By Johnny Walker
Turns out WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has a few more rhetorical tricks up his sleeve before this Saturday’s heavyweight title fight with The Ring-recognized heavyweight champion of the world, Wladimir Klitschko.
Haye lobbed a verbal bomb into the Klitschko camp today with the allegation that Emanuel Steward, Klitschko’s trainer, has offered to help Haye defeat Wladimir’s brother Vitali, who is not trained by Steward but by Fritz Sdunek, if Haye defeats the younger Klitschko in Hamburg this weekend.
“Manny said he’d love to train me after I’ve bashed up Wladimir, his own fighter, on July 2, “ Haye said today. “He reckoned that if we joined forces I would be in prime position to take down Vitali later in the year.
“He was deadly serious about it, too. Of course, as much as I admire Manny, I feel I already have the best coach in world boxing in Adam Booth, but it was nice to receive a compliment from someone so experienced.”
This allegation has more of an air of legitimacy than some of Haye’s other claims, because Steward has been very lavish with his praise of Haye in the past. Also, there may not be any love lost between Steward and Vitali Klitschko. As shown in the recent Klitschko documentary, the elder Klitschko brother resented Steward replacing Sdunek as Wladimir’s trainer after the younger Klitschko’s career went off the rails, and didn’t think much of Steward’s methods, at least initially. More recently, Vitali told Steward to “shut up” when the trainer was badgering his brother in the corner during his victory over Eddie Chambers.
In press interviews of late, Steward, who had previously been sky high in his praise of Wladimir, has been noticeably less enthused, making sure that he always name-checks Lennox Lewis as his best heavyweight, while constantly running down the current heavyweight division and also apologetically mentioning some of Wladimir’s less than gripping performances. This suggests that all may not be totally hunky dory in camp Klitschko as the Haye fight nears.
Whether Steward really offered to help Haye take down Vitali, or whether the Haye camp merely picked up on some of the ambiguous signals Steward has been sending out in the media lately and decided to play on them, is anyone’s guess. But this incident shows that Haye is willing to go to great lengths to create disarray in camp Klitschko as the title showdown nears.