One of the biggest fights of 2011 takes place this coming Saturday, July 2, as world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko faces the No. 1 contender in the world who isn't his brother, David Haye. The fight takes place at Imtech-Arena in Hamburg, Germany, in front of 50,000-plus fans.
Since I know that the world heavyweight championship -- especially when it's even remotely legit -- attracts a lot of lookie-loos, I thought a quick primer on the fight might be good as we start our extensive Fight Week coverage here at Bad Left Hook.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KO) hasn't lost a fight since 2004 against Lamon Brewster, a fight that the camp of Haye has definitely been examining closely. In that time, he's become a changed fighter, and the weak-chinned Ukrainian with the fatal flaw has turned into a jab-pumping machine with monster power in both hands, underrated hand speed, and almost perfect execution of the game plans devised by the trainer who "saved" his career, Emanuel Steward.
Haye (25-1, 23 KO) is a big-talking Brit and former legit cruiserweight champion of the world. He began calling out Klitschko almost three years ago, and signed for a 2009 fight that wound up called off. During the hype, he infuriated Wladimir and his brother Vitali by showing up to a press conference with a custom t-shirt depicting Haye having severed their heads:
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Some argue that Haye has only gotten this fight because he's talked his way into it, but however he's done it, he's here. He's promising to retire after this fight, but few are really buying into that talk, as boxing is infested with fighters who say they're going to retire but never do until it's overdue.
To get to know Klitschko, Haye, and the rivalry between the two better, click the jump to check out two recent verbal showdowns between the two on Sky Sports' Ringside and HBO's Faceoff with Max Kellerman.
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