Amid another highly impressive charm offensive on foreign soil, Wladimir Klitschko, ably supported by brother and fellow heavyweight titleholder Vitali, had a serious message for British rival David Haye on Monday.
Fresh from beating Haye and taking his WBA belt on July 2, RING champion Klitshcko arrived for a whistle-stop tour of London and openly questioned whether the Englishman has the heart or desire for a rematch.
Yes, he will give him a second opportunity to make amends for a pitifully poor display in Hamburg, Germany.
But before that can happen, Haye (25-2, 23 knockouts), who is supposed to retire on Oct. 13, must prove himself up for the battle, preferably by making an impression in the United States.
“As a ‘therapist,’ I promised reality rehab for David on July 2 to make him a better person inside and outside the ring,” said 35-year-old Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) while proudly displaying his collection of RING, WBO, IBF and WBA belts on Sky Sports News.
“I believe certain things show in the character of David Haye and, from what I see, I don’t believe he wants this rematch. Straight after a fight, boxers usually scream: ‘Give me a re-match.’ But Haye never said a word.
“At the press conference, the journalists all asked me if I would give him a rematch. So I passed it on to David, who was like: ‘Err, hmm, well, maybe … yeah sure, why not?’ He was seeing numbers, I guess. British pounds or euros or dollars.
“But I don’t see the desire of David to get this rematch. I believe Richard Schaefer, his promoter, is right. David has to establish himself in the USA and show he has the will.
“No, he shouldn’t retire. He should have a couple of good fights, and then I‘ll give him a rematch.”
In time-honored fashion, Vitali Klitschko (42-2, 39 KOs), who defends his WBC title against Poland’s Tomasz Adamek (44-1, 28 KOs) on Sept. 2, also weighed in with his own take on Haye and issued a challenge.
“Before my next fight, I don’t want to talk about Haye,” he said. “But maybe after that, if Haye is ready, I will give him a chance. I was happy when Wladimir beat Haye, but unhappy he did not send him to the floor. I can do that in the future.”
That was not the only ‘call out’ of the afternoon on Sky. A few hours earlier, another heavyweight prospect, 23-year-old Mancunian Tyson Fury, who faces Dereck Chisora for the British and Commonwealth titles on July 23, had branded the Haye-Klitschko clash a rip-off and the all-conquering Ukrainian 'beatable.’
Klitschko’s response to the mouthy outburst was to politely point to the fact Tyson (14-0, 10 KOs) might not even be good enough to take out countryman Chisora (14-0, 9 KOs).
“I know Tyson pretty well,” he said. “He went to one of my training camps and I saw him spar. He’s a talented boxer, with a good chance to develop himself. But it takes some time, you can’t buy experience from a shop.
“Tyson is in his 20s and there are a lot of sides he doesn’t know yet. He has a chance against Chisora and Chisora has a chance against him. In my opinion it’s 50-50.”
As put downs go, fairly emphatic.