The expected March 20 fight between world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and American Eddie Chambers has been made official. The two will meet in Dusseldorf, Germany. HBO was at one point expected to pick up the fight, but have made no announcement yet. Chances are this will find its way to American screens one way or another. The Klitschkos have in the recent past fought on ESPN Classic, which could be one option.
The ESPIRIT Arena holds 51,000 and should be expected to do a great house for this fight. Chambers (35-1, 18 KO) is the top-ranked American heavyweight in the world, and with good reason. He's a very legitimate challenger, even if a huge underdog.
Chambers, who will turn 28 nine days after this fight, has also worked his way to this spot. He first had a chance to get a shot at Klitschko back in 2007-08, when he, Alexander Povetkin, Chris Byrd and Calvin Brock were placed into a four-man tournament by the IBF. Chambers beat Brock in November 2007, but lost to Povetkin two months later. Povetkin has yet to claim his title shot.
Since then, Chambers has become a clearly more focused fighter. I thought he gave the fight with Povetkin away more than getting clearly beaten by a better fighter, and after the loss he's gotten things together. After three wins over trial horses Raphael Butler, Cisse Salif and Livin Castillo, Chambers has rattled off quality wins over Samuel Peter and the previously-unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko, a big guy whose size -- if not his skill -- matches up with Klitschko.
And in that fight, Chambers looked better than he ever has. For a guy who's always been a small heavyweight by today's standards, it turns out that at his lightest pro weight ever, he was his most effective. Chambers came in at 208 pounds to face Dimitrenko, giving up 45 pounds to his foe on the scales.
He'll face a huge size difference again against Klitschko, but that's not his chief concern. Fact is, Klitschko can really box. It's not just size.
Klitschko, 33, is coming off of shoulder surgery that has kept him out of the ring since his June 2009 win over Ruslan Chagaev. He had the surgery in August. Chambers himself has not fought since July.