• Steve Bunce

Haye may need WBC title to entice Vitali

Steve Bunce September 11, 2012

The Vitali Klitschko we saw against Manuel Charr on Saturday was clearly bored and lacking in any form of motivation. The first punch he threw was a backhand slap - a dismissive gesture.

I think it dawned on Klitschko before the first bell sounded that this guy was an absolute no-hoper. And it probably dawned on Charr at around the same time that, for all his bold talk, he was just out of his depth. The contest was stopped in the fourth round due to a cut above Charr's eye.

Klitschko wasn't interested against Charr - but I do think he retains an interest in boxing. My understanding is that he took the Charr fight because of his forthcoming political activities in Ukraine. There was no way he could have taken a risky bout, then campaigned with cuts and bruises on his face.

We know he will get fully involved in politics for now, and then early next year we'll see how he feels about boxing. I think there's every chance he'll fight David Haye - although Haye insists there has been no communication recently between the camps.

Haye has jumped on the fact that beating Charr is not the way to finish a career, and that's absolutely right. I can't see Vitali going out on that sort of fight. However, at the same time, I can't see him fighting Haye this side of Christmas - and I'm not sure Haye would want to wait until May.

Haye's been busy building bridges with the WBC, which has Klitschko as its heavyweight champion, and all I can imagine is that the Brit will soon fight for that organisation's interim title, given that Vitali's career is momentarily on hold while he competes in the Ukrainian election.

Who will Haye fight for the interim belt? Well, who cares? It's a way for Haye to get a title, and it will be a useful bargaining chip if and when negotiations recommence. Haye says he would only come back to face a Klitschko - but he'll know that winning the interim belt is like a semi-final pre-Vitali.

Let's not forget that Haye v Vitali was done and dusted for September 8. Haye then had the Dereck Chisora fight (in July) dangled in front of his face, which he couldn't say no to because of the money and exposure.

When he accepted the Chisora bout, Haye was still fighting Klitschko on the 8th. But, shrewdly, the Klitschkos decided that date was too big a risk: if Haye got bashed or cut, they would have had to put that fight back.

I reckon we will see Haye v Vitali - but it's far from definite.

Joe a no-go
Since Andre Ward notched up a terrific win over Chad Dawson at the weekend to extend his unbeaten record, we've seen him calling out Joe Calzaghe.

There is no chance of this one happening: Calzaghe probably had a year after he retired when he could have made a return. That has definitely gone now, and I can't see anybody stumping up the sort of cash that would make it worthwhile.

Ward is a brilliant fighter, but doesn't make the money he should. If it's true he only made $1.3m for fighting Chad Dawson, then there's something wrong.

Let's get one thing straight: a peak Calzaghe - the one that walked through Jeff Lacy and did jobs on Mikkel Kessler, Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr - would beat any version of Ward. It is not even up for dispute.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.