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Author Topic: It's time for Klitschko to tell HBO to go!  (Read 1143 times)
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« on: June 25, 2009, 05:33:38 PM »

By Marty Mulcahey (June 25, 2009)

The relationship between HBO and Wladimir Klitschko is like a bad marriage. HBO feels that Klitschko is being selfish, and not giving them the excitement it craves, while Klitschko believes he has provided stability, along with victories over every viable contender of the last five years. The pair are now sleeping in separate beds, with HBO refusing to get it on with Wladimir unless he brings an exciting partner to the relationship. Both are seeking dominance in the teetering partnership, and let's face it...dominance is not always exciting. For instance, besides Super Bowl VII, what was the 1972 Miami Dolphins’ (the last NFL team to go undefeated in a season) most memorable victory? Wladimir Klitschko's reign as HBO's heavyweight champion might go down in history much in the same way as the Dolphins perfect season. Impressive, but not looked back upon with a sense of nostalgia or awe.

The time has come for Wladimir Klitschko to amicably separate himself from HBO. Wladimir has other options, since he is independently wealthy through lucrative business dealings in Europe.

This will sound spiteful, but Wladimir should then actively refuse to fight any exciting challenger HBO wants him to face - Chris Arreola and David Haye for instance - and force HBO to build them up with the money they refused to dish out for his fight against Ruslan Chagaev. Instead, Wladimir should work his way down the IBF's mandatory challenger list of Alexander Povetkin, Eddie Chambers, and Alexander Dimitrenko. Stay in Germany, where the population and RTL television adore you. After all, you just filled a 60,000 plus soccer stadium, and got German pay channel RTL a 58% market share of the televisions tuned in that evening. Wladimir must be doing something right to pull those kind of numbers.

It is painfully obvious HBO only wanted to air the Wladimir Klitschko - David Haye fight in the hopes that Haye emerged with the victory. They purchased that fight because of Haye, in anticipation of their being able to sell him to America as the next great heavyweight star. HBO, as Don King famously did, would have been happy to come to the dance with Wladimir, then step over his prostrate body to leave with a more exciting Haye. If HBO wants Haye to be the next big thing so bad, buy his fights and build Haye into a marketable commodity. Instead, HBO wants to use a shortcut, through Wladimir, and expect Wladimir to be compliant with their trespassing on his pride to get to future paydays with Haye.

The truth is that Ruslan Chagaev, who did not cover himself in glory against Klitschko, was a more qualified title challenger then David Haye. The fact that he did not trouble Klitschko does not take away from his previous achievements, and in no way relieves HBO of its yearning for a Haye title reign. Now, is it good business for HBO to seek out a more exciting heavyweight champion? Heck yeah, but that does not mean Wladimir (who is an intelligent man) has to play a game with someone whose interests lay in direct opposition to his. Wouldn't it be ironic if Wladimir, who is self promoted, told HBO that he is going to take a pay-cut to fight Haye on Showtime? Yes, I know that will never happen, but this whole article is written with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

David Haye's flash, kayo power, personality, inflammatory oration, and the proposition that he will be a more exciting champion than Wladimir is, admittedly, intoxicating. No argument there. I am simply stating the obvious when it comes to HBO's powerplay of refusing to buy Wladimir's bout against a quality opponent. If HBO does not approve the number three rated heavyweight contender (by every reasonable ranking criteria), then who will they disapprove next? If HBO is about excitement alone, why were Paulie Malignaggi and Jermain Taylor on HBO's speed dial for the last couple years? If HBO is all about competitive matches, then they need to explain the whole Roy Jones era.

I must confess to some selfishness with this line of thought as well. Another reason I am arguing for a split between HBO and Wladimir Klitschko is that it will be in the best interest of American boxing fans. In term of payroll, Wladimir Klitschko is a high maintenance piece of arm jewelry. If HBO splits with Klitschko, the money that is freed up would allow the network to purchase more exciting fights in the lower weight classes, where all the real talent and mouthwatering matchups are anyhow.


I love Michael Buffer, as the suavest man in boxing brings luster and credibility to any boxing event he chooses to endorse with his presence. However, why were the boxers introduced to the audience by Mr. Buffer in English? It's not like this fight got a lot of press or television coverage in America, so why not allow the host country to use a native speaking announcer? Next thing you know there are going to be Spanish speaking ring announcers in Ameri...Oh, never mind.

Is Emanuel Steward as much to blame for the boring manner in which Wladimir Klitschko fights as Klitschko himself? Remember, Lennox Lewis was a more exciting fighter before he fell into the capable hands of Steward. It was Steward who taught him balance, and how to use his size to optimal advantage. Come to think of it, Naseem Hamed was the same way. Must be something about Steward that brings out the intelligent use of boxing over slugging in European boxers? Where have you gone Euro Thomas Hearns?

What was worse? The Klitschko - Chagaev fight, or the presentation of it by spam Classic?

Cruiserweight contender B.J Flores, in general, did a good of commentating on the Klitschko – Chagaev fight, and gave pertinent insight from a boxer’s perspective. However, as an objective analyst on the level of drama the bout produced he was sorely lacking. Flores referred to the fight in a couple of instances as "exciting". Rule one in sports broadcasting, do not mislead the audience and pander to the network who bought the event. There were only three exciting moments in that fight. 1. Klitschko's knockdown of Chagaev in the second round. 2. When Klitschko attempted to stop Chagaev with a sequence of punches along the ropes at the end of round nine. 3. I take that back...there were only two exciting moments.

Is it me, or are boxing fans in Montreal replacing Philadelphia as the best in boxing?

Jean Pascal is a world titlist because he showed grit, not the glitz or glamour he had been previously marketed for.

Hey, ESPN2. What would have been wrong with taping the Friday Night Fights show, and playing it right after the college baseball game - as you advertised? I am glad ESPN2 showed the fight live on spam Classic, but not everyone has that channel in their cable package. I know contractually you cannot cut away from an active college game (funny how they do not show the same courtesy to boxing fans), but let's try to keep it on the same channel. It's bad enough that the starting times for FNF change practically every week.

I'm excited about the Victor Ortiz - Marcos Maidana clash on Saturday! I really think that this matchup is made in punchers’ heaven. One will fall and the other rise, with any luck, again and again. Oh yeah, the undercard fight for this HBO broadcast was to have been between Chris John and Rocky Juarez. But John fell out due to illness. That fight was to be the one involving a world title. Just goes to show that quality matchmaking means more than the devalued alphabet titles.

Marcos Maidana looks like another Jorge Barrios waiting to happen. Unless he wins, in which case he is another Juan Roldan waiting to happen. I know, I know, who is Roldan? Look him up kids.

Are normal size, relatively speaking, heavyweights making a return? Looking at The Ring magazine top ten rating of heavies, the young heavyweights are all about 6'2" and below 240 pounds. The Lewis, Klitschko, and Valuev era heavyweights might become extinct dinosaurs. Leave it to our heavyweights to be the only ones who made dinosaurs boring and uninteresting.

« on: June 25, 2009, 05:33:38 PM »

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