By John F. McKenna (McJack)
WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KO’s) is still haunted by his loss due to cuts against former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 2003 and the inability to get him back into the ring. The 40 year old Ukrainian will face challenger Dereck Chisora (15-2, 9 KO’s) on February 18. Vitali is still hopeful that a deal can be worked out for a fight with former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (25-2, 23 KO’s). Vitali acknowledges that ironing out a deal with “The Hayemaker” has been difficult.
When Haye retired last October on his 31st birthday, he let it be known that he would consider a return to the ring if it involved one of the Klitschko’s. With Wladimir refusing Haye a rematch it left the door open for a possible fight between Vitali and Haye. “Dr. Ironfist” has repeatedly said that while he was satisfied that his brother Wladimir won a lopsided decision over Haye he would like the opportunity to “send him to the floor.”
Vitali has defended his title ten times on both sides of a four year layoff while he underwent reconstructive knee surgery. He reclaimed his WBC title belt in 2008 when he defeated Sam Peter. Since reclaiming his WBC belt Klitschko has been a dominant heavyweight champion barely losing a round.
Klitschko acknowledges that he is still haunted by his TKO loss due to facial cuts he suffered against then heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis. Klitschko was ahead on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped due to the severity of his cuts. Vitali still dreams of a rematch against the former undisputed champion. Lewis however retired before a rematch could ever be made.
Klitschko was quoted in an interview in the Telegraph saying:
“The injury stopped me in the fight against Lennox. He promised me we would fight me again. He called me to London, just me and him. His mum was there. We talked for 30 minutes, while his mum scanned me up and down. I flew back to Germany. He rang me and said ‘Vitali I’m not going to fight you’. His mum made the decision and then he retired.
“I’ve always wanted to fight Lennox again – he was the undisputed champion – but the decision was made for me. It was my biggest fight.”
Vitali also acknowledges that he has a genuine dislike tor Haye because of the comments he made in the lead up to the fight with his brother last July. But if given the choice between Haye or a fight with Lewis, Vitali says he would take the match with Lennox.