A week ago, I penned a column about how Wladimir Klitschko was spinning in neutral by fighting a succession of unworthy no-hopers. Two weeks before that, I speculated on the best options for David Haye’s upcoming June 29th bout at Manchester Arena, and on how if Haye really wanted to stage a title fight, his only option was WBA (fake) champion Alexander Povetkin.
Both situations moved a little closer to a resolution today, when Hrunov Promotions won the purse bid for Alexander Povetkin’s mandatory challenge for Wladimir Klitschko’s WBA (real) title. No contract has been signed, but with the purse issue and Povetkin’s status as mandatory challenger both signed, sealed, and delivered, Klitschko now has a simple choice: fight Povetkin or relinquish the WBA’s black strap. Hrunov, the promoter for Povetkin, won the bid by promising more than triple the cash of the next highest bidder, a whopping $23.3 million.
No contract between Klitschko and Povetkin has been signed, but I have a hard time seeing Dr. Steelhammer say no to Povetkin. He would be the heavy favorite in a fight that promises to pay him much more than the $7.1 million his own K2 Promotions bid on the fight, no matter how the purse is sliced. Why would he balk at taking more money from Povetkin’s camp than Klitschko himself was willing to pay for rights to stage the entire kit and caboodle?
The only potential stumbling block I see to Klitschko vs. Povetkin is the possibility that the Russian Vityaz might not get past undefeated Andrzej Wawrzyk, who Povetkin is scheduled to fight in May. That aside, Klitschko vs. Povetkin looks good for late August, and big Wlad will meet his first live opponent in two years.
Of course, one final consideration is whether or not this sum of money can be reasonably guaranteed in any way. It’s easy to pull a big number from the air; it’s more difficult to back up those big dreams with cold, hard cash.
Haye Left in the Cold
If Povetkin is going after Klitschko, that leaves David Haye out in the cold and without the world title bout he talked so much about. However, it changes his dynamics for a future shot at the soon-to-be vacant regular (fake) WBA title. Prior to these recent events, David Haye was already the #1 contender of the WBA, and he would only need to fight someone like Luis Ortiz or Ruslan Chagaev in order to cement his mandatory status for a shot at Povetkin.
With Povetkin now headed for a Kltischko-delivered beatdown, Haye only has to sit pretty and wait for the WBA to invite him, as the #1 contender, to fight for the vacant regular (fake) belt. Haye can fight whoever he wants on June 29th, safe in the knowledge that the WBA will almost certainly tap him and either Ortiz or Chagaev for a future (fake) title fight, sometime after late August.