Weekend Boxing News N’ Notes

By Francis Walker
Updated: April 10, 2009

Wladimir Klitschko IBF - Current IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will be competing in his 16th world title fight when he defends his crown against David Haye.

Wladimir Klitschko IBF - Current IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will be competing in his 16th world title fight when he defends his crown against David Haye.

NEW YORK – The heavyweight fight that people have been talking about for nearly one year (at least in Europe) will come to fruition this summer. Wladimir Klitschko (52-3, 46 KOs) defends his unified IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO championships against former WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye (22-1, 21 KOs) on June 20, in a soccer stadium in Germany.

Klitschko-Haye is a big fight, so big that several major TV networks will broadcast the fight internationally. Klitschko has an exclusive contract with HBO Sports to televise all of his bouts in the U.S.

Klitschko also has a TV deal with RTL one of the leading TV networks in Europe. Haye fights exclusively under Sentanta Sports in the U.K. As a result, all three major TV networks will provide live feeds for their respective broadcast regions.

David Haye pic 2 - Former WBA/WBC and WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye has dreamt of becoming heavyweight champion. Haye gets his chance on June 20, against IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

David Haye pic 2 - Former WBA/WBC and WBO cruiserweight champion David Haye has dreamt of becoming heavyweight champion. Haye gets his chance on June 20, against IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Klitschko is immensely popular in Germany, Ukraine, and is well-known here in the United States primarily because of his success against American heavyweights and overall consistency. Klitschko has also been accepted as the world heavyweight champion.

As heavyweight champion, Klitschko has amassed an impressive 15-2, 11 KO record in world title fights. However, Klitschko has never fought anyone quite like Haye, a brash and arrogant fighter with a remarkable combination of speed and power. Haye simply isn’t goingg to stand in front of Klitschko and allow the Ukrainian to jab and bomb his way to victory.

Haye will be on the aggressive throwing his punches from various angles. Haye will press Wladimir and will have three, twelve-minute rounds to land a big shot. All three of Klitschko losses have been by knockout and this fight doesn’t figure to last the distance.

Klitschko finally agreed to the fight after having endured Haye’s insults, verbal tyrants, and challenges. Klitschko has dealt with obnoxious opponents before, but not like Haye.

“I am used to being attacked by my opponents before a fight.” Klitschko said in a recent statement. “But David is top of the list of crudity. He has to pay the bill for it and I promise it will be painful.”

While the heavyweight landscape has declined steadily here in the U.S., boxing has always been and continues to be strong overseas. What separates Klitschko from the rest of the pack is the fact that he has been largely successful against American opponents on U.S. soil.

Klitschko’s gold medal win at 1996 Olympics occurred in Atlanta, GA. Klitschko’s two world title reigns began at the expense of Chris Byrd. Klitschko is also the primary reason why the American heavyweight has been dormant in recent years.

Klitschko has key wins against Americans Jameel McCline, Charles Shufford, Calvin Brock, Lamon Brewster, Hasim Rahman, Tony Thompson, Derrick Jefferson, Danell Nicholson, Ray Mercer, and Monte Barrett to name a few.

Unlike this fight writer, Haye is unimpressed with Klitschko.

“Klitschko’s last opponents were cowards,” Haye said. “I will knock him out and take his belts to my hometown London. And that is not all: I will also go and get Vitali’s belt! None of them can stop me. The new World Heavyweight Champion will soon be David Haye!”

As Klitschko established his legacy by knocking out top heavyweight contenders, Haye has suddenly emerged from the shadows. While Haye is barely known in the U.S., he has developed a following in the United Kingdom.

Haye is an exciting, all-action fighter with remarkable speed and explosive power. Haye has made a career out of blasting his opponents out of there. He took the boxing world by storm when rose from the canvas to knockout Jean Marc Mormeck in to win the WBC/WBA cruiserweight titles in November 2007.

Haye unified the WBC/WBA cruiserweight titles after knocking out WBO champion Enzo Maccarrinelli inside two rounds in March 2008. Haye, immediately afterwards, called out Klitschko and challenged him to a fight.

The argument can be made that Haye maybe too small for the 6-foot-7, 245-pound Klitschko. Mnay boxing writers and TV executives said the exact same thing when Ervander Holyfield challenged James “Buster” Douglas for the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship. Haye proved that he belongs in a heavyweight fight when he knocked Monte Barrett to the canvas five times before knocking him out in the fifth round last November.

Paul Williams vs. Winky Wright on HBO on Saturday

Winky Wright vs. Paul Williams - Winky Wright (left) and Paul Williams (right) pose during on April 9, 2009 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino during the final press conference for their April 11, 2009 bout at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Winky Wright vs. Paul Williams - Winky Wright (left) and Paul Williams (right) pose during on April 9, 2009 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino during the final press conference for their April 11, 2009 bout at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: Gene Blevins - Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

WBO interim junior middleweight champion Paul Williams continues to fulfill his promise of fighting anyone between 147 to 160 pounds. Williams (36-1, 27 KOs) will move up in weight to challenge Winky Wright (51-4, 25 KOs) in a scheduled twelve-round middleweight attraction.

The fight will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, NV. The start time: 10 PM/ET, 7 PM/PT.

Williams and Wright have proven to be two of the most avoided fighters of their era. Williams has been turned down by all of the top welterweights in the world including Miguel Cotto and Andre Berto.

“I’m to the point now I’m tired of calling my guys and asking for the biggest fight that I want,” Williams said. “I’m not going to ask – I’m not calling on any more guys. If they want me they’ll have to call me up from now on.”

Wright, at one point in his career, fought in Europe for more than three years because he had a difficult time getting fights.

“It’s always frustrating when you can’t get a fight,” Wright said. “Especially when you see the best fighters out there that are around your weight class avoiding you like the plague. They’re avoiding you by any means necessary. So you know, when you’ve got a young fighter like Paul with a lot of skills and he wants to prove himself too.”

When Wright did finally sign to fight a big marquee name, he took full advantage. Wright owns a pair of wins against Sugar Shane Mosley, Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey, and once fought Jermain Taylor to a controversial draw for the world middleweight championship back in 2006.

Wright also has a disputed loss to Fernando Vargas.

Wright will be coming off a 20-month layoff following a 12-round loss to Bernard Hopkins. The fight was fought at a catch-weight of 170 pounds. Wright looked uncomfortable and was out-boxed Hopkins.

“There won’t be any playing around,” Wright said. “I won’t be just blocking, I’ll be throwing a lot of punches, a lot of hard punches on Saturday night. No one can win a fight by just blocking. “I’m going to win this fight.”

Williams was an undefeated WBO welterweight champion until Carlos Quintana handed him his first (decision) loss last year June. Since then, Williams has been on a roll wining each of his last three fights by at welterweight, junior middleweight, and middleweight by knockout.

Williams regained the welterweight title from Quintana and stopped middleweight Andy Kolle inside one round. Williams dominated Verno Phillips for the WBO 154-pound crown.

“Winky can block, he can jab, but I’m going to make him work on Saturday night,” Williams said.

The co-featured attraction will match unbeaten heavyweight contender Chris Arreola vs. Jameel McCline in a 12-round bout.

Boxing loses a good friend, Arthur Curry passes away

Arthur Curry (1969-2009)

Arthur Curry (1969-2009)

“He was a genuine person,” said Lou DiBella, founder and CEO of DiBella Entertainment. DiBella, a former Senior Vice-President of HBO Sports Programming, knew and worked with Arthur Curry for many years.

Curry worked his way up from the mailroom at Time Life to become HBO’s Director of Talent Relations. Curry was the representative link that kept the relationship between the fighters and HBO executives healthy and wholesome. Curry always kept the personal interests of the fighters in mind – first and foremost.

“Artie” was found dead at his New York City apartment on Wednesday. The cause of death was unknown as of press time. Gone too soon and much too young, Curry was 49 at the time of his passing.

Artie was known for his deep thriving voice; as those close to him would jokingly compare with legendary R&B crooner, the late Barry White. Artie Curry was an elegant and soulful individual who treated everyone the same.

It didn’t matter if you were a corporate powerhouse, a mailroom clerk, or a casual person, Curry treated you with kindness and respect.

Artie liked to refer to himself as “the man behind the scenes.” He liked to observe situations that were ongoing both inside and outside the boxing ring and give his input to those wiling to listen.

Most people listened to Artie because, his thoughts were honest, well-constructed, and came from a genuine place. Artie kept it real and the fighters saw that for themselves.

On a personal note: Artie was one of my mentors while I interned at HBO during the summer of 1996. I am proud to say that I love him. I am truly going to miss the countless hours we’d spend interacting with one another.

Whether it was in his lofty office at HBO, across the street at Bryant Park, in the subway station, at fighter press conferences, during boxing events, and post-fight receptions at the hottest spots, my conversations with Artie wasn’t always comedy hour.

They were often in depth, intent, and somewhat harsh. Artie was very serious and stern in his dealings with me. He was careful in the way he would advise me in what I needed to do in order to become an educated adult. Artie saw that I was responsible, but he also saw areas that I needed to work on.

Artie and I would discuss things related to boxing but many other things not so related to boxing. We became great friends through the years and knew one another for more than 12 years.

In one of our final discussions Artie said to me:

“The man in you was always there, now the man in you is so special, my soul will always be there for you. Peace always my young brother” – Arthur Curry

I am going to miss my friend, my mentor Arthur Curry.