Archives for posts with tag: WBC

 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.

Kelly Pavlik faces a new battle outside of the ropes.

By Johnny Walker 

Back in 2008, when middleweight champion Kelly “The Ghost” Pavlik, 28, of Youngstown, Ohio, defeated ex-champ Jermain Taylor for the second time, his future prospects in boxing seemed limitless.

Pavlik was set to be boxing’s newest American superstar, a working class kid from small town USA made good. 

Soon he had his own line of Affliction t-shirts, and was looked upon by the boxing community in the US as a possible savior for the sport, someone who could elevate boxing from its current niche status back into the mainstream.  

Losses to Bernard Hopkins in 2008 and to Sergio Martinez earlier this year dimmed Pavlik’s star, however, and rumors began to circulate that all was not well in his personal life, although these rumors were constantly denied by those around Pavlik. 

When Pavlik pulled out of a fight with Brian Vera on the undercard of the recent Manny Pacquiao – Antonio Margarito contest, the chatter about Pavlik having a problem reached a deafening pitch.

Now comes the news that Pavlik has checked into the Betty Ford Center in California to deal with alcohol abuse issues. 

People around boxing, according to ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael, have known about Pavlik’s issues with the bottle for a long time.  “Pavlik’s drinking problems are widely known in boxing even though nobody on his team will say it publicly.  But it is a major problem,” Rafael said during an online chat on November 5. 

After all the denials, however, the latest word from Pavlik’s team that their fighter is not only in rehab, but may be done with boxing for good.

Apparently an 8-hour intervention-like “conversation” between Pavlik, his parents, and his wife, Samantha, led to the fighter’s decision to check himself into rehab.  According to Pavlik’s father, Mike, his son was unable to handle the fame that came with being the middleweight champion.

“I’m not complaining about him winning the title, but it was instant stardom after that and the demands on his life became so hard and so intense that he couldn’t deal with it,” the senior Pavlik told Yahoo Sports.  “Everywhere he went, everyone wanted to buy the champ a beer. He didn’t want to disappoint anyone or say no and it wound up causing him a pretty serious problem.”

Pavlik’s recent career trajectory is almost certainly linked to his alcohol problem: according to co-manager Cameron Dunkin, this is Pavlik’s second stint in rehab this year, the first being a two-week stay at Betty Ford shockingly only 10 days before he lost his WBC and WBO middleweight titles to Martinez.

Now, Pavlik plans to stay in rehab as long as it takes to correct his behavior.

“Three months, six months, whatever it takes, he’s going to do it,” said Dunkin, who also admitted, “I don’t know if he’ll ever fight again.”

“Just you and me pal!” 

By Johnny Walker

WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has once again thrown down the gauntlet to his trash talking nemesis, WBA heavyweight king David Haye.

As controversy continues to swirl around the Hayemaker in the aftermath of last Saturday’s farcical title fight between Haye and the hapless Audley “A-Force” Harrison, Klitschko has offered to fight Haye next spring in a 50-50 deal, anywhere in the world where the fight makes the most financial sense.

“I hear about the great venue of Madison Square Garden for this fight,” Klitschko offered. “But I’m ready to fight in Germany, the United States or Great Britain.” 

“Wherever the most money is on the table,” he continued, “let’s fight in this place.”

Conventional wisdom as to which Klitschko brother would be the best bet for David Haye in terms of winning the fight has changed in the last few years.  Initially, it was thought Wladimir, because of his supposedly soft chin, would be more vulnerable than his iron-chinned older brother.

Then, after Vitali looked a bit jaded in fights with Kevin Johnson and Albert Sosnowski (even though he barely dropped a round in either bout), the thinking was that maybe he was finally slowing down, while Wlad, after annihilating top American contender Eddie Chambers, and then doing the same to ex-champion Samuel Peter, was firmly in his prime.

That was before Vitali hospitalized ex-champion Shannon Briggs, again giving boxing’s big thinkers pause—maybe the elder Klitschko brother is not quite over the hill after all?

At any rate, Klitschko manager Bernd Boente today made it clear that while either Klitschko brother is willing to consider fighting Haye in England, they are not about to let the WBA champion call all the shots.

“If England is where we can make the most money, then we’ll go there”, Boente told BoxingScene.com.  “But the fight will happen where we can make the most money. If Haye is going to tell us that it can only happen in England, then we will never agree to start negotiations. A negotiation is where everyone comes to the table with open minds and together they make a deal. But if he is going to start telling us what to do, the fight won’t happen.”

The Klitschkos are indeed champs—and it seems that they are not about to be treated as chumps.