The heavyweight division has been surrounded in drama for the last month. Fighters have been saying one thing and doing another. They have been using one opportunity to manipulate another. It’s getting awful catty. This isn’t the kind of behavior that I would expect out of 240 pound athletes. It sounds more like a high school TV drama. Heavyweights, 90210.
The cast stars David Haye as The New Kid, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko as the Popular Kids, Nikolai Valuev as The Awkward Kid, and features John Ruiz as The Guy That Still Thinks He’s Popular.
David Haye is at the center of all this mess. He was scheduled to fight Wladimir Klitschko in June but pulled out due to a back injury two weeks prior. Haye had been doing a lot of trash talk to hype the fight and Wladimir developed a personal dislike for the newcomer to the heavyweight division. Wladimir opted to keep the date and fight a new opponent as opposed to rescheduling with Haye. That new opponent became Ruslan Chagaev.
In the scripted world, it would make sense for a jilted Haye to go after his ex’s brother. That would really get Wlad’s blood boiling. So that is what Haye did when he entered negotiations to fight Vitali Klitschko. The two sides reportedly reached a verbal agreement, but all the while Haye was also negotiating with a third party, WBA champion Nikolai Valuev. That David Haye is such a tease.
Nikolai Valuev shouldn’t trust anything David Haye or his management says. Haye hasn’t been in the heavyweight division long and he’s already been caught dipping his pen in more than one person’s ink. Forget sloppy seconds. Valuev is getting tattered thirds.
Everyone in the Klitschko-Haye love triangle has moved on, for now. Wladimir dominated Ruslan Chagaev last month and is in talks with Eddie Chambers for his next fight. Vitali will face Chris Arreola in September. David Haye appears as though he’s staying put in his relationship with Valuev. But the Klitschko-Haye connection is just too strong to be ignored. They will inevitably end up together.
If TV shows have taught me anything, it’s that there is always a twist when you think everything is finally settled. Enter John Ruiz. This guy has been the mandatory challenger for the past 10 years. Whomever manages his career is a genius and should be lending his talents to far more noble causes. Even though Ruiz is 0-2 against Valuev, 2-3 in his last 5 fights, and coming off of a loss in his last fight, he’s still the mandatory challenger to Valuev’s title. How he always finds himself challenging for a title, I’ll never know. Ruiz is not happy with the Haye-Valuev fight and plans to take all legal action necessary to stop it from happening.
If John Ruiz fought as hard in the ring as he does in the courts, then he would still be a relevant heavyweight. Unfortunately, the only strategy he plans on using is cockblocking. We need Valuev-Ruiz 3 just as much as we need another dance show on TV. While Valuev-Haye isn’t a “call your friends” sort of fight, it at least spices up the Klitschko-Haye showdown. John Ruiz has had more title shots than Ric Flair. Still, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that boxing fans don’t care about him or his fights.
The best heavyweight matchup that could be made is Vitali Klitschko vs. Wladimir Klitschko. Those two will not fight each other. The next best option in the heavyweight division is David Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko. Wladimir creates a more entertaining matchup with Haye than Vitali. Unless Chris Arreola or Eddie Chambers can topple a Klitschko, the only intrigue remaining in the heavyweight division involves Haye and the Klitschko Bros. That means it is time to write off Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz. No one will miss them.
The Hollywood script would have David Haye upset Wladimir Klitschko early in 2010. Then Vitali would be on the warpath for revenge, setting up a heated battle for later in the year. Of course, I’m sure John Ruiz owns the rights to that script and won’t let that story be told.