WBA world heavyweight champion David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye, who backed out of a fight with Vitali Klitschko earlier this year, has told Klitschko to ditch the voluntary contenders and unify the sport’s marquee division. The elder Klitschko brother puts his WBC belt on the line against American Kevin Johnson in Berne, Switzerland this coming Saturday and Haye, fresh off his own title triumph, will be a keen observer. “I’ll be watching the fight, but only because I have an interest in meeting Vitali next year,” said Haye, who defeated Nikolai Valuev in November to lift his WBA crown.
“As far as the fight itself goes, it’s one of the most unappealing heavyweight title fights for a while – and that’s saying something.
“The fact that a title fight between a Ukrainian and an American is being held in Switzerland tells you all you need to know about the appeal of this fight.
“Heavyweight title fights should be huge events, not an afterthought in a country most famous for producing Toblerones.”
The 38-year-old Klitschko has defended his WBC crown twice so far in 2009, stopping Juan Carlos Gomez and, most recently, Chris Arreola. Haye believes, however, that the flimsy credentials of Johnson could prove to make the American one of Vitali’s weakest challengers to date.
“Johnson’s biggest win in his career is over Bruce Seldon, a guy Riddick Bowe knocked out in a round 17 years earlier,” explained Haye. “Johnson somehow had a life and death war with a 41-year-old Seldon before stopping him at the halfway mark.
“Unfortunately, Johnson is untested, unproven and talks better than he fights.
“Unlike Arreola, it’s doubtful Johnson will even have a proper ‘go’ and make the fight exciting. He’s known to be very cautious and dull. I hope he puts on a show for the Swiss fans, but I wouldn’t count on it.”
Having defeated Valuev in November, Haye now looks forward to a mandatory title defence against John Ruiz in the first portion of 2010. Should he come through that with his title intact, Haye will then attempt to prize open the Klitschkos’ grip on the heavyweight division.
“I want to knock out both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, and I don’t care what order they fall in,” admitted Haye, who hopes to lift the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year award on Sunday (December 13).
“Vitali is nearly 40 years of age now and the clock is ticking if he wants to form any sort of legacy. There are probably one million dudes in America called Kevin Johnson, and beating one of them doesn’t make you an all-time great heavyweight.
“Vitali’s greatest performance to date is a loss to Lennox Lewis. That’s his most memorable fight and the one result on his record that will be remembered in the history books.
“The Klitschkos don’t care about being great fighters, whereas I do. They may be big in Switzerland, but so are yodellers, and nobody wants to watch them fight.”