Michael Rosenthal

Klitschko-Chisora on; Klitschko-Haye in jeopardy?

The proposed heavyweight fight between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye is beginning to feel like the proposed fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Only it’s even more convoluted. See if you can follow:

Klitschko and Haye reportedly had agreed in principal to fight one another but needed to find a date that worked for the European television networks that would carry the fight, Sky Sports in the UK and RTL in Germany. That date was July 2.

Sky Sports, which refuses to broadcast more than one pay-per-view show per month, is scheduled to air Amir Khan’s next fight in April. And RTL reportedly had no available dates in May or June. Thus, July 2.

That was fine with Klitschko with one caveat: He will have gone nine-plus months without fighting. So he rescheduled his postponed fight with journeyman Dereck Chisora for April 30 as a tune-up.

That didn’t sit well with Haye and his handlers, who doubt that Klitschko would actually fight twice in nine weeks and worry that he might get cut.

Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions, Haye’s U.S. representative, went so far as to tell the Los Angeles Times that Klitschko’s decision to fight Chisora was “a deal killer.”

“Klitschko claims he'll fight both Chisora and I, but it's nonsense,” Haye said in a news release. “Are we expected to believe that a fighter that competed only once in the whole of 2009 and twice in 2010 is now going to box twice in a matter of nine weeks?

“A bout with me is the most lucrative, meaningful and dangerous fight Wladimir's ever had, not some throwaway tune-up. Wladimir won't fight anybody nine weeks after Chisora, let alone me.”

Klitschko’s handlers say THE RING champion still expects to fight Haye on July 2 and indicated that they have no problem with Haye engaging his own tune-up in April.

The problem with that, from Haye’s perspective, is that he couldn’t have a pay-per-view bout on Sky Sports in April because the network is committed to Khan that month.

“I now need to look for a fight of my own beyond April, as Amir Khan has that month tied up with his bout,” Hay said. “Presumably Wladimir is expecting me to fight in either May or June and then face him in early July. It's ridiculous.”

So what now?

An angry Haye is talking as if it’s now or never.

“If the fight doesn't happen now, it never will,” he said. “I'm done with the Klitschkos. I know I can retire later this year with my head held high, knowing I did everything in my power to make these fights happen. I've had defining fights and beaten the best in the world as a cruiserweight, but, without me, Wladimir can never say he's done the same as a heavyweight.”

This certainly isn’t the end of the drama, though.

Haye will do everything in his power to fight at least one of the Klitschko brothers for two reasons: The enormous payday such a matchup would guarantee and the opportunity to prove he’s the baddest man on the planet.

The July 2 date will work if Haye decides to forgo a tune-up or fight in April on free television. If not, Sky Sports and RTL will have other open dates in 2011.

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