Earlier in this week, regular Deadspin commenter/hardcore-boxing fan "Iron Mike Gallego" emailed with a plea for an open thread for today's heavyweight championship fight between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye. Slow sports day. Quirky to have boxing on in the afternoon. Probably would have had one anyway. But his persistence afforded IMG the right to explain why this is a fight worth watching (HBO 4:45 p.m. eastern, replay five hours later):
For the first time in eight years, there is a heavyweight title fight you actually want to watch. This one has everything you could ask for: the two top heavyweights in the game (or, at least the two top heavyweights who aren't related to one another), two big punchers who can't take a punch themselves, and a compelling storyline: These guys absolutely hate each other.
Wladimir Klitschko is the real-life Ivan Drago who made a cameo in Ocean's Eleven and dated "Remember the Titans" star Hayden Panettiere. Like the former Soviet Union from which he hails, he's massive, capable of delivering a deadly blow at any point, and yet also suspect in his foundation and entirely susceptible to crumbling into rubble at a moment's notice.
David Haye is just a cocky British fighter with a big punch, a bigger mouth, and an even bigger ego. He's Floyd Mayweather if Mayweather wasn't a very good fighter. But Haye has nevertheless done something unique: he's gotten under Klitschko's skin, especially after he wore a shirt to a press conference depicting Haye holding the severed heads of Klitschko and his so-frighteningly-similar-that-it-could-only-be-the-product-of-some-weird-cold-war-era-experiment-gone-awry brother, Vitali. Haye's jaw is decidedly crepe paper, though.
In all likelihood, if Haye doesn't wound Klitschko early, Wladimir will slowly hunt him down and destroy him. Haye has as good a chance as anyone to hand Klitschko his first loss in more than seven years. That says more about the state of the heavyweight division that it does Haye, unfortunately. At least know this: the fight should be pure action for as long as it lasts. Just don't blink.
Bert Sugar's Take [Boxing Scene]
Hopkins: Haye will easily beat Wladimir [BoxingNews24]
Klitschko wants to make Haye a 'better person' [Kyiv Post]