By Clive Bernath: About three weeks ago I got a call from a very reliable source informing me that IBF/WBO and IBO heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko had offered WBA champ David Haye a 50%/%50 split and no options to face him in a heavyweight unification fight in September.
My initial response was, ‘wow, at last, David surely can’t turn down this offer, can he? But when I gathered my thoughts I reasoned: ‘hang on a minute, surely Wladimir won’t give up half the money when he is the double champ and the legitimate and universally recognised world No.1?
’No’, my source insisted, ‘its true straight split down the middle’
With the aforementioned in mind I thought, ‘great, that’s the deal David wanted, now he’s got it I’ll wait patiently for the impending announcement’. Well, no sooner had I received the phone call than news surfaced that Audley Harrison had relinquished his European heavyweight crown and was pursuing an all British world heavyweight title fight against Haye. Harrison vs. Haye is another story which I’ll come back to later. Lets try and make sense of Wladimir vs. Klitschko first.
Without elaborating too much this is the story so far as I understand it. Haye relinquished his world cruiserweight titles to ‘clean up the heavyweight division. His main focus of course being a showdown with either or both IBF/WBO champ Wladimir Klitschko and older brother and WBC king, Vitali Klitschko. Haye began his campaign to get the brothers in the ring by ambushing Wladimir on an escalator in a shopping centre and pretty much begged Wladimir to defend his title against him even though up until then he had only fought once at heavyweight and that against a fighter hard pushed to be ranked in the European top 10.
When that did not work Haye repeatedly disrespected both Wladimir and Vitali through the media until Wladimir finally took the bait and contracts were signed for a June 20 clash in Germany. However, with little more than three weeks to go before the fight Haye pulled out after injuring his back in training.
According to sources in the camp, the normally mild mannered Wladimir was said to have gone ballistic when he heard Haye had passed on their date. With a full training camp behind him Wladimir managed to secure the services of Ruslan Chagaev on the June 20 date and subsequently went on to force a ninth round retirement of the former WBA king.
With Haye recovered from his back injury the trash talking Londoner homed in on big brother Vitali. Apparently terms had been agreed for a September, 2009 showdown but without any warning Haye jumped ship and signed to face 7ft WBA titleholder Nikolay Valuev instead, whom he squeaked past via majority decision in November 2009.
Fast forward to April 2010 and it was Wladimir’s turn to call out the ‘Haymaker’ on Youtube
Please bear with me I’m nearly up to date!
Fast forward again and earlier this week one of Haye’s co promoter s Kalle Sauerland gave his take on why Klitschko vs. Haye is a non starter in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph: “David (Haye) is keen on fighting one of the Klitschko brothers. But the devil is in the financial details,” insisted Sauerland. “There are multiple parties with a financial stake in Haye’s fights.
“We’re just one of those parties. Haye has become a national superstar in the UK, and thus the conditions have changed. Haye earns as much money in the UK as the Klitschkos earn in Germany. Therefore, that makes reaching a deal much more difficult. We have to insist on a sensible financial agreement.”
No sooner had that statement been made Wladimir Klitschko’s advisor Shelly Finkel made the following statement on fightnews.com
.” What are those details (financial)? “The offer was 50%/50%, no options,” said Finkel. Finkel also said that he hasn’t heard from David Haye’s manager Adam Booth in three weeks after initially speaking to him half-a-dozen times.
According to Fightnews the main hang-up was that the Haye camp wanted to keep 100% of the UK TV revenue and give Wladimir 100% of the German TV revenue while team Klitschko wanted to put all the TV money in one pot and split it 50/50.
If indeed the above is true a 50/50 spit seems more than fair considering Wladimir is the proven champ and longstanding champ but what we also must consider is Haye’s 50% piece of the pie I suspect has many more mouths to feed, with both Golden Boy Promotions and Sauerland promotions having a promotional interest in him.
For the moment at least a Haye vs Klitschko clash seems a lifetime away, which is a shame because it is a fight the heavyweight division desperately needs.
Wladimir is now set to defend his titles against mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin in Frankfurt, Germany on September 11.
Meanwhile it looks like Haye is set to defend his title for the second time, possibly on November 13, against underachieving former Olympic super-heavyweight champion Audley Harrison, though contracts have not yet been signed.
While Haye vs. Harrison is an intriguing fight in the UK it means absolutely nothing anywhere else. And lets be honest, Audley no more deserves a shot at the heavyweight title than Haye did when he challenged Nikolay Valuev in November 2009. And of course a win over Harrison will mean nothing when it comes to bragging rights around the negotiation table
Any boxing fan will readily admit that there is only two heavyweight title fights remotely interesting, David Haye vs a Klitschko.
From the outside looking in it does appear that Wladimir is pulling out all the stops to accommodate Haye. And what David must also realise is that when he took the step up to heavyweight he not only promised to clean up the division, he promised to do it in style. So far he has failed to do both. As Wladimir said David on that escalator in Germany, ’talk is cheap’ David, over to you?
July 7, 2010