- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko blames David Haye for their title unification fight being scrapped, scoffed at the notion that he would follow through with plans to retire by the end of the year and is on the verge of finalizing a deal to face top contender Tomasz Adamek in the fall instead of revisiting a deal with Haye.
Calling Haye a "liar" and dismissing Haye's claims that he'll retire before fighting either of the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir Klitschko said he's pleased with the Adamek proposal on the table, in which either he or his brother Vitali will fight the Polish heavyweight.
"This proposal was amazing and with this idea to fight in Poland in a big stadium, I love it," Klitschko told ESPN.com on Sunday from Hawaii, where he is vacationing. "The world is not going to end if David Haye ducks me again. The planet keeps spinning. There are other fights."
Klitschko and Haye have been on a collision course for the past couple of years -- since Haye famously angered Klitschko and his brother, fellow heavyweight titlist Vitali Klitschko, by wearing a T-shirt depicting him standing in the ring holding the bloody, decapitated heads of the brothers.
He finally landed a fight with Wladimir, signing to face him in June 2009, but pulled out on short notice claiming a back injury. They finally came to terms again last week for a July 2 showdown in Germany. However, England's Haye pulled out again when he refused to allow Klitschko to first fight British countryman Dereck Chisora on April 30 in a fight rescheduled from December because Klitschko suffered an abdominal tear a few days before the fight.
Klitschko, who can resume training at the end of this month, had no issue with Haye also fighting an interim bout if he wanted, but Haye wanted no intervening bouts.
Haye claimed that nine weeks between fights was not long enough to mount the promotion or to train. Klitschko disagreed, believing his fight with Chisora would serve as the de facto kickoff to the promotion.
"I don't take David Haye as a super-special fight," Klitschko said. "I don't need a half a year to prepare for this fight. I'm always in shape anyway. Me fighting Chisora first is good promotion for the fight with David Haye because the guy is also British and very loud. It's perfect to help promote the big fight."
The reason Klitschko opted to reschedule with Chisora was because the fight with Haye couldn't take place until July 2. Klitschko hasn't fought since September and didn't want such a long layoff.
Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOs) and Haye (25-1, 23 KOs) had agreed on the terms, including a 50-50 financial split. However, there were date and site issues because of the conflicting schedules between RTL, the German network that features Klitschko's fights, and Sky, the British subscription network that televises Haye's fights on Sky Box Office pay-per-view.
Klitschko had proposed April 30 at a stadium in Germany. Haye accepted, but Sky wouldn't put on a second pay-per-view fight in the same month; it's already committed to an Amir Khan fight April 16. The closest date that could accommodate both networks, and that would also work with a German stadium, was July 2. They agreed to that date, but Haye and manager/trainer Adam Booth refused to allow Klitschko to first face Chisora and called off the fight.
"It should never have come to this," Haye said. "I was available to fight in May and June, and yet Klitschko only gave me dates of April 30 and July 2. The April date would be too close to Amir Khan's next fight, and would prove problematic with Sky Box Office, so we settled for July.
"Klitschko claims he'll fight both Chisora and I, but it's nonsense. Are we expected to believe that a fighter that competed only once in the whole of 2009 and twice in 2010 is now going to box twice in a matter of nine weeks? A bout with me is the most lucrative, meaningful and dangerous fight Wladimir's ever had, not some throwaway tune-up. Wladimir won't fight anybody nine weeks after Chisora, let alone me."
Klitschko will fight Chisora in Mannheim, Germany, and then expects to move on to face Poland's Adamek in a new stadium in his country in September in a fight that came up just as the Haye talks were disintegrating.
The Adamek camp approached Klitschko last week and they quickly worked out the parameters for a deal under which Adamek will fight Klitschko, or Vitali if Wladimir is unavailable.
"It's not done yet, but some deals go much faster than David Haye deals," Klitschko said. "We did the Sam Peter [rematch] deal in three days. Adamek came to us and said let's do this. They were polite and respectful. So far, it looks very clear. There's no controversy in negotiations. Everything is clear and understandable."
"We agreed on the general terms but, of course, the deal is subject to the execution of a contract," Main Events' Kathy Duva, Adamek's co-promoter, told ESPN.com. "Lawyers on both sides are working on the wording of the agreement now.
"If for some reason Wladimir can't fight in September, Vitali will be the opponent. The September date is the key because that is when the new stadium will open. This is a very big deal in all of Europe because the Wroclaw stadium, which is located on the border of Poland and Germany and not too far from Ukraine, is one of four currently being built to accommodate the 2012 European Soccer Championships."
The fight would be the first event to take place at the stadium, Duva said.
A former light heavyweight titleholder and the former cruiserweight champion, Adamek is 5-0 in his heavyweight campaign and one of the top contenders in the world. He'll fight once more in Poland in April against an opponent to be determined -- former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman is one candidate -- before the title shot.
"Today everything points to an agreement being signed for a fight with Wladimir Klitschko," Adamek wrote on his website. "My opponent, Wladimir Klitschko, has thousands of fans in Germany. He is counting on many fans coming from Germany and Ukraine. I, on the other hand, hope that 40,000 people will cheer me on through my fight for the world title in the third weight category. Getting this title is my next goal in my boxing career. ... I have to bring the highest level of boxing to the ring."
Haye is now looking to a mandatory against former titlist Ruslan Chagaev, who, ironically, was destroyed by Klitschko in June 2009. Chagaev had stepped in for Haye after he pulled out and never produced any medical paperwork confirming his claim of a back injury.
Later that summer, Haye came to terms to challenge Vitali. This time, Haye didn't sign the paperwork because he also was clandestinely negotiating a deal with titlist Nikolai Valuev. Haye took that fight and eked out a tight decision to win a belt.
Wladimir Klitschko, 34, hasn't forgotten the two incidents, which is why he insisted on taking the interim bout with Chisora. Klitschko spent months waiting for Haye in 2009, foregoing a spring bout when Haye promised to deliver a lucrative stadium deal in England. He couldn't and they wound up moving the fight to Germany before Haye bailed.
"David Haye says, 'How can Wladimir fight [twice in nine weeks] when he fought only once in 2009," Klitschko said. "He forgets. I fought once in 209 because I relied on him. He was supposed to deliver Chelsea Stadium, so I didn't fight in March or April. I had been waiting for David in June, so I didn't take a fight in between. I didn't want to go through that again."
Klitschko said the Chisora fight was his way of hedging against Haye being a no-show again. He said he simply doesn't trust Haye to follow through on their agreement.
"The contract was just verbal, nothing written yet," Klitschko said. "If I agree he could have backed out and taken Chisora, which is a great pay-per-view for him in Britain. He could give Chagaev step-aside money and then I'm going to be there with nobody to fight [in the spring or summer]. Because of our history before, I would fight him July 2 and we would work on the contract, but I would fight Chisora first and make sure I fight.
"They lied to me about Chelsea Stadium in 2009, then they lied to my brother. There have a been a lot of lies from David Haye and Adam Booth. We found a date, July 2, to fight him, but I don't trust these guys anymore and Chisora is a great warm-up fight for me.
"So he can have a fight in between. I don't care. But I don't trust this guy. I would fight him July 2, but I don't want to be inactive. I was champion before David Haye got into the heavyweight division and I will be champion after he retires. If he wants to fight, let him fight. But I'm doing my schedule my way. Either you will join it, or not."
Haye, 30, the former cruiserweight champion who has had four fights since moving to heavyweight full-time in late 2008, has said repeatedly that he'll retire by his 31st birthday in October.
"If the fight doesn't happen now, it never will. I'm done with the Klitschkos." Haye said. "I know I can retire later this year with my head held high, knowing I did everything in my power to make these fights happen. I've had defining fights and beaten the best in the world as a cruiserweight, but, without me, Wladimir can never say he's done the same as a heavyweight."
Klitschko, a two-time titleholder who has made nine defenses during his current five-year reign, ripped Haye over the claim.
"He's telling everyone, 'I'm going to retire by the end of the year and I will have my legacy.' He's going to have a legacy for the Audley Harrison fight, the most exciting heavyweight fight in history," Klitschko said derisively, referring to Haye's third-round knockout of Harrison in November in a fight universally panned as one of the worst heavyweight title bouts in recent memory. "He has no legacy whatsoever. He has this terrible disease and he has to retire? What bull---- is that? This is total nonsense. He is playing the media. He will not retire because he's a liar, liar, liar. From the beginning to the end, he's a loser liar. That's the truth about this man.
"David Haye is a piece of s---. He has accomplished nothing in the heavyweight division other than to present himself with his stupid T-shirt and comments. He thinks he's the king, but the king doesn't make the king. The people decide who is king. He thinks he'll walk away from this sport having accomplished everything when he's accomplished nothing. He says his legacy is done? That is complete bull----. I'm getting emotional but it's totally ridiculous. The man lies.
"He's the one in [the most recent] negotiations who said no way to fighting Vitali. He was clear that he doesn't want to fight Vitali, which was good for me. I don't need to get into a fight with my brother over who gets to beat up David Haye.
"This guy will eventually fight me. He will eventually fight me because everything coming out of his mouth is a lie. But if he does retire, he'll be a loser with no legacy in the heavyweight division at all."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko blames David Haye for their title unification fight being scrapped, scoffed at the notion that he would retire and is on the verge of finalizing a deal to face top contender Tomasz Adamek in the fall.