Klitschko/Maskaev, Sulaiman/King and the footprint of history
As an upshot to Kevin Iole’s LVRJ piece on the Klitschko-Maskaev negotiations and the progress or lack thereof, I contacted Maskaev’s manager, Fred Kesch, to get an update as to where things stand.
We have a mandatory against the winner of Toney-Peter, Kesch told TSS, and Klitschko has a mandatory against Ray Austin. But let’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.
We’re not handcuffed with any promoter we have an agreement with Dennis Rappaport he’s our exclusive promoter and we don’t give options to anyone else. But Don wants Jose to stand by the mandatory.
Options is one of boxing’s dirty little words and one of boxing’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.
If Toney hadn’t opted to fight Peter, continued Kesch, 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.
Now what if Toney or Peter get hurt during this rematch? What does that do for us and our mandatory? We shouldn’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 WBC’s approval, why not let it happen? It’s the best for boxing. It’s the best for the boxing fans. They recognize Wladimir Klitschko and Oleg Maskaev I doubt they recognize some of the others but they still don’t know who is THE heavyweight champion of the world, and I think a fight between Oleg and Wladimir would certainly define that.
Maskaev’s next fight is tentatively scheduled for April 21, if we can get through these obstacles, said Kesch. If Jose doesn’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.
Still, if all that comes to pass, King still wouldn’t have options on either Klitschko or Maskaev, and isn’t that fact alone enough to keep this unification bout from ever happening?
It depends on who runs the WBC, said Kesch. Does Don King run it, or does Jose Sulaiman run it? Somehow you always have to look at the footprints in the sand. But we’ve had some very positive discussions with Jose thus far, and they will continue, today as a matter of fact, but by the same token we realize what our obstacle is.
We have some very, very important people around the world that are interested in seeing the Maskaev-Klitschko fight take place, they’ve already put their two cents in, and hopefully this will lead to further confidence by Jose to allow this fight to occur and not to delay.
Boxing always has a tendency to shoot itself in the foot, Kesch said, and I hope that this isn’t one of those times.