By Terence Dooley

After assurances from both sides that the contest was practically a done deal, the proposed fight between WBA heavyweight title-holder and IBO, IBF and WBO boss Wlad Klitschko has against fallen by the wayside in the wake of Wlad's announcement that he will accommodate Derek 'Del Boy' Chisora and Haye's proclamation that he is no longer prepared to deal with either of the two Klitschkos.

The relationship between Haye and Wlad has been very much like a doomed marriage, minus the fist fights, and it would appear that this on-off relationship is going to be annulled before its consummation.  Haye last night declared that he had been prepared to accept a July 2nd meeting with Wlad only for the younger Klitschko to nix the deal by signing on to fight Chisora on April 30th.

“We agreed to a date of July 2 at a venue in Germany with both Sky Sports and RTL and everybody appeared happy with the deal,” revealed Haye.  “We made a few concessions to remove past stumbling blocks and were happy to do so, as it finally looked like the fight would get made.  Even through negotiations, though, it was clear Wladimir was looking for the coward's way out. He would often come up with new obstacles and problems to overcome, and I never once sensed he fancied it.  He refused to come to England, wanted to pick his own gloves, enter the ring second, box out of the red corner and demanded a German doctor.  He also wanted his name to feature first on any promotional material ahead of the event.”

Wlad insists that he can accommodate both Derek and Haye; Haye disagrees, pointing out that Wlad only fought twice last year and would be facing two fights in nine weeks, the 30-year-old also believes that it is unfair of Wlad to expect him to remain on the shelf until the fight takes place, even though the timescale, seven months since Haye fought Audley Harrison, fits in with Haye's recent pattern of fighting at an average rate of once every six- months.


So who is to blame?  Bernd Boente represents the Klitschko brothers; he yesterday told Rick Reeno that the issue revolves around British broadcaster Sky TV and their decision to air an Amir Khan PPV in the month of April, Wlad and Haye’s preferred fight date.  Showing two PPVs in a single month would be counterintuitive for Sky as it would impact on the sales, promotion and visibility of both events.

Indeed, Wlad yesterday told Mike Marley that as far as he is aware the Haye fight is still a going concern.  “The fight with Haye is not off, the fight is on,” Klitschko stressed.  “We had to get clearance on a date with Sky TV for pay-per-view in the UK and they were concerned about conflicting with the upcoming Royal Wedding.  So the wedding is set for the end of April and we got clearance on a fight date of July 2, for sure.  I will fight Chisora on an April date, in Germany.  Then we will move forward with Haye.”

Adam Booth, who trains Haye, reacted angrily to news that Wlad will take on Chisora.  Booth feels that his fighter has had to surrender almost everything during the negotiations and that Klitschko's decision to take an interim fight is akin to admitting that the Germany-based Ukrainian wants no part of his fighter.    

So who is to blame?  Fans are thoroughly fed up of these shenanigans and their anger oscillates between both fighters, their camps and has now switched to Sky TV for their refusal to accommodate the fight in the month of April. 

Sky, however, have a point, putting on two massive PPVs in the same month is a big undertaking, especially given the fact that times are hard.  Therefore the decision to broadcast a single PPV in the month of April is a sound one, the decision to choose Amir over Haye is equally wise.

Consider, Sky would do massive numbers on Wlad-Haye but they would have to renege on their current deal with Khan in order to do this, Amir's team may resent this and it could sour their relationship with the broadcaster. 

Sure, Sky can potentially make a huge amount of money from Haye versus Wlad, and possibly Haye against Vitali should he beat the younger brother, but, in the long-term, the company stands to make more money from Khan as Haye is due to retire before the end of the year whereas Amir has a half-decade of big fights left in him.

Historically, Amir tends to fight three times per year; he eased off last year, two fights in 2010, but put in three PPVs in 2009 and represents good value.  Haye and Wlad, both of whom have withdrawn from major bouts at short-notice, are far riskier than Amir when it comes to putting on a PPV, especially in light of their recent, diva-ish behaviour.  A concert featuring Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston would be a safer PPV bet than Wlad-Haye given recent non-events.

Haye, it would appear, has become the victim of his own timescale; he will be a non-issue by this time next year as far as Sky are concerned whereas Khan will be a going concern.  No wonder, then, that the network has decided to honour its agreement with Khan, who is Mr Reliable when it comes to fight dates.

Boente’s statement that, ‘We have been in negotiations with Haye's side for three weeks regarding dates and venues in Germany and England but nothing worked.  The main point, Sky was not willing to do a second pay-per-view in the same month.  They didn't want to move the Khan fight.  There were no dates that worked in May or June, so the first available date that worked for everyone was July 2.  Sky gave their confirmation this morning’, makes sense when looked at in this way.

This delay would leave both fighters kicking their heels for the first half of 2011, Wlad-Chisora, therefore, is acceptable as it was already in play and gives Wlad a chance to shed some rust ahead of a Haye showdown, with Haye able to do the same should he take another fight in the first half of 2011. 

This leaves Haye with the possibility of three fights in 2011, AN Other Heavy, Wlad and then Vitali, this may be a hectic schedule but given the fact that David will retire soon thereafter it seems feasible that he could have three run outs this year.  His only other choice is to forget both Klits or kick his heels until Wlad is ready to fight.

However, if we were to play devil’s advocate, we could easily heap the blame on Wlad, his fight against Chisora is being described as a chance to shed rust and fine tune his skills ahead of a summer showdown with Haye.  Fans would prefer it if Wlad nixed the Chisora fight and agreed to hold fire until the summer, the fighter and his camp insist that the consensus number one needs to stay busy. 

In reality, this viewpoint is historically inaccurate, Wlad fought twice last year and generally fights twice per year; his busy 2008 was the exception rather than the norm.  A layoff is painted as par for the course for Haye but misleadingly described as anathema to Wlad, who feels he needs to be razor sharp in order to negate and frustrate his foes.

The whole sorry saga has been played out with the distinct sense that both Klitschkos resent Haye’s bluster, not to mention the antics Haye employed in order to goad them into a confrontation.  Their determination to hammer David in negotiations and Wlad’s gloating over the ease with which the Chisora fight was made seems a very Klitschko-esque way of gaining a measure of revenge for Haye’s outbursts and that infamous decapitation t-shirt. 

You can almost imagine the two brothers having a chuckle between themselves as they read Haye’s declaration that he is through dealing with K2 Promotions.  It would be typical of the Klits if they had carefully orchestrated events in order to get Haye hot under the collar ahead of the next round of negotiations.

For Haye’s part, it is hard not to feel for the Bermondsey-born bomber, his goading of the Klits led to that aborted summer 2009 showdown with Wlad, his win over Nikolay Valuev also added to his stock and made a fight with either Klitschko seem inevitable.  This latest debacle, though, has left ‘Hayemaker’ twisting in the wind, his heavyweight CV will be patchy unless he gets one of the two brothers onto his slate – I imagine that the Klits realise this. 

In giving in to all the demands – fight in Germany, allow Wlad’s name to feature prominently on the posters etc – Haye has served noticed of his overwhelming desire to take on one or both of the brothers.  However, his self-imposed retirement timescale, which once seemed a wise decision, now makes him appear a desperate man.  David is fighting against the clock with his legacy on the line, the brothers K hold all the aces when it comes to this fight, and they know it.

Adam Booth has talked about the fact that Wlad was facing a huge payday by virtue of Haye’s ability to bring Sky PPV to the table.  The broadcaster’s stance left Klitschko with a stark choice: wait another six months for Haye or take on Chisora in a huge German arena for a relatively sizeable chunk of money.  It is a no-brainer given the fact that Sky’s decision to accommodate Khan in April left the two heavies facing a half-year vacuum.

Haye’s other option, take on Vitali, means that he faces the same problems due to the PPV situation.  Indeed, I recently speculated that Haye would be best served going for Vitali first as he will have to fight the older brother at some point.  Vitali could easily jettison the WBC title or ask the organising body to allow a money-spinning unification to take place.  Boente insists that Haye-Vitali is easily doable and a different date, March or May, could see Sky PPV come back onboard.

Given all the angles, it would seem that there is no outright villain in this particular story, merely a chain of fairly banal non-events, claims and counter-claims.  Booth and Boente both agreed to take the negotiations public when speaking to Sky Sports late last year, both have been true to their word yet all they have achieved in doing this is to ensure that boxing faces a very public humiliation as one of 2011’s biggest fights goes down the pan with the year not yet a week old.

Ironically, the man who finished 2010 with a frown can now turn that frown into a smile; Derek Chisora was delighted when word got to him that Wlad will honour their fight contract.  “This news is a fantastic late Christmas present,” revealed Chisora.


“I always believed that I would fight Klitschko, and my faith has been repaid.  I was a bit worried that he might try and fight an easier touch, but I think I've earned my opportunity.  I was gutted when Wladimir pulled out of our fight just a couple of days beforehand.  But now I've got another chance to take his titles away.”


A chance, perhaps, that will now never come Haye’s way.

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