Calvin Brock negotiating for Klitschko title fight

Rumors have been swirling as to who Wladimir Klitschko‘s (IBF) next opponent will be. It was supposed to be Shannon Briggs, presumably, but not actually, a done deal; then it was Oleg Maskaev (WBC), fresh off his win over Hasim Rahman; then it was Sergei Liakhovich (WBO), who captured the crown from Lamon Brewster.

Now it seems as if Calvin Brock, aka the Boxing Banker, is leading the pack of potential Klitschko challengers.

First reported by ESPN and subsequently picked up here and there “We’re negotiating,” Brock told ESPN.com Klitschko and the Boxing Banker are working out the details for a Nov. 11 date at Madison Square Garden, and among those celebrating Brock’s entry into the heavyweight sweepstakes is the Charlotte Observer, Calvin’s hometown paper. (Brock grew up in Charlotte, graduated from UNC Charlotte, and still lives part-time in the North Carolinian city.)

Charlotte, whatever its virtues, isn’t known as a boxing hub. Boxing isn’t big here, observes The Observer. Unless a city has a strong tradition or a large casino, boxing isn’t big anywhere. But a heavyweight title fight is.

Brock’s perfect 29-0 record with 22 knockouts is deceptive. According to The Observer, Brock’s strategy has been to avoid danger, pad record, fight champ. That shorthand doesn’t do justice to Brock’s accomplishments in the ring, but does he have what it takes to dethrone Wladimir Klitschko?

Klitschko, 30, is a year younger than Brock, and he is 4 inches taller. He has also won his last four fights, after a string of career ending losses in 2003 and 2004. Brock hasn’t fought anyone of Klitschko’s caliber is there a heavyweight alive who is of Klitschko’s caliber? and his last fight, against Timur Ibragimov, belies the notion that the South will rise again any time soon.

Klitschko’s size, his experience, his jab, his cornerman, suggest that Brock, who is slow, doesn’t punch straight or effectively counter, will have his hands full if and when he challenges Klitschko for the heavyweight title.