Lock the doors and hide the key, because on Saturday afternoon in Hamburg, Germany, David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko will wage war on one another with the legitimate lineal Heavyweight Championship of the World hanging in the balance. This is a fight that took three years, and two postponements before finally coming to fruition. It is without a doubt the most anticipated heavyweight fight since another Brit, the legendary former undisputed champion Lennox Lewis fought the elder Klitschko brother Vitali in 2003 and history was made.
On that night the elder Klitschko gave the champion Lewis all he could handle for six rounds (and was winning on all three scorecards 58 – 56) until a nasty cut that required 58 stiches to close stopped the fight. Two things happened after that night, Lennox Lewis never fought again, opting to retire on top as one of only two champions to defeat every man he had ever faced. And the other was a passing of the heavyweight torch from England to the Ukrainian born Klitschko brothers. Now once again a classic fight has been brewing for years between these two nations, and on Saturday night in front of an estimated 50,000 fans David Haye will try to duplicate what his fellow Brit Lewis did and defeat a Klitschko, a feat only accomplished 5 times in 102 attempts and none since 2004 by any fighter on the planet.
For David Haye (25 -1-23KO’s) this is a fight he has coveted for years. He has no respect for either Klitschko brother, but with Wladimir it seems more personnel due to the fact that he has been knocked out three times in the past. Haye is a knock out fighter with amazing speed and power for a heavyweight, but at 6’3 he will be giving up about 3 inches to the bigger, stronger Klitschko who stands 6’6. Haye is the former undisputed Cruiserweight champion and like the Klitschko brothers, has not lost since 2004 winning all 15 of his fights during that span including 4 at heavyweight. He has also claimed that he will retire at the end of the year, ending a 20 year career in the squared circle. Haye has always said that unifying the heavyweight division and retiring champion like his idol Lennox Lewis is the goal.
Wladimir Klitschko (55 -3-49KO’s) at age 35 would like nothing better than to shut David Haye’s big-fat mouth once and for all by making him his coveted 50th knock-out victim. Normally reserved, it has become apparent that Haye has gotten under the skin of Klitschko as seen from the “Face-Off” interview conducted by Max Kellerman on HBO last weekend. In that interview fight fans, including Kellerman and Haye thought that Wladimir was going to punch Haye in the face. When asked about the rude comments by Haye, the wearing of the famous T-shirt featuring Haye holding the heads of the decapitated Klitschko brothers, or the refusal to shake hands at the interview, Wladimir, who holds a doctorate in sports science, also said he believes he is the man to deliver the therapeutic defeat he thinks Haye needs to become a “better person.” “My name is Dr. Klitschko. I am a therapist and on July 2 I am going to give you treatment. It is going to be reality rehab. I will knock you out into reality, which will be good for your life”.
Haye responded in turn by telling the press conference Klitschko is a one-dimensional fighter who will be exposed on July 2nd. Haye said “Wladimir is in great shape, is mentally prepared and has viewed all the tapes on me. But come fight night you will see something completely different and it will be great to watch this robot malfunction”. “I am ready to do what I always promised I would do. I am healthy, the speed is ridiculous, my punch power is there. I am in a really good place. I am so happy the fight is happening now and not a couple of years ago as I am a much better fighter now,” Haye added. “He is stuck in his rigid ways and has been since the amateurs.” To that Wladimir replied “be on time, princess”.
In my twenty plus years of watching and covering the “sweet-science” I have only seen a handful of fighters who at the end of the fight still hated one another, these two will. A win for Klitschko solidifies his place at the top of the mountain in the heavyweight division. He will no longer be in the shadow of his older brother Vitali, but will in fact pass him on the scale of greatness, the only true measurement a warrior covets. For Haye, it is a chance to accomplish his ultimate goal of winning the lineal heavyweight championship of the world. It is also his chance to do something that his idol Lewis could not do, by definitively knocking a Klitschko out. Very seldom does life give us the opportunity to accomplish everything we have ever wanted or dreamed, on Saturday night in Germany, David Haye gets his moment. Will he risk it all to touch his dream, or will he fold under the pressure like so many before him. I for one CAN’T WAIT!!!
Klitschko vs. Haye will air at 4:45pm live on HBO from Hamburg, Germany. You can also tune into my MMA / Boxing show entitled “The Ultimate Fight Show” on Saturday between 12 – 1pm to hear my exclusive break-down and prediction for the event. You can also follow me at twitter @LCtheIII.