A New Opponent For The Champ

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: June 8, 2009

Wladimir Klitschko isn't going to fight David Haye on June 20 as planned. Instead, Klitschko will attempt to unify the IBF/WBO heavyweight titles against WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev.

Wladimir Klitschko isn't going to fight David Haye on June 20 as planned. Instead, Klitschko will attempt to unify the IBF/WBO heavyweight titles against WBA champion Ruslan Chagaev.

NEW YORK (BASN) – IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was forced to find a new opponent for June 20, after David Haye pulled out last Wednesday because of an injury in training camp.

Instead of wasting time waiting on Haye to recover, Klitschko (52-3, 46 KOs) has decided to move forward to fight as scheduled. His new opponent is WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (25-0, 17 KOs).

Klitschko vs. Chagaev will commence at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany in front of 60,000 natives. The fight is significant because, the winner would have unified three of the major four world heavyweight championship belts.

A Klitschko victory would solidify the Klitschko brothers’ grasp of the world heavyweight championship. Both Wladimir and Vitali, the WBC champion, are the only siblings to simultaneously hold world heavyweight titles.

Klitschko deserves credit

David Haye blew his shot at fighting for a world heavyweight title, as a result of an injury suffered in camp.

David Haye blew his shot at fighting for a world heavyweight title, as a result of an injury suffered in camp.

David Haye made a huge spectacle by taunting Klitschko into a title fight for more than one year. Haye wore t-shirts of himself holding decapitated heads of the Klitschkos while standing over their severed corpses. Haye has disrespected the Klitschkos, while promoting himself as the next big threat to the Klitschko regime.

To Wladimir’s credit, he answered Haye’s ruthless insults and pesky challenges by signing a contract in defense of the world heavyweight championship.

Haye’s injury questionable?

When the initial announcement was made that Haye had to pull out of the biggest fight of his life, it was said that he had a hand injury. However, additional reports said that Haye suffering from a back injury.

A hand injury is one thing, but a back injury raises speculation as to whether Haye’s injury is truly legit considering Haye is a very trim, ripped, and always in spectacular physical condition.

One way to answer skeptics is for Haye to undergo a series of physical examinations that will consist of an X-Ray and an MRI exam.

Another theory as to why Haye pulled out of a fight with Wladimir is because maybe he’s not ready to challenge either Wladimir or Vitlai for a world heavyweight championship. Klitschko is a very tall fighter. He’s muscular and quite athletic.

Klitschko could be the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division today. That along with the fact that Haye doesn’t have the best chin makes it even more believable that the British cruiserweight sensation needed more time to get ready.

Haye’s missed opportunity

Haye actually wanted a postponement of the fight until July, but Klitschko had already waited for more than a year for Haye. Klitschko had passed on the chance to fight Chris Arreola in April and hasn’t fought since he dispatched former two-time heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman inside five rounds last December.

Should Klitschko defeat Chagaev, Klitschko has until September to fight Alexander Povetkin. There is also the winner of a scheduled 12-round heavyweight title eliminator between Eddie Chambers and Alexander Dimitrenko. The winner is guaranteed the WBO No. 1-ranking and a title shot against Klitschko.

Chagaev’s availability

Can Ruslan Chagaev take the heavyweight titles away from Wladimir? Very few people give the unbeaten champion a legit chance.

Can Ruslan Chagaev take the heavyweight titles away from Wladimir? Very few people give the unbeaten champion a legit chance.

Chagaev was scheduled to fight WBA “interim” champion Nikolai Valuev in Finland on May 29. However, a Finnish boxing commission had questions about blood work relating to Chagaev’s Hepatitis B diagnosis several years ago.

Chagaev also suffered a ruptured Achilles heel injury and there are rumors of Chagaev having a detached retina. Nonetheless, he called a press conference last week to announce that his blood levels have been stabilized for several years and that he’s fit to fight.

Klitschko needed an opponent and Chagaev was available. It’s a more significant fight in the heavyweight division because Klitschko has an opportunity to add another heavyweight title to his collection. Klitschko could move a major step forward toward being accepted as the world heavyweight champion in the public eye.

Chagaev, who fought as recently as February, won a technical decision against previously unbeaten Carl Davis Drummond. Chagaev also has a decision victory against John Ruiz.

Chagaev is a very skillful boxer. He’s a southpaw (left-handed) and likes to use the ring to his advantage similar to the way Sultan Ibragimov did. Chagaev is in good condition and likes to apply pressure fighting on the inside. Chagaev could have a lot of problems on the inside should he stand directly in front of Klitschko’s power.

HBO says no!

Klitschko-Haye promised to be an explosive heavyweight championship fight between two of the fastest, hardest punchers in the division. Three television networks were going to air the fight live. RTL, the host network in Germany, Sentanta Sports, who has Haye signed to an exclusive contract, and HBO Sports.

HBO was set to air the fight in the U.S. live, but when Haye pulled out so did the AOL/Time Warner network giant. Klitschko-Chagaev most likely isn’t going to be as explosive as Klitschko-Haye. HBO had an opportunity to bailout once Haye got hurt and they did.

HBO has final approval of all opponents for fights they air on their network. Fearing that Klitschko-Chagaev could be another Klitschko-Ibragimov — a chess match that with little action because of both fighters styles and reluctance toward being hit, HBO passed.