The much anticipated world heavyweight unification bout between David Haye and Wladimir Klitschko takes place at The Imtech Arena, Hamburg in a fortnight (2nd July). Haye, who has 25 wins from 26 professional fights, impressively defeated (on points) giant Russian Nikolay Valuev in 2009 to earn the right to hold the WBA belt whilst the 35 year old Ukrainian Klitschko is undefeated since 2004, currently holds the WBO and IBF belts.
A plethora of public rows and broken promises have added to theatre around the fight, which has been some two years in the making. The pair finally signed contracts confirming one of the most eagerly anticipated fights in March 2011.
Unpicking the contest and potential betting opportunities isn’t that straight forward. Klitschko currently finds himself odds-on and there may be money to be made in the method of victory market.
Haye’s speed and athleticism around the ring is second to none, attributed in the main to his earlier days as a cruiserweight, his trainer Adam Booth suggests that Haye will fight differently to his previous bouts. A back foot approach against Valuev was much to the discredit of some boxing critics; however it’s unlikely to be for any boxing writers benefit in a change of style. The recently interviewed Booth has stated that Haye’s strategy will be ‘like nothing the Klitschko camp had seen before’. A cautious yet aggressive style, particularly in the early rounds, is what’s predicted from Haye’s corner, Haye himself has said he thinks Klitschko’s chin is vulnerable which he’ll certainly target throughout the contest.
Both camps and individual fighters believe the other has weaknesses that they can expose. Haye’s punch resistance will be seriously tested by the man nicknamed Dr Steelhammer. The power Klitschko possesses and speed for a heavyweight has been unseen by Haye. Klitschko too has never fought anyone as quick on their feet as Haye, if his strategy works Haye could cause the 6ft 6 Ukrainian issues. Whichever man lands the first meaningful punches stands a great chance of going on to be the victor.
Klitschko hasn’t KO’d any of his opponents in the last 4 years within 6 rounds, add this fact to Haye’s undeniable athleticism the Ukrainian has his work cut out, if either man is to win by KO, the latter rounds are likely to be where it happens. Haye has proven against Valuez (12 rounds) and more recently against John Ruiz (9 rounds) he’s capable of boxing at the business end of the fight. Odds currently available on the fight going the distance stand at 5/2 suggesting this one will be determined within 12 rounds.
Back Wladimir Klitschko outright winner at 8/13 3pts
Back Wladimir Klitschko to win by KO, TKO or Disqualification at 13/10 2.5pts
Back Wladimir Klitschko to win in Round 8 at 22/1 0.5pts
Back Wladimir Klitschko to win in Round 9 at 25/1 0.5pts
Back David Haye to win in Round 9 at 33/1 0.5pts
Back David Haye to win in Round 10 at 33/1 0.5pts