• Steve Bunce

Politics no barrier to Haye v Vitali showdown

Steve Bunce October 30, 2012

WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko looks to have landed himself a position of political power in the Ukraine - but don't worry, because unless he becomes President there will always be time for him to squeeze in a ten-week training camp and a fight.

The Klitschkos have reportedly just agreed a new five-fight television deal, and there's no way Wladimir will feature in all five; Vitali will have at least one, if not two - although his bouts may become more infrequent than we're used to: maybe one a year. His party came third in the Ukrainian election and he takes politics very seriously, so plenty of his time will be taken up.

In theory he could still fight David Haye next summer. However, there is a chance that Haye will perform a slight U-turn - he claimed that it was Vitali or nobody - and face someone else for the interim WBC title while Vitali focuses on politics.

WBC president Jose Sulaiman will like that: he knows how much money Haye can generate, hence the love-in between fighter and organisation recently. I fully expect Haye to say: "Vitali's tied up with other interests in Ukraine, I'm going to go for the interim WBC title and then we'll fight each other next year."

There are suggestions that the WBO, whose heavyweight belt Wladimir holds, is going to install Haye as mandatory challenger. Even though the German public will buy almost anything, they might think twice about 'Toegate 2'. The reality is that in the first meeting Haye only nicked a few rounds - it was, in many ways, an embarrassing performance. Haye v Wladimir would sell, but it's nowhere near as big as a Vitali battle would be. Haye is not happy with what happened in the ring the first time and I believe he wants revenge. Wlad is likely to say: "So what, get in line."

If Haye is true to his word and only comes back to meet a Klitschko, then maybe I could see him taking the Wladimir option rather than wait around for Vitali. But I still reckon it's more likely he'll go down the interim WBC title route and hold out for the older brother.

Haye v Tyson Fury for the interim WBC crown would be absolutely terrific. Let's face it, the heavyweight division needs something to happen - fast. In a crazy way, and obviously without all the crack addicts, I hope that we are heading back towards the 'Lost Generation' of the 1980s: a bunch of heavyweights who all fought each other and spawned a host of different champions. During that era we were fishing around, hoping for a new face to emerge - and then along came Mike Tyson.

There is no Mike Tyson now, but let's have a little fish and little look: new faces are badly needed.

© 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.