It's been more than seven years since Klitschkolost a fight. Over that span, the 35-year-old has emerged as thedominant force in the heavyweight division, taking on and defeating allcomers. Yes, the division hasn't exactly been overflowing with talentduring Klitschko's reign, but he's routinely fought the best of what'savailable.
Haye is a former cruiserweight champion who movedup to heavyweight in 2008 and immediately began harrying the Klitschkobrothers for a title shot. Without question, Haye is the best challengeavailable for either Klitschko brother, given theirunderstandable refusal to fight one another.
They were originally set to fight in Germany onJune 20, 2009. Haye pulled out 17 days before the fight with a backinjury, asking for a postponement that wasn't granted. (Klitschkofought Ruslan Chagaev instead.) Later that year, the London nativeabruptly backed out of talks for a fight wtih Vitali, fuelingspeculation he was ducking the Ukranian-born champs. Haye andWladimir have dancedaround one another in the two years since, with Haye outpointing7-footer Nikolay Valuev for the WBA title in the interim. Not untilKlitschko issued a public challenge via YouTubedid the sides come toterms for Saturday's fight.
A gifted trash talker, Haye is just the sort ofheadline-grabbingfigure the languishing division needs. He's worn the severed heads ofthe Klitschko brothers on a T-shirt, told writers he'd beat upJean-Marc Mormeck "like Rodney King" before a cruiserweight unificationbout, and infamously billed his November fight with Harrison as a"public execution" to be "as one-sided as a gang rape by a pack ofsilverback gorillas." (And he was right.) Should he win Saturday,Americans will love Haye or they'll hate him, but they won't ignorehim.