• Boxing

Haye offers Vitali Klitschko 'mega-fight'

ESPN staff
September 9, 2012
David Haye believes he is the opponent that offers Vitali Klitschko the best box office draw © Getty Images

David Haye has announced himself as the obvious choice for Vitali Klitschko's next fight after the WBC heavyweight champion overwhelmed Germany's Manuel Charr in Moscow last night.

Klitschko extended his career record to 45-2 with a technical knockout in the fourth round after opening a cut above Charr's right eye.

Now 41 years old, Klitschko is due one last big fight before hanging up his gloves, according to Haye - and he is the man who could offer the Ukrainian just the spectacle and payday with which to bow out of the sport on a high.

"I want to convince him that he hasn't had a defining fight yet," Haye told Sky Sports News. "His biggest fight to date was against Lennox Lewis, which he lost.

"Although he's had a long string of victories, none of them have been against opponents that have brought any excitement, any entertainment. [Saturday] night was against an opponent I'd never heard of - there was no headline, no hype. For someone who wants to retire, you want to retire on a big fight."

Haye, who described his situation within the sport as "limbo" following his Luxembourg Boxing Federation-licenced victory against Dereck Chisora at Upton Park, itself spawned by a brawl in the wake of Klitschko's defeat of Chisora in Munich in February.

But that should not detract from his box office appeal, Haye was quick to add - and in any case, the British fighters were offered a shot at Vitali on the proviso that they faced off first.

"My last fight against Dereck Chisora was a huge fight, a mega-fight all around the world. Potentially that could have been my last fight. If we were both to retire now, I know that I would have finished on a high. That fight against Charr last night was definitely not a high.

"The whole boxing world knows that, other than Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fighting, the next biggest fight on the planet is myself versus Vitali Klitschko. The people need to see it."

Klitschko is currently campaigning to be elected mayor of Kiev, which Haye joked may have played a role in the 41-year-old's decision to fight a low-profile bout.

"He obviously didn't want to fight me before his election - maybe he knew it'd be a tough fight for him," said Haye. "Hopefully after he loses his election he'll realise he wants a mega-fight, and there's only one guy he can get that from."

As an opponent, the 31-year-old from Bermondsey was keen to pay tribute to Klitschko's longevity and reputation in the ring, in stark contrast to the trash talking that preceded his bout with Vitali's younger brother Wladimir, Haye's last fight before entering an aborted retirement in 2011.

"He's a tough guy, and he's a lot bigger than me - he's 6ft 8in, I'm 6ft 3in, he's about 3st heavier than myself - so once again it'll be me in a David-and-Goliath-type battle. It's a fight that I know I can win, and I'd like the opportunity to go out there and do it."

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