Klitschko/Maskaev, Sulaiman/King and the footprint of history
As an upshot to Kevin Ioleâ€™s LVRJ piece on the Klitschko-Maskaev negotiations and the progress or lack thereof, I contacted Maskaevâ€™s manager, Fred Kesch, to get an update as to where things stand.
â€œWe have a mandatory against the winner of Toney-Peter,â€? Kesch told TSS, â€œand Klitschko has a mandatory against Ray Austin. But letâ€™s look at this objectively. King has 100% of Ray Austin. Don also has 50% of James Toney and 50% of Peter. So there you now have 200% Don King, who is anxious to once again get a stranglehold on the most precious belt in the sport, which is the heavyweight championship.
â€œWeâ€™re not handcuffed with any promoterâ€”we have an agreement with Dennis Rappaportâ€”heâ€™s our exclusive promoterâ€”and we donâ€™t give options to anyone else. But Don wants JosÃ© to stand by the mandatory.â€?
Options is one of boxingâ€™s dirty little words and one of boxingâ€™s not best kept dirty little secrets, because it robs the fighters of their freedom to negotiate at the same time as it robs the fight fans of the fights they want to see, rather than simply the fights they are sold.
â€œIf Toney hadnâ€™t opted to fight Peter,â€? continued Kesch,â€? he would have been the guy we fought in Moscow, not Okhello. But he (Toney) opted for greener pastures against Peter, and then the fight was given a rematch, and now the rematch is delaying everything else.
â€œNow what if Toney or Peter get hurt during this rematch? What does that do for us and our mandatory? We shouldnâ€™t have to wait and see the outcome of January 6th. If we have an agreement basically in fact and all it needs for the signatures is the WBCâ€™s approval, why not let it happen? Itâ€™s the best for boxing. Itâ€™s the best for the boxing fans. They recognize Wladimir Klitschko and Oleg Maskaevâ€”I doubt they recognize some of the othersâ€”but they still donâ€™t know who is THE heavyweight champion of the world, and I think a fight between Oleg and Wladimir would certainly define that.â€?
Maskaevâ€™s next fight is tentatively scheduled for April 21, â€œif we can get through these obstacles,â€? said Kesch. â€œIf JosÃ© doesnâ€™t give us the blessing and sanction the fight between Oleg and Klitschko, then we have a decision to make. But both Wladimir and Oleg stipulate in their agreement that they agree to immediately fight the winner of the Toney-Peter fight after the Klitschko-Maskaev fight. So whoever wins that fight will fight the winner of Toney and Peter.â€?
Still, if all that comes to pass, King still wouldnâ€™t have options on either Klitschko or Maskaev, and isnâ€™t that fact alone enough to keep this unification bout from ever happening?
â€œIt depends on who runs the WBC,â€? said Kesch. â€œDoes Don King run it, or does JosÃ© Sulaiman run it? Somehow you always have to look at the footprints in the sand. But weâ€™ve had some very positive discussions with JosÃ© thus far, and they will continue, today as a matter of fact, but by the same token we realize what our obstacle is.
â€œWe have some very, very important people around the world that are interested in seeing the Maskaev-Klitschko fight take place, theyâ€™ve already put their two cents in, and hopefully this will lead to further confidence by JosÃ© to allow this fight to occur and not to delay.
â€œBoxing always has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot,â€? Kesch said, â€œand I hope that this isnâ€™t one of those times.â€? Read more at the BLOG
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