The date and venue are set, and the TV partners have been decided. World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko will face nemesis David Haye, finally, on July 2 in Hamburg, Germany. The fight will be carried around the world by HBO in the United States, Sky Box Office in the UK, and RTL in Germany.
In Hamburg, Imtech Arena will host the fight. It's a 55,000-seat venue.
Outside of Pacquiao-Mayweather, this is probably the biggest fight, globally, that can be made in boxing. The fight was signed in 2009, but Haye backed out claiming an injury when his original UK TV partner, Setanta Sports, went under. After other stutter steps, we finally have the bout that everyone wants: Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye, one-on-one in the most significant heavyweight fight that there is to be made.
For U.S. fans, this marks the first heavyweight fight featured on HBO since Tomasz Adamek's win over Chris Arreola in April 2010. The last time one of the Klitschko brothers was on either of the major American networks (HBO and Showtime), it was Vitali's 12-round stinkfest with Kevin Johnson in December 2009. For Wladimir, it's been even longer -- his December 2008 fight with Hasim Rahman, which was originally scheduled to be Klitschko against Alexander Povetkin. HBO has since declined to pick up Wladimir's fights with Ruslan Chagaev, Eddie Chambers and Samuel Peter, and have also passed on Vitali's bouts with Albert Sosnowski, Shannon Briggs and Odlanier Solis.
HBO has stayed hard-line on their claim that they weren't interested in the heavyweight division without a Klitschko-Haye fight. Chances are that the network will also be interested in Vitali's fight against Adamek on September 10 from Poland. For as much guff as we give the heavyweight division, we do have the top four in the world signed up to fight one another, and that's never a bad thing. There isn't much to look forward to after that, so I suggest enjoying it while you can.