By Johnny Walker
Former WBA heavyweight champion David “Hayemaker” Haye and his manager Adam Booth have struck back hard against claims made yesterday by the Klitschko brothers and their manager Bernd Boente to the effect that the UK fighter ducked a September matchup with WBC champion Vitali.
“I offered Haye a fight for September, but he obviously does not want to fight me. He ducked out to face [Dereck] Chisora instead,” Vitali Klitschko said yesterday while in Britain to promote the Klitschko biopic.
“I don’t think it [Haye-Vitali] will happen,” Boente added.
“It will definitely not happen in September because we are already talking to a couple of different opponents for then and it is too close for Haye to fight him after his fight against Chisora.
“[Haye] never really wanted to fight Vitali. “The guy is always talking. He barks like a dog and is mostly afraid.”
These new claims by camp Klitschko were somewhat surprising, given the Hayemaker’s claims that the biggest reason for his recent unretirement was the allure of a fight with the elder Klitschko brother.
And today, Haye and his trainer/manager Booth fired back on the fighter’s website.
“It makes absolutely no sense for me to turn down a fight I desperately want,” Haye contends.
“Remember, the whole idea behind going ahead with this Chisora fight was that a victory may then lead to a fight with Vitali Klitschko. That was my plan, my reason for returning to the ring.
“I want to fight on 14 July and then again in September, and have been telling people this for months now.”
According to the Hayemaker, camp Klitschko is trying to maneuver around a fight with him because Vitali looked like a mere mortal against Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora last time out, and can’t risk a loss before the mayoral elections in Kiev this fall, where he is a leading candidate.
Yesterday, Boente lent more credence to this notion by stating that Vitali will immediately retire from boxing if he wins the election.
“What is clear to me is that K2 [Klitschko’s management] are now happy to protect an ageing Vitali and usher him towards politics as soon as possible,” says Haye.
“Politics is about popularity, and Vitali’s popularity in Ukraine would take a massive hit if he were to get knocked out by me before retiring.
“It’s imperative for him to keep winning and beating up puddings en route to retirement, as that sets him up nicely for a career in politics.
“At this advanced stage in his career, the last thing on Vitali’s mind are tough challenges in the ring. He’s essentially semi-retired, which is fine, so long as he comes clean about it. Don’t go stringing everybody along – fighters and fans – when some of us know the truth.”
“Unfortunately, Vitali will probably now look to fight some no-hoper, while telling the boxing world I turned down the fight.
“I will never turn down a fight with Vitali,” Haye states flatly.
For his part, Adam Booth expressed surprised at the statements coming from “Herr Boente.”
“Today I read that Herr Boente claims David ‘turned the fight down’ and ‘does not want to fight Vitali’,” Booth says.
“Both of these claims are completely false. If Vitali wants to fight David in September, we are here and happy to accept. If not, no worries or sadness from our side.
“Maybe K2 realized during Vitali’s fight with Chisora in February that their precious champion was drastically slowing down and didn’t fancy going up against anyone too quick in the future. Whatever their reasoning, if Herr Boente is happy to spin the lines he feeds people, good for him.”
Both Booth and Haye also express cynicism toward the recent statements of outrage from the Klitschko brothers and their manager over Haye’s upcoming fight with Dereck Chisora, with world heavyweight champion Wladimir repeatedly branding the fight a “freak show.”
They feel that camp Klitschko is merely furious because of the interest of the boxing public in the bout, as compared to the indifferent yawns provoked by Wladimir’s scheduled tilt with a man he’s already knocked out, Tony Thompson.
“They can call my fight against Chisora a freak show as much as they like, but we all know that so-called freak show will have more people interested in it than either of the Klitschkos’ next fights,” Haye contends.
“Who wants to see Wladimir fight Tony Thompson again? Even Tony Thompson doesn’t want to see that again. Their first fight was horrible enough.
“Also, anybody with an ounce of intelligence would know that Boente and the Klitschkos were only name-dropping and ridiculing my fight with Chisora to raise some publicity over here for the Klitschko film, which they happened to be in London promoting on Monday night.”
Booth also gets a dig in at his nemesis Boente, who, during the infamous press conference scuffle in Munich—a scuffle that the Klitschkos themselves appeared to be enjoying at the time, only to express shock and disgust with later—was an instigator, holding the carrot of a Klitschko title shot out on a stick to the winner of a Haye-Chisora showdown.
“It’s bizarre just how much hatred with agenda the Haye versus Chisora fight has attracted,” Booth muses.
“Maybe Bernd Boente has short-term memory issues. A quick look back at the video of that infamous Munich press conference clearly shows Bernd agreeing with Frank Warren that Haye and Chisora should fight for the right to challenge Vitali.”