Mouthwatering prospect of really good punch-up

Last updated 05:00 01/07/2011

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OPINION: Cast your mind back to June 2003, eight years ago, it was the last time any real excitement surrounded a world heavyweight boxing contest, writes Logan Savory in this week's Sav's Say.

Lennox Lewis took on Vitali Klitschko and following the showdown, which was stopped because severe cut above Klitschko's eye, Lewis walked into retirement still ranked the No1 boxer in the world.

What followed Lewis into retirement was a lot of fanfare for boxing's big boys.

The big-hitting division has simply lacked any real interest since and has almost become a non-event.

One of the major problems is that two of the best heavyweight boxers in the world are brothers, Vatali and Wladimir Klitschko, and the Ukraine siblings refuse to fight each other.

The other issue is there are too many belts on offer in world boxing and they have been spread around too many people.

Knowing who is actually the heavyweight champion of the world has become difficult, considering there are the WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC and The Ring belts floating around.

At the moment, Wladimir Klitschko has his hands on the IBF, WBO and The Ring titles, Vatali Klitschko holds WBC belt, and British fighter David Haye is champion of the World Boxing Association.

But finally, on Sunday morning (NZ time), boxing fans will have the chance to get excited again about a heavyweight showdown when Wladimir Klitschko goes head to head with Haye in Hamburg, Germany.

Talk of a showdown between one of the Klitschko brothers and David Haye started in 2008 but for various reasons it has taken three years for the mouthwatering showdown to eventuate.

We now get to gauge just where Wladimir Klitschko and Haye really rate as boxers.

Haye has been questioned as to the quality of fighters he has been matched up against in recent years and Klitschko will probably find Haye his toughest opponent since he took on Hasim Rahman in 2008.

For the good of boxing, maybe a Haye win would be the best – he beats the younger of the Klitschkos and then sets his sights on older brother Vitali.

If that can happen and Haye can do the Klitschko double, then all five major world heavyweight belts will be unified and in the hands of one person.

Finally we can have a real undisputed world champion.

For Haye to get past one Klitchscho, let alone two, will be hard enough, however.

Expect this to be a bit of a size-against-speed contest.

Haye seems to be the quickest out of the two as far as throwing punches, while Wladimir Klitschko is clearly much bigger and has a reach advantage.

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It hasn't been a problem in the past for Haye, though, when you consider in 2009 he beat monster Russian Nikolai Valuev, who stands at 2.16m tall and weighs in at over 140kg.

Compare that to Haye, who fights at just under the 100kg mark and is 1.91m tall.

Happy viewing, boxing fans. It is about time we were dished up a cracker from the big boys of boxing.

Hopefully, Sunday morning brings that.

» Logan Savory is a former Southland cricket representative who was named New Zealand junior sportswriter of the year at the 2007 TP McLean journalism awards. His main rounds are cricket and rugby.

- The Southland Times

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