Haye, Adamek will fight Klitschkos
The story of last year was the Klitschko brothers failing to get their men with Vitali failing to make a battle of the giants against former WBA champion Nikolai Valeuv, Wladimir Klitschko being openly ducked by mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin and both brothers not being able to tempt WBA champion David Haye into a big-money unification bout.
Not only that, but despite having always drawn good viewing figures for HBO, they were still exiled from the lucrative land of US premium cable.
To begin with, it looked like 2011 was going to be no better. First K-2, the Klitschkos promotional company, was outmaneuvered by their old adversary Don King, with the colorful promoter able to stop Vitali Klitschko from defending his WBC title against Tomasz Adamek this March. It was a painful reverse for the elder Klitschko as it stopped him being the centerpiece of what would have been Madison Square Garden’s celebration of the 30th anniversary of "The Fight of the Century," Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier I. The fact that the defense against King’s fighter Odlanier Solis ended up being such a joke must only have rubbed salt into the wounds.
Wladimir had his own problems with talks to finally nail down the ever-elusive David Haye. Negoiations to finally make the unification bout seemed on the brink of success only for the British boxer to first reject the proposed April 30 date and then refused the fight outright when Klitschko tried to rearrange a previously cancelled stay-busy fight against countryman Derek Chisora for the same date.
And then the Klitschkos' luck changed.
Firstly, Adamek came back to the Ukrainians with a proposal that was perhaps even more attractive and certainly more lucrative than the original March date. Adamek’s homeland of Poland is currently putting the finishes touches to its plans to host the 2012 European Championship soccer tournament, coincidentally in conjunction with Ukraine. As such the country had undergone a massive construction program with several open-air stadiums ready to open this fall, all capable of hosting the 50,000 paying spectators that fight fans and K2 accountants have come to expect of Klitschko title defenses.
Additionally Adamek’s promoters, Main Event, were in the final stages of launching pay-per-view in Poland, so promising the Klitschkos a lucrative pay day from the paying Polish television spectator.
Secondly, thanks to Wladimir’s abdominal tear not healing as quickly as anticipated, the controversial stay-busy fight against Chisora was cancelled, paving the way for a deal to be struck with Haye. With the WBA champion having been commercially humbled by the paucity of options available to him, the fight was for once relatively easy to make, hopefully putting behind the disappointments of 2009 and 2010.
For the Klitschkos, all that was left was deciding which of the brothers would face each opponent. Unsurprisingly, each man gets the fight they always wanted. Assuming he successfully navigates a mooted stay-busy fight on June 4, Vitali gets to square off against Adamek, the opponent with whom he had been trying to neogiate since October, with a confirmed fight date of Sept. 10 and either the capital Warsaw or Wroclaw as hosts.
Wladimir, meanwhile, gets the chance to make good on his threat to leave his hated rival Haye’s face looking like a pizza on either the June 25 or July 2, with no venue confirmed as both camps field offers from a number sources, including those outside of Germany. Even better, according to the brothers’ manager Bernard Boente, both fights will likely air live on HBO, the network that only last year proclaimed that they were out of the business of broadcasting heavyweight boxing.
So as we stand today the Klitschkos have completed a remarkable comeback after a frustrating couple of years. There are still things that could get in their way, but all being well, both brothers have the platform to secure their legacies in the biggest possible matches watched by the largest and most financially lucrative audience possible.
And if things couldn’t get any better next week sees the premiere of a feature film profiling the brothers at the Tribeca Film Festival.