THE WAR: WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO vs. DAVID HAYE

By Francis Walker
Updated: May 23, 2011

NEW YORK, NY—The unified world heavyweight championship will be at stake when Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye finally meet after three years taunting and bashing one another in the media.

The insults will end, but fists will fly on Saturday, July 2, at Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany. Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs), puts his unified IBF/WBO and IBO titles against Haye (25-1, 23 KOs) the WBA champion in what has appropriately been billed as “THE WAR.”

“I’ve knocked out 49 fighters, and David Haye is going to be 50th on my list,” Klitschko said.

Wladimir Klitschko vs. David Haye is the most intriguing heavyweight title fight since Lennox Lewis’ dramatic win against Wladimir’s older brother, Vitali Klitschko in June 2003. Trailing on all three judges’ scorecards, Lewis desperately needed a knockout to retain his WBC title. Lewis opened a huge cut above Klitschko’s left eye, as a result of a hard right hand. The fight was stopped after the sixth round, via doctor’s recommendation.

Since 2006, Wladimir has dominated the heavyweight division. He knocked out Byrd in a rematch to win the IBF title and picked up the WBO and unrecognized IBO championships along the way. Klitschko, has successfully defended his titles nine times.

Overall, Klitschko, a gold medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, is a veteran of 18 world title fights. However, as dominant Klitschko is, he has never faced a challenger like Haye.

Haye isn’t your typical punch and grab heavyweight. Haye is more athletic than any other boxer Klitschko has faced. The former unified WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight titlist has always dreamt of becoming heavyweight champion.

Haye has impressed a lot of people since abandoning his cruiserweight class for a crack at heavyweight supremacy.

Haye outpointed 7′ 3,” 320 pound Nikolai Valuev to win the WBA heavyweight title in November 2009. In two successful defenses, Haye has more than likely placed a lid on the careers of three-time WBA champion John Ruiz (TKO 9) and 2000 Olympic gold medalist, Audley Harrison (KO 3).

Klitschko-Haye is such an intriguing fight that more than 150 countries will televise the fight live. HBO is amongst one of the broadcast partners that will televise this action-packed fight along with German-based RTL and Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.

Klitschko is 6′ 7,” 240 pounds and likes to control the pace of his fights behind great distance and a punishing left jab. Klitschko has excellent speed and movement for a heavyweight.

Klitschko should defeat Haye, but remember two of his three losses were knockout losses by guys with fast hands that can punch.

Corrie Sanders’ left-hand out of the southpaw stance was too blinding for Wladimir to time and avoid.

Although Klitschko unleashed a relentless beating to Lamon Brewster in the first bout, the big super heavy simply ran out of gas and was pummeled inside five rounds of another exciting heavyweight fight.

Haye doesn’t have Sanders’ technical skills or Brewster’s brute strength. But Haye can punch and he is fast. Does he have the power and the timing to end Klitschko’s heavyweight legacy?

I’m not to certain he does, but anything is possible in boxing.

Hopkins surpasses Foreman, boxing’s oldest world champion ever.

Bernard Hopkins continues to make history.

Even at age 46.

Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) surpassed George Foreman as to oldest boxer to win a world title by beating hometown favorite Jean Pascal (26-2-16 KOs) in a rematch, via 12-round unanimous decision to claim the WBC light-heavyweight championship at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on Saturday. HBO televised the event here in the United States.

“[Beating the record] feels great,” Hopkins said. “I did exactly what I wanted to do, which was break this record. I knew it was going to be a tough fight, but I wasn’t going to be denied. You don’t get a chance to do this too often. You are supposed to win titles when you are younger…in your twenties, not when you’re 46.”

In the first fight, Hopkins was floored twice in the first four rounds of the contest but dominated the remainder of the fight. Pascal retained his title, via 12-round split draw. Many people believed Hopkins, a former undisputed world middleweight champion, veteran of 25 world title fights, and future Hall of Famer, deserved the decision against Pascal. The WBC ordered the rematch and Hopkins was willing to fight Pascal once again in Montreal.

The judges scored the bout 116-112, 115-113, and 115-114. Although Pascal hurt Hopkins early in the fight, there were no knockdowns. Pascal was forced to box Hopkins, but when it counted the old champion was able to outmaneuver the younger 28 year-old former champion. Pascal, like the first fight, did hurt Hopkins with his right hand. However, Pascal had dry spots when he didn’t do anything. Hopkins kept moving, jabbing, and kept his hands busy.

I always fight with my heart, but I had to be careful too,” Hopkins said. “I knew this guy was dangerous. He punched hard, but I knew I had to be strong too. Like I said before, I saved the best for last and gave you a blockbuster performance.”

Pascal is a very trim and well-prepared athlete, but he is not nearly on the level of fighter as Hopkins.

“I want to box as well as I can, and I think there are still great fights to come before I leave this game. I give you breathtaking!”

There are a number of fights that appear to interest the newly crowned WBC light-heavyweight champion. Hopkins is interested in a fight with another Canadian native, IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute. Chad Dawson is also on the radar too.

Chad Dawson returns with a ‘W’

The undercard of Hopkins’ historic win was highlighted by the return of Chad Dawson. The former WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion fought for the first time since his loss to Pascal last summer. Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) performed a 12-round drumming of Adrian Diaconu (27-3, 15 KOs) in the televised co-feature. Overall, it was a very workmanlike performance. Dawson jabbed from the onset and basically outboxed Diaconu. It wasn’t an overly impressive e performance from Dawson, but he was dominant and well in command under new trainer, Emmanuel Steward. The judges’ scored the bout 118-110, 117-11, and 116-112.

Dawson fought for the first time since losing a technical 11-round decision to Pascal last August. Dawson, who could end up fighting Hopkins, has recorded a string of victories that include decisions over Glen Johnson (twice), Antonio Tarver (twice), and heavyweight title challenger Tomasz Adamek.

Hopkins vs. Pascal 2 PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions