Michael Rosenthal

Haye says he and Klitschko are “pretty close” to a deal

David Haye more or less corroborated earlier statements made by Wladimir Klitschko that the heavyweights were close to a deal to fight on July 2 in Europe.

Haye told BBC Sport that his mandatory defense against Ruslan Chagaev in May has been canceled because of Chagaev’s inability to get a license in the UK, which opened the door to the much-anticipated fight with Klitschko. Klitschko told reporters Wednesday in Ukraine that the sides were extremely close to a deal.

Haye pulled out of a scheduled fight with Klitschko in 2009, claiming a hand injury, and subsequent talks to reschedule the meeting have been fruitless. Still, Haye and Klitschko are optimistic.

“One way or another my next fight is going to be in July. I am hoping it is going to be against Wladimir Klitschko,” Haye told BBC Sport.

He went on: “”I believe we are pretty close to agreeing. That’s what I believe. Whether we are or not is a whole different matter. … It seems at this stage that we are ready to do it, so hopefully they are. We should know something more in the next few days.”

Haye had said that Klitschko’s fight with Dereck Chisora on April 30 made a potential showdown with the Ukrainian “effectively impossible,” according to BBC Sport, but apparently he has changed his mind.

Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, the promotional firm of the Klitschko brothers, didn’t want to comment on negotiations but said the fight – the biggest possible matchup in the division — would be enormous.

“They haven’t been able to make the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight so there has been a lot of anticipation for this one,” Loeffler said. “If the fight happens, it would be the biggest in boxing in a long time.”

The fight is expected to take place in either Germany or England.

Klitschko is THE RING champion and holds two of the four major titles. Haye holds one, as does Vitali Klitschko.

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