HAMBURG, Germany – The wide gap in size between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye became official at the weigh-in Friday at a sporting goods store packed with fans.
Klitschko weighed 242 pounds for the fight on Saturday, 29½ pounds more than the 212½-pound Haye. And 242 is relatively light for the big Ukrainian, who weighed 244¾ and 247 for his last two fights (against Eddie Chambers and Sam Peter).
“He wants to be fast,” said Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, the Klitschko brothers’ company.
The weight disparity is the second greatest in Klitschko’s career. He outweighed Chambers by 35¼ pounds.
Meanwhile, Haye is familiar with large weight disparities. Seven-footer Nikolai Valuev outweighed the Briton by 99 pounds in their 2009 fight, which Haye won to claim the WBA title.
Haye also was outweighed by Audley Harrison by 43 pounds in his most-recent fight, which Haye won by third-round KO.
Several hundred people witnessed the weigh in, hosted by ring announcer Michael Buffer. The loudest were fans of Haye, many of whom aparently made the trip from England to support their favorite son.
They cheered and chanted soccer-style songs when Haye was introduced and booed Klitschko, who lives much of the time in Hamburg.
Haye seemed to be stiff as he made his way past the crowd to the area in which the weigh-in took place, although he was difficult to read. His smile seemed to be forced, perhaps a sign of nervousness.
Klitschko, who has been through this so many times, seemed to be relaxed and unfazed by it all.
Buffer first announced Haye’s weight in kilograms, 96.5. Several Americans who were unaware of how many pounds that is were baffled until Buffer quickly gave the weight in pounds.
Several people heard “202 pounds” because of the raucus crowd and were aghast.
“He’s going to killed,” one yelled.
Then it became clear that Buffer had said 2-1-2, which made more sense. Still, a 29½ pound difference is striking even if you knew going in that Klitschko (6-foot-6½) would have a significant weight advantage over Haye (6-3).
“Haye would’ve been a normal-sized heavyweight at one time,” one onlooker said. “Muhammad Ali was 6-3 and about 212 in his prime.”
"That was a long time ago," someone responded.
The fighters engaged in their obligatory stare down after the weights were settled, at first just glaring and then serving up a last bit of trash talk in a promotion filled to the brim with garbage before turning away from one another.
Now the talking is over. It's time to fight.