Are the Klitschko brothers losing their golden touch when it comes to public relations?
First came the news that Vitali Klitschko had been photographed in the company of a sadistic Muslim dictator in Ukraine last December, and that Wladimir had also been in Ramzan Kadyrov's company the year previous in Chechnya.
Now comes an article entitled "Putts, Not Punches" that has Wladimir extolling the pleasures of golfing in Florida during the winter months.
The heavyweight champion of the world is pictured taking a healthy swing at the PGA National Resort & Spa on December 22, not quite two weeks after he supposedly suffered an injury serious enough to keep him from making his heavyweight title date with England's Dereck Chisora (originally scheduled for December 11 in Mannheim, Germany).
No doubt Chisora is feeling plenty steamed right about now.
The injury to Wladimir, a tear in his abdominal muscle that has also been described as a "back injury," was reported on December 30 by his training camp manager David "Chef" Williams to be "Two inches long [but] it wasn't very deep. They did a lot of treatment direct into the muscle."
Williams went on to say that the injury was "almost fully healed."
A reasonable person might then ask why, eight days earlier, Wladimir would risk swinging a golf club, an activity that requires the use of the abdominal muscles, when he was trying to heal an injury bad enough to cause him to cancel a sold-out title bout in Mannheim?
The reporter at the Palm Beach Post, Jeff Greer, somehow doesn't think to ask Wladimir such a question, instead seeming overawed at just being in the heavyweight champ's presence (admittedly a nice change from the kind of reception the Klitschkos usually get from the US sports media).
"On Wednesday, during a breezy, sunny, 70-degree day in Palm Beach County, the hulking boxer known as Dr. Steelhammer was just another golfer enjoying a relaxing day on the links," Greer tells us.
Greer does ask Wladimir about the negotiations for a David Haye fight, however, to which Klitschko replies, "It won't go for too much longer. Either it's going to work or it won't."
When later questioned about his escapades on the links by the German newspaper Bild, Klitschko seemed to be on the defensive: "That was no real golf, I can't even think about that," he said. "I just held the club for a short time for a TV-documentary about my life."
Whether it was "real" or simulated golf, Wladimir has stepped in it once again here.
As in the episodes with the Chechen dictator, K-2 (the Klitschkos' promotional company) should have realized that having Wladimir out touring the links in Florida, when he was supposed to be nursing an injury bad enough to make him cancel a sold-out title fight, was going to make for some very bad optics.
Bad enough to cause some people already so inclined to think that he faked the injury in the first place.
Who can blame Dereck Chisora now when he claims Klitschko pulled out of the fight for bogus reasons?
Wladimir has no-one but himself and those advising him to blame for this PR double-bogey.
His best hope is that signing to meet David Haye at long last will make everyone forget about this episode.
Well, everyone but Dereck Chisora.