WBO/IBF/IBO and Ring Magazine Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will fight WBA Heavyweight champion David Haye on July 2nd, 2011 at the Imtech Arena, Hamburg, Germany.
The Heavyweight division finally has a contest which should capture the attention of the public. And there is definitely no love lost between these two fighters. However, most of the verbal bashing has come from Haye and he does not hide his dislike of Klitschko.
Haye has also refused to shake the hand of Klitschko during the press conferences. Bad Manners? As Ricky Hatton once said, "Boxing is not a tickling contest."
Haye does not need to show respect in the Pacquiao vs. Mosley sense. The recent fight in Las Vegas was marred by over-respect between the two boxers and at times resembled a friendly sparring session. There was no bad blood between Pacquiao and Mosley resulting in both boxers fighting less aggressively.
On the downside, Haye is setting himself up as the bad guy in this encounter. In the past Haye has often shown little respect towards his opponents and often performs stunts to annoy them. Then again Floyd Mayweather is a fighter people love to hate but he sells tickets. Why? Because many want to see him get beaten, a fact that even "Money" has acknowledged.
Is there any real bad blood between Klitschko and Haye? Is it all for show?
Obviously, I do not think that Haye is taking this fight too lightly in the sense that he believes what he is saying. He does not show it but I suspect he has strong respect for Klitshcko. Haye knows that Klitshcko can box and has a rock solid style.
Haye is instead resorting to a fighter's most amusing skill, the art of trash talk. The recent press conferences have seen Haye calling Klitschko "boring," a "fraud" and "killing boxing." Klitschko has yet to take the bait, although the fighter has previously used his Twitter account to taunt Haye rather than during a face to face confrontation.
As I have indicated in previous articles, boxing is a business like any other. It is struggling in the harsh financial climate with the Heavyweight division suffering the most. Both Klitschko brothers have been accused of being manufactured and boring but you can only fight what is put in front of you. For the first time in years, Haye presents a serious challenge.
This fight can be a big advertisement for boxing and the main aspect of the buildup to a mega fight is the pre-fight showdowns.
If boxing fans see that the fighters genuinely want to beat the living hell out of each other then box office sales are likely to be healthy. Although Pacquiao has a massive following that will always watch him, his recent fight will have not been a draw to the casual fan because of the happy and friendly nature of the buildup.
Klitschko is too much of a gentleman to rise to Haye's verbal bashings. But Klitschko probably acknowledges that the pre-fight build up with the showmanship of Haye will make the fight much more appealing to the public.
Dr. Steelhammer must be enjoying the buildup with all the publicity. Not only will he make a decent amount of money from the fight but more importantly the legacy of the Klitschko brothers could be secured with the final lineal Heavyweight belt added to their collection.
But could the Hayemaker wreck the dream?