By Rick Reeno
Bernd Boente, the manager of WBO/WBA/IBO/IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (59-3, 50 KOs), spoke to BoxingScene.com about the ongoing dispute to resolve the outstanding issues connected to the mandatory fight against WBA "regular" heavyweight beltholder Alexander Povetkin (25-0, 17 KOs).
A few weeks ago, the World Boxing Association issued an order which granted Wladimir's request to have a voluntary defense. According to the order, Wladimir was granted permission to defend his "super title" prior to facing Povetkin - but their respective camps were given a deadline of February 28 to reach an agreement for their mandatory fight. Additionally, the WBA set down a purse bid date of March 18th for Klitschko-Povetkin, and they set down a purse bid split of 75-25 in Wladimir's favor.
Since that order was issued, Boente and K2 Promotions, the promotional company owned by Wladimir and his brother Vitali, submitted a petition to the WBA's insistence that both sides reach an agreement before Wladimir's voluntary.
Wladimir and his team stand united in the belief that their upcoming event will be damaged by negotiating a deal with a future opponent prior to the voluntary defense. Also, Boente and K2 need additional time to scout for available venues, and TV dates, for Klitschko-Povetkin - a task that Boente indicates would not be possible to achieve by the March purse bid date.
There is also the issue of the WBA directing Wladimir to make the voluntary defense on a date in April. Due to scheduling conflicts, Boente is hoping to have Wladimir back in the ring by May 4th.
"[Our petition] is about the necessity for the negotiations or the purse bid [being ordered to take place] before those upcoming [interim] fights of Wladimir and Povetkin. Both will probably do interim fights. Because I personally think it would harm both of those fights," Boente told BoxingScene.com.
"If you do negotiations before those fights, it would definitely have a negative influence on those fights because people will think that those opponents are weak opponents and the winners are already cleared. That's not such a good idea from a PR point of view, and that's what the lawyers on our side side sent to the WBA and also you can't have a purse bid without knowing where such a fight and when such a fight can happen. You need to know what kind of arenas are available, when the fight could happen. There are many parameters that you have need to check before you go into a purse bid."
"[The date of the voluntary] is also something that we have to discuss with the WBA. At this moment, in the ruling they had that Wladimir has to fight inside of April, but all of April in the big arenas in Germany are blocked because of the hockey players. The same problem that you have in the United States with the big arenas because of the NHL. You don't know beforehand how long these teams will be involved in the playoffs. All of these big arenas are blocked and the Klitschkos always fight in big arenas or else financially it makes no sense. Therefore we asked for a date in the first week in May, but let's see what comes next."
Sauerland Event, who promote Povetkin, have also filed a protest. One of their main issues is the WBA's split of 75% in favor of Wladimir. They strongly believe that Povetkin deserves more. Boente is also not pleased with the WBA's split, but his argument is the exact opposite.
"We are against this and we protested, because we believe that he's worth less than that," Boente said.
In terms of the opponent, Francesco Pianeta (28-0-1, 15KOs) has been rumored to get the nod, but Boente makes it clear that nothing will be finalized until the WBA gives them permission to fight in May and approves the opponent of choice. The WBA's decision is expected by next week at the latest.
"We can not do things against the WBA. We have to wait and see what their decision [will be] and we have to discuss with them the next opponent, because in this case they are the organization that has to give us the green light," Boente said.
And regarding their decision to fight on May 4th, Boente says their event will not be affected in any way by the huge Showtime pay-per-view taking place on the same date. The Showtime event, taking place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, will feature Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul "Canelo" Alvaez in separate fights.
"The [Mayweather] fight is not even shown in Germany and most of the European states. Maybe in England, I don't know. But I know for sure it's not shown in the Russian speaking countries, in Germany, in Austria, in Switzerland, in Italy, In France. Maybe in England it could be. But over here in Europe, Floyd Mayweather is honestly totally unknown," Boente said.