Boxing


The Klitschkos - True Superstars In Germany!

klitschkoby James Slater - One of the many great things about working and writing for Eastside Boxing is having the opportunity to travel to fights, both big and small, in a number of different places. This past weekend, I was ringside at the Vitali Klitschko-Albert Sosnowski WBC heavyweight title clash in Germany; and I have to say the whole weekend was a great experience (ok, the fight was no classic, but it was no stinker either, and I was never bored during the ten-rounds the bout lasted. The Johnathon Banks-Jason Gavern fight, now that's a different story!)

One of the things that struck me whilst in Germany was just how absolutely massive both Klitschko brothers are in their adopted country. Everyone, and I mean everyone - from bar staff, hotel workers, taxi cab drivers and everyday men and women from all other walks of life - know who the two giants are. The very mention of either Wladimir or Vitali invokes a smile, a cheer and an opinion. Heavyweight boxing may have lost a ton of its former appeal in America, where the average Joe has no clue who the heavyweight champion is, but this is not the case in Germany..

Admired and respected by millions of fans (it seemed to me, in talking to the German people I met, that everyone in the country is a Klitschko fan!), the two fighting "Doctors" are genuine heroes as well as being household names. And, though both men still want very much to further enhance their reputations as greats, it is this respect they enjoy at home that stops them from worrying too much about what their critics in other countries say. Labelled boring by many fans in the U.S and the U.K, the Klitschkos are seen as anything but in Deutschland.

Perhaps knowing (but not really caring) how they will never win over many fans from America and elsewhere, the Klitschkos have moved on; knowing they have no intention of ever abandoning their "safety-first" approach to boxing. And the German fans always seem to leave a Klitschko fight feeling happy and contented, with nary a boo to be heard in the sold out arenas. I'm not defending the dull performances the two brothers have given us in the past (and most likely will do again), but the point is the two champions are superstars in their own country, as well as being the two best big men on the planet, and they should not be criticised simply because they do not fight wildly or recklessly. To them and their fans, boxing is an art form, and Wladimir and Vitali are not going to change - if it ain't broke don't fix it, as they say.

What the two men do need, however, is a rival fighter capable of pushing them, testing them and of having a decent chance of beating them. This is where David "Hayemaker" Haye comes in. It's more than fair to say, that along with the two boxing brothers, Haye has gotten under the skin of their fans. As all German fans know who the Klitschkos are do they know who Haye is. And they sure are angry at the WBA champion!

Every time I spoke to someone about the Klitschkos, the next name mentioned was that of Haye. Having so offended and insulted the Klitschkos and their fans with his trash-talk, the Londoner has set himself up for one gigantic payday - but he must now take the fight or fights with the two Ukrainians. For though Haye should be given an award for the way in which he has sold himself as the villain in Germany, he is also worrying the fans over there that he will not now go through with the fight he has got everyone so steamed up about. Wanting, no, needing, to see one or even better both of their heroes punish Haye is paramount to every single German boxing fan, and there is growing concern Haye will not actually take the fight. The mere thought that Haye will not be given his beating is unbearable to the German people!

I'm not saying Haye is scared of the Klitschkos, but the fans of the two brothers sure are. The excitement the Vitali-Albert Sosnowski fight generated (with even this match-up serving to enthral the German people; 40,000 or so of them paying to see the bout live) will pale in comparison to what will happen if Haye ever does fight either brother over there. Haye would be the subject of some of the most intense dislike imaginable, and the atmosphere would be nothing short of chilling for him, but what an event it would be!

I have no idea what would happen if Haye actually pulled off a win - as loved as the Klitschkos are in Germany, a loss for either one would likely cause severe depression - but it will be so disappointing if we never get the chance to find out. The Klitschkos are superstars in Germany and David Haye's name is almost as familiar with the locals. It would be a travesty if the WBA heavyweight champion did not follow through and deliver a climax to the absolute commotion he has caused!

Article posted on 01.06.2010



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