Haye vs Klitschko: Deal making and the Axis of evil!

By P.H. Burbridge: Well, as I thought the David Haye – Wladimir Klitschko fight is back on and it looks like we can expect to see these two finally get each other out of their systems on June 20th most likely in Germany. Recent reports indicate a possible Berlin site. Although, we’re not privy to the terms of this newly agreed upon deal it’s safe to assume that David Haye is being treated more like a challenger than the “star” he thought he was when these talks began. One thing that isn’t discussed all that much is the shrewd business dealings of the Klitschko’s. Some might say “shrewd” doesn’t adequately describe their approach..

Wladimir KlitschkoBut, for the most part deals are structured EXACTLY the way they want and if terms are not agreed to and align specifically with their agenda then they shut it down and look else where. I thought the statement by Bernd Boente, Klitschko’s agent that Adam Booth, Haye’s trainer/manager was incapable of negotiating a deal of this magnitude was a little payback for Haye’s ridiculous “Decapitated Klitschko” photo.

There’s a clear dislike between these two camps so, much so that Team Haye had to bring in Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer and Team Klitschko had to bring in Shelly Finkel to get everyone back to the table. If those two gentlemen had not gotten involved then this deal was probably going to die which doesn’t say much for Booth and Boente. I understand talks coming to a stand still over terms but what did Schaefer and Finkel say that hadn’t already been said by Booth and Boente? Get your heads out of your (insert word here!) gentlemen and finalize deals.

The fans demand it!

I’m sure on some level Team Klitschko feels that they have been goaded into a fight with someone who is not worthy. It was Haye and Booth who sold the Klitschko’s this deal on the pretense that they could deliver Stamford Bridge and when they decided to back out of that for what they termed “the deepening worldwide economic crisis” translation, they couldn’t fill those 40,000 seats then it became obvious that they had over sold Haye’s drawing power in England. It was then that Boente and Wladimir became less accommodating. If they weren’t going to be compensated for the live gate then they wanted a bigger share of the UK PPV receipts.

That’s logical, right!?! Well, to add insult to injury Adam Booth stated that Wladimir was hardly known in the UK and that Haye should receive the majority of that revenue because he “was the attraction”. For Team Klitschko they probably saw that as another in a long line of Haye insults. After all Wladimir IS the champion and Haye isn’t even the mandatory challenger. Under normal circumstances a voluntary challenger would get what he got. (See Hasim Rahman and Tony Thompson) That’s why everyone strides to be the champ so at some point they are in the driver seat money-wise.

One misstep was followed by another for Team Haye. Frankly, once discussions started breaking down their follow up suggestions didn’t help matters. They suggested moving the site to Madison Square Garden. I’m not sure what these guys are thinking but Wladimir’s not exactly a house hold name in America and most people here have no clue who David Haye is. Haye’s never once fought in America and now you guy’s want New York City and the Mecca!?!

Gentlemen, PLEASE! David Haye’s NOT Ricky Hatton who can get Brit’s on the first flight to Vegas once his fights are announced. So, what the HELL? The only heavyweight championship fight that might capture the AMERICAN fight publics imagination is a fight between one of the Klitschko’s and Chris Arreola. But, it sure won’t be held at Madison Square Garden. It will be in Southern California where Arreola CAN actually deliver a sold out Staple Center. I’d love to hear Team Haye’s rationale on Madison Square Garden or any other U.S location for that matter. Wladimir was willing to fight Haye in his home country for financial reasons ONLY.

I think he’s completely confident that he’ll beat Haye so it doesn’t really matter where it takes place in his mind. But, once it became clear that there wasn’t enough value in staging the fight there then they decided to salvage what they could with Wladimir’s fan base in Germany. That’s all. Team Haye should have just given in on the UK PPV receipts so he could fight in front of his home fans and given himself that edge. He needs all the help he can get at this point. Now, he’s got to go to Germany where he’ll be the villain. Good luck! He’s going to need a knockout to win this fight. If it’s close it’s going to Wladimir.

Aside from Team Haye’s missteps in the initial discussions I do think they were subjected to something I find absolutely unbelievable. If reports are to be believed regarding various clauses in the Haye contract then the Klitschko’s have taken things to a ridiculous extreme. I understand wanting a rematch clause if you’re the champion so you can try to get your belt back but don’t make the man agree to fight your brother especially if it means that he’ll have to relinquish HIS title in order to do it. To put it mildly I think that’s a complete and total misuse of power. Frankly, it’s a disgrace. I would hope the sanctioning bodies would have a say in all this after all it is their title.

That one aspect is the most absurd thing out of this whole deal. Completely out of line and completely UNETHICAL if it’s true!

As fans, we want our champions to fight their mandatory challengers and retain their title in the ring not by some back room Joe Louis screw him for 10 years self serving side deal!

Team Klitschko, “I’m giving you guy’s the benefit of the doubt on that one but if it is indeed true then I’ll be the first one to say openly that I hope David Haye knock’s out Wladimir, knock’s out Vitali, knock’s out your sister, knock’s out your sister’s boyfriend and any other opponent you saw fit to force his signature on the contract.”

(Please feel free to contact P.H. Burbridge via email at with any comments or feedback.)

Article posted on 06.03.2009

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