Klitschkos decide upcoming bouts
Heavyweight champion brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko have had deals in place in which one of them will face titleholder David Haye this summer and one will fight top contender Tomasz Adamek in the fall. But under the deal, the Klitschkos are the ones who would determine the matchups.
Now they have decided: It will be Wladimir who faces Haye in a title unification fight on June 25 or July 2 at a venue to be determined and Vitali who will face Adamek on Sept. 10 in Adamek's native Poland, Bernd Boente, who manages the brothers, told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
Those matchups were the ones they had said were most likely all along, but Boente said the brothers made their final decision between themselves recently -- although, technically, the terms of their contracts with Haye and Adamek allow for them to still make a change if they want or to change if one of them is unavailable due an injury. So how did the brothers reach their decision?
"It's pretty simple: Wladimir was the first one in 2009 who wanted to face Haye after Haye attacked him first, verbally in London at a press conference for a charity cause," Boente said. "From the beginning it was always going in that direction. From the contract side it's possible it could change but, as of now, they made the decision between themselves."
Wladimir (55-3, 49 KOs) is recovering from an abdominal tear that forced him first out of a December fight with Dereck Chisora and then the rescheduled fight in April.
"If Wladimir is not injured, he will fight Haye," Boente said. "Wladimir is better. The doctor gave him the green light so he can start training in the beginning of May. It would not have been possible for him to fight [Chisora] in April."
There still remains a possibility that Vitali (42-2, 39 KOs), who is coming off a first-round knockout of mandatory challenger Odlanier Solis on March 19, will also fight June 4 against an opponent to be determined in Germany.
"Maybe Vitali will fight then, but it depends on the TV situation in Germany," Boente said.
Adamek (43-1, 28 KOs) must win his fight against Kevin McBride at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., on Saturday night (Integrated Sports PPV, 9 ET, $29.95) to preserve his title shot.
"It will be Wladimir fighting Haye and Vitali is fighting Adamek, but Adamek has to win or he's out," Boente said.
Boente and Adam Booth, Haye's manager and trainer, were in New York last week meeting with American television executives about deals for the U.S. rights to the fights. HBO is the likely outlet, Boente said.
"There is interest in America but, in the end, my gut feeling tells me HBO is the station," Boente said. "Last week we went to HBO, to Epix and to Showtime. It's not written in stone, but I think we are back in business with HBO."
HBO was heavily involved with the Klitschkos for several years before electing to stop covering them three years ago. That combined with disparaging remarks about them from HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg led to a falling out with the network. Boente said he believes things have been patched up and that HBO has made a two-fight offer to cover the Haye and Adamek bouts.
The specific date for the fight with Haye (25-1, 23 KOs) has not been determined.
"June 25 or July 2, but it really depends on the stadium deal," Boente said. "We are still not sure which one it will be in. It could still be outside of Germany, but it has to be agreed on by Adam Booth and myself. This is a true 50-50 deal."
The Adamek fight will take place at a stadium in either Warsaw or Wroclaw. Boente said he is still working out the details with Kathy Duva of Main Events, Adamek's co-promoter.
Should the fight with Haye land on June 25, HBO would televise it live in the afternoon and then air it in prime time on tape delay along with live coverage of a junior welterweight fight between former titlist Devon Alexander and Lucas Matthysse.
Besides finalizing details on their fights, the Klitschkos are also awaiting the premier of a forthcoming documentary, "Klitschko," on their lives. They will be at the German premier of the 112-minute film (in German, Russian and English, with English subtitles) by German director Sebastian Dehnhardt. Then they will come to New York next week, when the film will be screened April 14 at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- Arum: Pacquiao-Mayweather fight imminent
- Luis takes it to Dargan, scores decision win
- Former heavyweight promoter Kushner dies
- McCain: Time to talk legalizing sports betting