev into the corners and teeing off on him with hard shots.

The fight was very close (I had it dead even) heading into the last round, and Walker tried to keep up the pressure.  Chagaev, sensing that his title shot against Haye could be in jeopardy, started winging wild punches in the hope of taking Walker out.  Finally, both men were exhausted, having given the heavyweight division the kind of competitive fight it could use more of.

Chagaev, as the “hometown” favorite (he fights out of Germany), got the benefit of the doubt from the judges, who saw it 78-75, 77-75 and 77-76 in his favor (I scored it a draw).  Walker, however, gave a very good account of himself on this night.

The result now sets Chagaev up for a showdown with Haye . . . or does it? 

According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, “I don’t see Haye going to Germany for that fight. He has the title and is much bigger in the UK than Chagaev is in Germany.”

“However,” Rafael continued, “I would be surprised if Chagaev is licensed in the UK because of his positive hepatitis tests. The medicals are tougher in the UK than Germany. That would make this a big mess.  It may have to go to a purse bid and if Chagaev’s side wins, it would probably be put in Germany, but I’d be surprised if Chagaev’s side won a purse bid if there was one.  Haye can bid much more because of the greater revenue he supplies from UK television.”

Stay tuned.

(www.streetbeatboxing.com)

By Johnny Walker

“Legitimizing every criticism ever made against him, the man known in the UK media as “Fraudley” and “A-Farce” took the money and ran, exiting the arena in a big hurry after doing a very good impression of a statue for three rounds.”

I wrote those words after watching Saturday’s WBA heavyweight title fight from Manchester, UK, between David Haye and Audley Harrison, not yet knowing of the furor that would erupt soon after the Haye won by stoppage in the third round.

Today, the UK media is buzzing with stories of possible unethical behavior by Haye and Harrison: Haye, for possibly carrying Harrison until the third round because of gambling wagers he, friends and family members had placed, and Harrison for his deer-in-the-headlights, shameful non-effort after weeks of confident pre-fight trash talking.

According to The Sun newspaper,  Haye told a reporter after the fight, “I had a lot of money on the third round as did my friends and family – so I didn’t want to let them down by doing it too early.”

This statement possibly answers the question of why Haye fought almost as negatively as the frozen, near-comatose Harrison did over the first two rounds, when referee Luis Pabon actually had to admonish the participants to stop staring at each other and feinting and to start trading punches.

Yet in the third round, with Harrison still doing almost nothing, Haye turned on the heat momentarily and easily finished off “A-Farce” in a way that suggested he could have done this at any time, including the first minute of the fight. 

Given all of Harrison’s confident talk about “fulfilling his destiny” leading up to the fight, his total lack of effort seemed mysterious.  Now, in light of Haye’s gambling admission, more suspicions are being raised, with some fans wondering if an arrangement of some kind between the two former (and future?) friends had been reached before the fight even began.  Some are calling for an investigation into the whole affair, which, if not illegal, certainly has the appearance of being unethical.

Haye is now attempting to walk back his original statement by claiming that he didn’t personally put any money on the fight, but the damage has been done.  Although the British Boxing Board of Control has decided not to punish Haye, the fighter’s reputation has been sullied by this debacle, perhaps in a karmic payback for the Hayemaker’s decision to fight such an unworthy opponent in the first place. 

While Haye chose once again to deride what he sees as the low-quality opposition of the legitimate heavyweight champions after Saturday’s fight, it is not an outlandish proposition to say that either Samuel Peter or Shannon Briggs, the two most recent opponents of heavyweight kings Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, respectively, would have knocked out Harrison long before Haye got around to it on Saturday.

As for Audley Harrison, there seems little doubt that he is finished: who would ever pay to see him fight again after such a dismal showing in the biggest match of his life?  However, the “take the money and run” approach for the hapless Harrison may have hit a snag: as outraged UK boxing fans cry “rip-off,” the British Boxing Board of Control is considering withholding Harrison’s purse, said to be in excess of 1 million British pounds — a lot of money for someone who landed one clean punch over 7 minutes and 53 seconds of (non) action before being stopped. 

Surely all of this turmoil is a far cry from the glories that David Haye himself along with many of his supporters envisioned two years ago, when the Hayemaker entered the heavyweight ranks for good.  Knocking out a man who refuses to fight is not likely to impress anyone outside of Haye’s immediate circle; add to that the appearance of unethical behavior linked to gambling, and Haye’s career trajectory looks to be rapidly headed south.

Haye is still insisting that the Klitschko brothers need him more than he needs them, but after the Harrison farce, and with Haye still tiresomely insisting that he will retire in a year’s time, that no longer seems to be the case (if it ever was).

In fact, a win over one or both Klitschkos may be the only thing that can save David Haye’s heavyweight career from being remembered more for what he didn’t do, than for what he actually accomplished

David Haye (l) faces off with Audley Harrison

By Johnny Walker

When WBA heavyweight champion David “Hayemaker” Haye enters the ring against fellow Brit Audley “A-Force” Harrison on Saturday in Manchester, it will be almost exactly two years since the Hayemaker landed with a loud splash in the heavyweight division, the former cruiserweight champ promising to shake things up in a way not seen since the arrival of Mike Tyson.

Haye contended that the recognized champions, brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, were ruining heavyweight boxing by “fighting bums” and dominating all the competition in such as way as to turn off the general sports fan who might otherwise give boxing a look-in.

Haye was going to change all that, he vowed. 

Since stopping American Monte Barrett in a sloppy fight, however, David Haye has utterly failed to make good on his loud and oft-repeated promise of heavyweight domination.  Instead, the last two years since that 2008 tilt have seen Haye fight infrequently (only once in 2009, with this Saturday’s fight being his second in 2010), but talk almost non-stop, taking a break from the trash-talking verbosity only when the Klitschkos are looking for their next opponents, when Haye falls uncharacteristically silent.

After pulling out of a signed fight with Wladimir with a highly dubious “back injury,” and then bailing on a fight with Vitali at the very last minute with the contracts ready to be signed, Haye undertook a 2009 scrap against Russian giant Nicolay Valuev, wherein he lifted Valuev’s lightly regarded WBA title (which rightly belonged to Ruslan Chagaev).  For all of Haye’s yapping about bringing excitement, this was one of the worst heavyweight title fights of recent times, making Wladimir Klitschko’s less-than-scintillating 2008 unification fight with the now-retired Sultan Ibragimov look like Ali-Frazier III.

Haye spent most of the fight running away from Valuev, who remarked later that he “didn’t know he was going to a track meet.”  Claiming that he hurt his hand early in the fight, Haye produced a far less compelling “win” (even UK-based Sky Sports analyst Jim Watt called the fight for Valuev) against the giant than did Chagaev when he handed Valuev his first loss and took his WBA title in 2007, and didn’t even look as good as the ancient Evander Holyfield did in losing to Valuev in 2008.

Haye, it seemed, was more talk than substance, at least as a heavyweight.

Since taking Valuev’s title, Haye has spent most of his time not in the ring, but in front of various reporter’s tape machines, antagonizing the Klitschko brothers.  His litany of excuses for ducking fights with the Ukrainians has become somewhat of a running joke among non-UK boxing fans (and even among the more discerning and objective of the Brits as well). 

“Slave contracts” supposedly on offer from the Klitschkos’ K-2 Productions is one excuse that Haye loves to return to again and again, even though he gave Sauerland Event and Don King Productions options on at least three of his fights in order to get the title shot at Valuev.  Haye supposedly abhors the idea of rematch clauses, but he still included one in the contract he gave to his next opponent, Audley Harrison.  

When offered a 50-50 worldwide split with no options and no rematch clauses to fight either Klitschko brother, Haye then argued about TV rights. 

Meanwhile, the Hayemaker’s first title defence was against the ageing John Ruiz, a battle-scarred veteran with one foot out the door who, embarrassingly for Haye, didn’t even bother to go to London to promote the fight.  Haye prevailed with a TKO stoppage, but Ruiz hit him hard and fairly easily, exposing flaws that the Klitschkos no doubt would exploit to more devastating effect. 

Ruiz promptly retired after the payday against the Hayemaker.

With the Klitschkos coming off of impressive destructions of their recent opponents, ex-champions Sam Peter (Wlad) and Shannon Briggs (Vitali), the Hayemaker is now under pressure to produce something similar in his next title defense.  Yet even if he destroys Harrison on Saturday, Haye is unlikely to impress the fans to whom he made such extravagant promises two years ago.

Audley Harrison, after all, is a running joke in his own country, a chronic underachiever nicknamed “A-Farce” and “Fraudley” in the British press. 

Haye has taken the easy path here — he hopes.  He is going to make good money, and hopefully put on a show against a fighter who has accomplished very little at all since winning a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics.  But even a destruction of Harrison isn’t going to placate boxing fans around the world who expected so much more of David Haye.  And a loss to Harrison would destroy Haye’s credibility entirely.

Haye versus Harrison, then, isn’t so much an international boxing event, but what Wladimir Klitschko more accurately called “the London championship,” a bout of mainly local interest. 

Or perhaps, given the beverage of choice in England, we might call it, “The Tempest in a Teacup.”