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Kubrat Pulev near deal to face Ruslan Chagaev

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Kubrat Pulev is close to finalizing a deal to face former world titleholder Ruslan Chagaev on August 24.

Alex Grimm

Unbeaten heavyweight Kubrat Pulev looks likely to return on August 24, facing former WBA world titlist Ruslan Chagaev in Germany. This, along with the loud Haye-Fury talk, seems to sink the idea of an IBF world title eliminator between Pulev and Tyson Fury, which means that the IBF's recent series of semi-final eliminators (Pulev-Ustinov, Adamek-Cunningham II, and then when Adamek withdrew, Fury-Cunningham) doesn't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world.

Pulev (17-0, 9 KO) is already considered a top heavyweight contender, as the 32-year-old Bulgarian has won the European heavyweight title and beaten opposition as good as just about anybody else has, plus he has the amateur credentials few others do.

Chagaev (31-2-1, 20 KO) really hasn't looked good at all in years now, though he has won four straight against marginal opposition. The 34-year-old Chagaev, once called "White Tyson" for no particularly good reason, is a fringe contender these days, having failed conclusively in his last two major chances against Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin.