Heavyweights David Haye vs Wladimir Klitschko by knockout

Jun 28, 2011 3:00 AM

Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany is the site of the most anticipated heavyweight title fight of the past decade.

The arena, built for soccer, will be filled to capacity as over 65,000 boxing fans come out to witness the unification bout between David Haye (25-1, 23 KO) and Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 KO) this Saturday night.

HBO will be televising the title fight live (around 1:45 p.m. PT) and many believe only a fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao could attract more attention in boxing at the moment.

Oddsmakers have Klitschko listed as a heavy favorite over Haye. We’ve since seen bookmakers adjust some and he’s currently a -200 to -250 favorite, depending on the shop. Currently, the Stratosphere books have Haye +190 and Wladimir a -240 favorite.

The total rounds differ from book to book but all OVER/UNDER lines reflect the UNDER as this fight is not expected to go the distance.

That’s not surprising since 72 of their 80 combined wins have come via KO/TKO and their four combined losses have done the same. Both fighters have not lost since 2005. Klitschko has won 13 straight with 11 KO/TKO and Haye has won 15 straight with 13 stoppages.

Both fighters have obvious power, but whether Haye has been able to bring his up with him to the heavyweight division is still somewhat unanswered. I believe he has because that’s just the kind of fighter he’s been throughout his career. But I don’t feel it’s as devastating at this weight.

Historically, the heavyweights are what we fans crave most but not since the reign of Lennox Lewis have we been treated to any marquee fights.

That changes this weekend as the pre-fight buzz created by these two heavyweights has taken center stage in the boxing world. Maybe it’s the true animosity displayed by both Haye and Klitschko toward each other, or the fact this long awaited meeting, originally scheduled and then cancelled back in 2009, is finally taking place.

Regardless, both fighters have been able to captivate boxing fans around the world who are eager to see two of the best heavyweights get it on.

Both men hold titles in the heavyweight division, making this a unification bout. Haye is currently the WBA champion, a title he’s held since winning a decision over Nikolai Valuev in 2009. Klitschko holds the IBF, IBO, and WBO titles and has the record for the longest reign and most defenses for all three.

Wladimir is also the Ring Magazine champion, making the only other legit heavyweight title out there the WBC. Ironically, that belt is held by his older brother Vitali, who would be the one fighting Haye if not for losing a coin-flip.

After moving to heavyweight and beating Monte Barrett by KO, the former WBA, WBC, WBO, and Ring Magazine lineal cruiser weight champion Haye has been calling out the Klitschko brothers. It was obvious going up in weight would be the only way to get a mega-fight.

Even though he’s only had four fights at heavyweight, Haye has been able to secure a big pay day by using PR tactics outside the ring more than wins inside of it.

Since their July 2 fight was announced, both have been in a war of words, and their sincere dislike for each other is extremely evident. It’s no surprise coming from Haye, who had already started the confrontation by wearing a t-shirt displaying him holding the heads of both Klitschko bros.

With Klitschko there’s no secret to his game-plan, since joining forces with Emanuel Steward he’s learned to use his left jab to set up his powerful straight right hand.

Haye claims he’ll be able to test Klitchko’s suspect chin like Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster both did in KO wins over a 13-month span back in 2003-04. He also believes his speed will be too much for Wlad, and that speed will allow him to get in under the jab and land a big shot.

This won’t be the first time Klitschko is going up against an opponent being billed as the "faster" guy. He overcame the much quicker "Fast" Eddie Chambers and did the same with Chris Byrd on two separate occasions. For this match-up Steward has brought in IBF cruiser weight title holder Steve Cunningham to emulate Haye’s style.

The perception caused by the pre-fight buzz has fans and bettors alike believing Haye has a legitimate shot at winning. Because of that, there is definite betting value on the favorite.

Expect the 34-year-old Klitschko to use his height, weight, and reach advantage to frustrate the younger and less experienced Haye early on. Since trainer Emanuel Steward has taken the reigns, Wladimir has become a much more complete fighter than most U.S. fans remember. Since his last six fights have taken place in Germany, many haven’t seen the big changes he’s made.

Look for Klitschko to continue putting that jab on Haye with ease and eventually taking enough out of him to open up and land the big right hand. Steward will win the chess match by using Wlad’s biggest assets and avoid any unnecessary risk early on. Round by round Klitschko will pile up points on the score cards by landing at a much higher rate and, after softening up Haye, he’ll look to take him out.

Finally, Klitschko can make it an easy night if he opts to coast to a decision by simply outboxing the over matched Haye. But I believe Stewards preference of having his fighters go for the kill, coupled by Klitschko’s obvious hatred for his opponent, means we’ll get to see a knockout in the heavyweight division.

I’ve been told both Booth and Haye aren’t comfortable with the referee chosen for this fight. Genaro Rodriguez is scheduled to be the third man in the ring and if they have their way, that will change. Seems to me they are focusing energy on things they shouldn’t, rather than spending every moment getting ready for the biggest fight of their lives.

They’ve been training in Miami and I don’t think coming to the states to train for a fight in Germany was a very good move. On the flip side, Klitschko’s been working in Austria and really putting work into his cardio and getting his stamina ready, which has been a problem in the past.

I suggest you look at Klitschko to win by KO, which should pay nicely. Personally, my true line of -300 reflects a 75% win probability and I actually feel it could be a bit higher. Therefore, if I’m only being asked to lay -200, that signifies value and is a bet I’ll make every chance I get.

Last week’s record: 4-1

Overall: 21-4 (on Pregame.com website).

(Note: Vegas-Runner is a Professional Sports Bettor in Las Vegas. Featured on CNBC and ESPN. Follow VR on Twitter (@Vegasrunner) and Pregame.com)