Wladimir Klitschko: No Haye? No HBO!
By Ace Freeman (07-Jun-2009)
It was a crushing blow to the heavyweight division last week when former undisputed cruiserweight champion David Haye had to withdraw from his June 20 heavyweight title fight with Wlad Klitschko. Ace Freeman looks at why this fight being rescheduled is vital to boxing.
It’s understandable that Wladimir Klitschko will face Ruslan Chagaev on June 20 in Germany in place of the injured David Haye. Over sixty thousand Fight Fans are scheduled to arrive that weekend expecting to see a heavyweight championship clash and Klitschko vs. Chagaev is a very viable heavyweight fight.
Unfortunately, for a growing number of boxing fans it’s just not an interesting one. With respect to the world class abilities of Wladimir Klitschko, I have grown tired of watching him climb in the ring with the timid, marginally in shape heavyweights that are standing in for top ranked fighters in this day and age. The television ratings for heavyweight boxing show that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
Wlad Klitschko can only fight who’s out there and Ruslan Chagaev is a very good last minute replacement. Chagaev is prepared and ready to go after a scheduled fight from a week ago fell apart. He is a top rated fellow heavyweight title holder and he’s worthy of this shot.
Yet something is missing…
Intrigue. It’s seldom found in the heavyweight division these days.
Enter David Haye. Regardless of whether you like Haye or not, he brings a much needed spark.
HBO, boxing’s premiere television outlet, is not interested in televising Wladimir Klitschko defending his title on June 20 without Haye as challenger.
This speaks volumes.
It is the second straight title defense by Klitschko that HBO has passed on. In December of 2008 former world champion Hasim Rahman was not enough of an draw to entice the major network. And minus David Haye, June 20 will mark the second such occurance.
Some people in the boxing world are quick to insinuate that David Haye’s back injury suffered in training last week has him ‘falling out of line’ to fight the formidable Klitschko.
What they fail to realize is that without Haye at the front of the line things continue as they have been. Non compelling, low interest fights that are only seen by a fraction of the world’s sporting audience. It has become so stale for a boxing fan that it almost feels commonplace. That is tragic and a slight to the historic legacy the heavyweight division has in pro sports.
Currently boxing is thriving in its lower weight classes, and if the heavyweight division could get that much needed shot in the arm it might recapture its firm place in the big picture of the international sporting landscape.
As the undisputed world cruiserweight champion, David Haye has more than earned the right to jump to the front of the line. We’ve seen the best fighters of years past jump from below heavyweight straight in to challenging the big man for the heavyweight crown.
When you add to that sentiment the fact that Haye is brash, out spoken and creating much needed interest in the heavyweight division, it is incumbent on everyone involved to see that this fight comes to fruition. ‘No news is good news’ does not apply to the heavyweight division and with lower weight classes driving the engine, it is vital that interest and intrigue return.
There is no twisted argument to be made that Wladimir Klitschko should resume fighting average, lacking, top heavyweights when the biggest fight in years north of 200 pounds looms for the taking.
Let Wladimir fight Chagaev on June 20, but please, for the sake of Fight Fans everywhere reschedule Haye vs. Klitschko for as soon as possible.
And someone please… wake me up when it’s good to go.
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