Finally, a heavyweight title bout worth getting excited about. On Saturday, Wladimir Klitschko puts his IBF and WBO titles on the line against WBA titleholder David Haye, a tough-talking 30-year-old Brit who represents boxing's best chance for a regime change. Here's what's on the line.
This is an article from the July 4, 2011 issue
IF KLITSCHKO WINS:
• History. Wladimir and brother Vitali (the WBC titleholder) would hold all four major belts.
• Boxing blahs. Consider: Of the No. 1 contenders in three of the alphabet outfits, two (Eddie Chambers and Ruslan Chagaev) have already been KO'd by Wladimir, while the third (Bermane Stiverne) just squeaked by Ray Austin, who lasted less than two rounds with Wlad.
• A mother's peace of mind. The Klitschko brothers long ago promised their mother they would never fight each other. But a K2 showdown would spark worldwide interest and unify the heavyweight title. Please, Mama.
IF HAYE WINS:
• Big money. Haye has threatened to retire, but a $10 million-plus payday in a rematch or a unification fight with Vitali would likely lure him back.
• American interest. The last British champ, Lennox Lewis, was popular in the States because he fought here (14 of his last 16 bouts). The loquacious Haye could make a similar hit.
• Fair fights. Some contenders (Tomasz Adamek, Chris Arreola) can't measure up to the towering Klitschkos. But they'd go nose-to-nose with the 6'3" Haye, which could make for some intriguing bouts.