The night was Sept. 17, and former WBA heavyweight titleholder David Haye of England was walking hastily into the arena at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
Haye (25-2, 23 KOs) confirmed having met just hours earlier with Shelly Finkel, who represents the Klitschko brothers in the U.S., concerning a potential fight with WBC heavyweight beltholder Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs) in early 2012.
“Yes, I did talk to Shelly Finkel. I feel like my body has at least one more fight left in it,” said Haye. “If the numbers are right, I’ll fight again, probably in February or March.”
That was then.
On Oct. 13, Haye fulfilled his long-standing promise to retire from boxing by his 31st birthday, denying any further negotiations about a fight with either Klitschko, citing insufficient offers from the opposition. Likewise, the Klitschko camp put an end to any speculation that talks were taking place.
But according to multiple sources, the fight may be still in the works.
A winner of 15 straight bouts,13 of them by knockout before losing a decision to Vitali’s younger brother, Wladimir Klitschko, Haye is said to be in serious talks with the Vitali Klitschko’s camp for a bout likely on March 3 in Dusseldorf, Germany, according to several sources familiar with negotiations who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Haye is coming off of an uneventful loss to RING champ Wladimir Klitschko in July.
Finkel would not comment on the possibilities for Vitali Klitschko, who is coming off a 10th-round knockout of Tomasz Adamek (43-2, 28 KOs) on Sept. 10.
Vitali Klitschko is riding an 11-fight winning streak that includes nine stoppages and is the WBC titleholder, while Wladimir is riding a winning streak of 14 consecutive bouts, with 10 knockouts during that time.
While promoting the release this week of his biography, Making Haye, the former heavyweight titleholder, who earlier this month fulfilled his long-term pledge to quit the sport at the age of 31, hinted his boxing career may not be over, after all.
“The book leaves it open a little. You never know, there’s always another chapter. It’s the end of one chapter but there are plenty of chapters to come in the rest of my life. Only time will tell whether the Klitschkos need me more than I need them. They won’t believe that,” Haye told Harry Pratt of RingTV.com.
“But it depends what they want out of boxing. If they want guaranteed easy victories, then they can do what they’ve always done. But if they want a tough challenge, you’d think they would want to beat down my door. But if they’re not interested in fighting, then fair enough, I’ve moved on. It obviously wasn’t meant to be.”
Wladimir Klitschko has a defense of his belts against former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) on Dec. 10.
Photo by Getty Images
Photo by Klitscko Management
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com