British-based boxer, the current WBA World Heavyweight Champion of the World, David Haye, and his camp, have climbed down from their previous position and offered IBF and WBO champion, Wladimir Klitschko, a 50:50 split of the purse for an intended World Title Fight.
With three belts on the line, this is one of the biggest fights in boxing, which had been due to take place in 2009, but Haye pulled out due to a back injury he sustained in preparation for the fight.
Since then, Haye’s star has risen, which resulted in Haye’s corner demanding a larger slice of any pot for a fight taking place in 2011.
This has now been removed, however, in a move which boxing fans will hope paves the way for the fight every fan of this ailing weightband wants to see.
In November, following the Haye v Harrison mismatch, The Global Herald asked which was the biggest fight in boxing. Resoundingly, fight fans wanted to see Pacquiao v Mayweather, but Haye v Wladimir Klitschko was the second best - voted top by 20% of voters. One fight that has mesmerised a number of commentators, but which clearly can and will never happen, is the all-Ukrainian, brother on brother bout, Klitschko v Klitschko.
Adam Booth, Haye’s manager, was confident that a unifying bout could take place:
“Despite the fact we know we bring more UK television money to the table, David and I are happy to split the entire pot 50-50 and grant Wladimir the deal he has wanted since day one.”
“We have offered them 50-50 on everything – just as they requested – and now see no reason why this tremendous fight can’t happen. The path is clear.”
David Haye, accoridng to the BBC, was keen for the bout to happen, stating simply:
“We have now ticked every box they have asked us to tick and I just hope Wladimir is as eager to fight as he tells everyone he is.”"We have removed every possible excuse and have shown we are serious about making this fight become a reality. I’ll smoke him out if I have to.”
“I only pray Wladimir is as serious as we are, because this fight needs to happen for the good of the sport.”
And speaking of his proposed retirement in October 2011, Haye said how he would target the titles required to be the undisputed Champ, but that, should he fail to achieve them, his decision to retire would stand.
“I’m going after Wladimir first, he holds the IBF, WBO and IBO titles so it’d be a big scalp to relieve him of those,”
“I’ll retire in October next year – if [the fight] doesn’t happen next year it won’t happen, I’ll just have to accept that becoming the WBA champion was enough and move on with my life.
“That’ll be 20 years of getting punched in the face, which is a long enough time.”
“I set my goals and achieved them so unifying the titles is the cherry on the cake but if it doesn’t happen it wasn’t meant to be and I’ve just got to get on with my life.”
At present, there has been no response to Haye’s camp from team Klitschko, but the Ukrainian is on record as saying the fight would happen with a 50:50 split.
Whatever happens with David Haye and the Klitschko brothers, the Heavyweight division needs some young blood to invigorate an otherwise slightly stagnant pool of fighters. The question, for many boxing fans, is where the interest in this division will lie post-2011.