Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye: 10 Reasons the Heavyweight Tilt Is a Must-See

Alex French@alex_frenchCorrespondent IJune 29, 2011

Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye: 10 Reasons the Heavyweight Tilt Is a Must-See

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    On July 2nd, Wladimir Klitschko will step into the ring and face David Haye to defend his IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles.

    Haye, the current holder of the WBA heavyweight crown, is a 2-1 underdog but likes his chances of dethroning the oversized Ukrainian.

    In what has been one of the most-hyped heavyweight fights in recent memory, the entertainment value alone is a reason to tune in this weekend.

    Although the bout lacks an American contender, this fight is well worth watching for any boxing, or sports fan for that matter. 

10. It Looks Good on Paper

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    Even on paper the fight looks attractive, with the 6'7" Klitschko boasting a 55-3 record while his counterpart has a brag-worthy 25-1 tally all time.

    There is much to be said whether Haye has faced opponents like Klitschko during his time in the cruiserweight division, and also if Klitschko can keep up with the smaller and faster Haye.

    All debates aside, it's evident that both fighters have a knack for winning and can pack a powerful punch, with Klitschko winning 49 times by knockout and Haye 23 out of 25 fights in equal manner.

9. It's a Heavyweight Fight!

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    The heavyweight division in boxing is said to hold the biggest, most ferocious athletes in the sport.

    Some of the most famous and highly regarded names in boxing's history have competed in this division.  Do the names Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson ring a bell?

    The "Thrilla in Manilla," "Rumble in the Jungle" and many more have arguably the sport's best fights of all time.

    It may be unfair to compare this fight with classic bouts like the aforementioned, but there's something about a heavyweight championship battle that is extremely appealing.

8. Heavyweight's Fall from Grace

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    With the previous praise of the aura that is heavyweight boxing, it seems contradictory to say that the top division has lost its luster.

    It is, however, hard to ignore the lack of attention it has gotten in recent years due to absence of high-profile fights.

    Some time ago heavyweight fights were premier in the sport, and on a plateau of their own.  Unfortunately for boxing fans, that time ceases to exist.

    The media's coverage of boxing has been dominated by lighter division bouts, but this fight could help catapult the heavyweight division back towards the top due to extensive coverage and anticipation.

7. Characters Involved

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    For boxing fans, this is a fight you do not want to miss.

    For journalists, the storyline behind it is hard to ignore.

    Wladimir Klitschko holds a Ph.D in sports science and enjoys playing chess.  He is widely-considered as a gentleman and humanitarian, donating both time and money to charitable causes. 

    David Haye is charasmatic, exciting and explosive, whereas Klitschko is more conservative and less of a risk-taker.  Haye speaks his mind while his counterpart holds his tongue.

    The characters involved couldn't make for a better story.

6. Bad Blood Between the Two

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    In the leading months to the fight, Haye has made his general dislike for Klitschko very apparent. 

    During the press conference to announce the fight, as displayed in the photo above, the Briton refused to shake his opponent's hand.

    In an interview with BBC Sport, Haye said "I've got no time to be friends or anything, I've no time to have a charm competition.  My tactics need to be ferocious."

    Haye has also made a number of verbal promises of beating Klitschko, including putting him in the hospital when he's done fighting the Ukranian.

    "You are going to see the most brutal execution of a boxer," he said in an interview Monday.  "I will absolutely destroy him."

    I'm no legal expert, but those seem like fighting words.

5. What's One the Line

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    With four-fifths of the heavyweight championship riding on this fight alone, it's an obvious statement to say a lot is at stake.

    Haye intends to retire on October 13, his 31st birthday, according to HBO.com, and wants to leave the ring "in a blaze of glory."

    Certainly more is on the line than just a majority of the heavyweight championship, as Haye's reputation is on the line with his continued guarantees of victory.

    For Klitschko, he has to defend the titles he has held simultaneously for over three years—a record in both time and number of times defended.

    In the first heavyweight unification bout since he defeated Sultan Ibragimov in 2008, Klitschko is putting his crown one the line once again.

4. Side-Stories

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    Haye has gone to extreme lengths to demonstrate his promised "execution" of Klitschko, as seen in the photograph.

    The fast-talking Briton wanted to literally paint a picture of what his intentions are inside the ring on July 2nd.  First he wants Wladimir, and then wants to defeat Wladimir's brother Vitali Klitschko, the current WBC heavyweight champion.

    Klitschko's response was a promise to make Haye eat the shirt after he was all finished with him.

3. Atmosphere

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    The title-bout is set to take place at the Hamburg Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany, which seats 55,000 fans.  An additional 2,000 are expected to pack the ground-surface on July 2nd.

    According to ESPN.com, the fight is set to be broadcast on HBO in the United States, SKY Box Office in Haye's native England, and German network RTL.

    Klitschko has become a huge star in Germany since the majority of his fights have taken place in the European country, and with the fight pitting two Europeans against each other, it surely won't disappoint in terms of ratings and television revenue.

2. Expectations

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    In that same BBC Sport interview, Haye said, "We're not going at it to have a pillow fight, we're going at it to have a real, real war."

    The championship showdown is now two plus years in the making, with Haye set to fight Wladimir in 2009 but pulled-out unexpectedly shortly before the fight.  Later that year, after agreeing to fight his brother Vitali, Haye jumped ship and secretly agreed to fight Nikolai Valuev, taking his WBA title.

    Snide comments and trash-talk have been exchanged since then, but it's Haye's actions that mostly have fueled the fire.

    The boxer from south London will have to fight his best against the Kiev-born Klitschko, as he is facing a bigger, more experienced fighter than he has ever seen before.

    Haye has shown in past fights that he can be at his best in the underdog position, but nonetheless Klitschko's damaged pride in the build-up may prove as further motivation.

    Although Klitschko is the favorite, HBO's Jim Lampley says there's no reason to expect the unexpected.

    "There' was nothing in Buster Douglas's record that led you to believe he was going to beat Mike Tyson.  Cassius Clay was a 7-1 underdog when he first won the heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston in Miami Beach.

    "No-one should rule out the possibility that Haye can get something unusual done."

1. Pre-Fight Hype

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    The summation of bad blood, trash-talking, and general dislike for each other have lead to a level pre-fight hype that has been unparalleled in heavyweight boxing for some time.

    Mix those withthe time each has had to wait to face one another and that could be the recipe for one violent and exciting match-up.

    With Klitschko defending his three title belts and gunning for a landmark 50th win via knockout and Haye essentially boxing for his career, this could be a fight for fans to remember.