As told to Peter Nelson
This fight is the first glimmer of interest America has had in a heavyweight fight in some time.
It could be an exciting fight, particularly if David Haye can get inside or force Klitschko to fight going backwards (something Klitschko can’t do). Haye has little chance because of Klitschko’s phenomenal jab. If Wladimir’s seated in his corner, he can hit you with it in yours.
Since his last defeat [in 2004], Klitschko has become a grabber and a holder. His trainer Manny Steward taught him that. But he needs to do more than jab in this fight — not to win, but to prove himself to American fans. For each fighter, how the fight unfolds will be as important as who wins and who loses. As the favorite, Wladimir cannot lose and gain, but as the underdog, Haye can. He will have to take sizable risks to do so.
While Wladimir can win with just the jab, the union limit on hands is not limited to one. During a Klitschko fight, I once had a man in Madison Square Garden ask me, “Stop snoring because you’re keeping me awake.” I blame this style and consequent decline of the heavyweight division on Lennox Lewis, because he showed that a man who is 250 pounds can move and box.
Wladimir took this fight for greater acceptance, achievement, and identity. Boxing around the world does not notice the heavyweights. We no longer have a universally appreciated World Heavyweight Champion. Over the years, Wladimir has become a star in Germany. In taking his heavyweight titles to that nation, he has become a world heavyweight champion who is celebrated in Germany, instead of being celebrated all over the world.
They give us an exciting fight and it will help that division.