Should the mischievous among you pair the names David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko together in the same sentence, expect to stir extreme reaction in your listener. Their story has been a saga, stretched over several years with enough twists and turns to have the scriptwriters in Albert Square craning their necks.
It was late 2008 when Haye started calling out both Wladimir and Vitali at a time when the heavyweight division beckoned but neither really knew who he was. Soon after Vitali was a guest on Setanta Sports the night we watched Haye hammer Monte Barrett in five eventful rounds on his debut against the big boys. The pair sparred verbally and engagingly afterwards and the seed was sown.
Indeed, it was Vitali who was originally penned in as an opponent for the 'Hayemaker' in 2009, but having irked Wladimir when ambushing him in front of the cameras on a promotional visit to London, Haye found the brothers switching positions for first crack.
Shortly afterwards Haye appeared on tour sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with the brothers' severed heads in his hands. The scene was very much set for showdown in Germany in the summer of 2009.
What happened thereafter varies according to who you listen to but Haye pulled out in the build-up citing injury and the arguments have raged since. The backdrop of the imminent Setanta collapse probably played a part in his decision. But there is no doubt that Haye was facing the thin end of the wedge thanks to a contract that is thought to have been in the region of 30-70 and containing a rematch clause as well as the promise for Haye to fight Vitali later if he won both. Sixty thousand tickets had apparently been sold.
Wladimir was so peeved at Haye's withdrawal that he refused to entertain the Englishman for more than a year and has smouldered ever since. Again it was Vitali who looked set to step into the breach for an autumn showdown but tempted by a significantly more appealing contract as well as an easier assignment, Haye danced sideways towards Nikolay Valuev and skipped cleverly around the giant Russian to land the WBA title in November 2009. The upwardly mobile World Champion now had bargaining power too.
Last year, though not short on action, proved frustrating for boxing fans eyeing up the big clash. Wladimir belatedly stopped Eddie Chambers in March while Vitali thumped the over-matched Albert Sosnowski in May. In between Haye looked spectacular in becoming only the second man to KO tough guy John Ruiz.
Throughout the summer both camps blamed the other while pimping the possibility of a clash yet everybody looked elsewhere for autumn alternatives. Vitali beat up Shannon Briggs in a compelling one-sided affair as Wladimir was forced to go over old ground in a mandatory against lumbering Samuel Peter.
However, it was Haye's expected demolition of Audley Harrison last November which might have tipped the balance towards the inevitable. Whether it was the acknowledgement that the Londoner is really the only game in town and an exciting draw or simply the realisation on all sides that the protracted bitching was wearing thin on an expectant and demanding sporting public, who knows? But on the back of that controversial Harrison mess, Wladimir was quick to announce his willingness to accept a 50-50 split; the fight seemed imminent.
Still negotiations floundered this time on TV money splits and the Klitschko contract with Germany's RTL which meant that from left field Dereck Chisora usurped Haye in the pecking order. Maybe it was a red herring but Chisora was lined up for a December fight until a stomach injury ruled out Klitschko just days before and the match rescheduled for this April. Thankfully more promising and cordial negotiations behind the scenes between Adam Booth and Bernd Boente during January and February produced the desired effect; on March 6 Wladimir announced Chisora out, Haye in and the dreams of a sport were finally realised.
Unsurprisingly the details are inexact with June 25 or July 2 pencilled in (preference being the latter) with one of three German football stadiums as likely venues. More intriguingly, Vitali is on standby in case little brother doesn't recover from that stomach injury, so Haye will fight 'a' Klitschko in the summer. It is (1.06) that Wladimir lines up and (1.5) Vitali is in the other corner when that bell sounds.
Punters won't genuinely believe it until they see the two main protagonists square up this summer but at least with contracts signed we can get stuck into the betting. Wladimir is a worthy favourite (1.65) with Haye likely to attract plenty of interest at (2.48). Will it happen? Can Haye win? Will it be worth watching? You can bet on all three.
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