By Paul McCreath: Now that David Haye has pulled out of his proposed bout with Vitali Klitschko, the question arises as to who will Vitali fight now. He was supposed to meet Haye on Sept 12. One can assume that he would want to find another opponent for that same date and place but who will it be?
Until recently, Vitali was negotiating with Chris Arreola for the September bout. Haye looked like a bigger attraction so he was chosen until he backed out. It would seem logical that Arreola would become the best choice for "plan B". This may not be as automatic as it seems. Arreola's team has shown some reluctance to throw Chris into the deep end with Vitali quite so soon. Understandably they think he may not be ready yet since he has still to meet his first top 10 fighter. There has been talk of an eliminator with Oleg Maskaev which would give Chris more experience before meeting Vitali. My guess is that Vitali will pick Arreola as his first choice but it is anybody's guess if Chris will jump at the chance. Probably he will in my opinion.
If Arreola turns down the opportunity for a title shot, another good choice would be Eddie Chambers. Eddie would be seen as a safer risk because he doesn't hit as hard as Chris and he is smaller. Eddie is already in the mandatory position in the WBO for a shot at Wladimir Klitschko but he will likely have to wait until after Wladimir takes care of his IBF obligation to fight Alex Povetkin. He may think that a quick chance against Vitali and the World Boxing Council title is better than waiting for Wlad. One alphabet title is about as good as the other.
Ray Austin and Oleg Maskaev are both rated highly by the WBC but Vitali does not want to meet Maskaev and Austin is a Don King fighter. The Klitschkos do not deal with Don King so I think you can scratch Ray from the possibility list. The only other name that comes to mind among those who are available would be Kevin Johnson if he gets by Odlanier Solis on August 15. Solis might also be interested if he beats Johnson. Maybe August 15 is the key if Vitali is willing to wait that long. Oh yes, there is always John Ruiz. No, I don't think so. It just would not sell.
In my opinion the best alternative now is Chris Arreola. Whatever you might think of him he would be an attraction to the American fans as long as he wants the fight. We should not have to wait long to find out.