Saturday, 12th May, 2012
There are strong rumours circulating both in the German and British press that Alexander Povetkin V Hasim Rahman is to be dropped from the July 14th Haye V Chisora card, and moved to Germany. The WBA title fight was due to be the main support on a massive card in East London, showcasing the public grudge match between David Haye and Dereck Chisora. German broadcaster ARD has pulled out of the contest after bowing to big pressure from various bodies. It leaves the card without any major TV deal in Germany, a far from ideal situation considering the amount of interest if the fight on both sides of the channel.
Povetkin (24(16)-9) was due to defend his title against the mandatory challenger Hasim Rahman (50(41)-7-2) on July 14th at West ham United’s Upton park stadium, but ARD were left with no choice but to pull out after a massive outcry from the likes of the Klitschko brothers who called the card a ‘Freak show’, as well as pressure from UK MP’s after the BBBofC General secretary Robert Smith attempted to involve the government in a last ditch attempt to stop the fight. If the fight goes ahead, it will have massive implications on all parties involved, and if a potential clash with WBO lightweight boss Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell goes head on the undercard it could spell bans for the fighters and trainers involved in such bouts.
It is starting to look like the BBBofC are trying in every possible way to get the fight stopped, and it certainly looks like it is working internationally as with the news of ARD dropping the fight, its main undercard fight will likely head back to Germany where it will no doubt be picked up on TV. If it stays on the card, then German viewers will only get to see that title fight, before the highly publicised fight with Haye and Chisora is blacked out. Frank Warren knows the importance of getting the fight broadcasted in Europe, after the manic scenes post the Klitschko and Chisora fight made the headlines worldwide. It will be seen as a massive blow to the promotion if no other broadcaster picks up the grudge match, leaving fringe outlet Epix to show it online.
After so much publicity last week when the fight was announced, it now seems that the pressure from the fights critics is taking its toll and is putting the whole show in jeopardy sending out confusing signals to the 20,000 fans who have already snapped up tickets in the UK. Rumours are circulating that the fight will not take place at all, and that Robert Smith will not stop at getting the fight being called off, such is the outcry at present from insiders in the sport both domestically and internationally, who feel it will damage the sports integrity permanently.