By Kenneth Friedman: Perhaps motivated by the possibility of getting a huge $100 million+ contract with DAZN, former unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko says he has an “obsession” with becoming a world champion again. The 42-year-old Klitschko (64, 53 KOs), who hasn’t fought in two years since his 11th round knockout loss to Anthony Joshua on April 29, 2017, posted on social media on Monday, saying that his fight with Joshua was one of his best in his boxing career “so far.”
Wladimir is 0-2 in his last two fights having been beaten by Joshua and Tyson Fury. Does Wladimir rate a world title shot at this point? He hasn’t won a fight in four years since his win over Bryant Jennings in April 2015.
Here’s what the 6’6″ former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Klitschko had to say:
Although, I didn’t win the titles on April 29th 2017, for me, it was one of my best days in my long boxing career (so far). Thanks @anthonyfjoshua for being the perfect opponent and part of my obsession to become a champion again! #obsessed pic.twitter.com/vFSPLXG9QF
— Klitschko (@Klitschko) April 29, 2019
Anthony Joshua is in need of an opponent for his June 1st fight at Madison Square Garden in New York. If Wladimir wants to come back, this would be the time, and that would be an excellent location. However, it’s more likely than not that Wladimir would want to fight Joshua in a large football stadium like Wembley or one of the big stadiums in Germany. MSG is too small for a fight of that magnitude. Wladimir would be taking the fight on short notice with less than eight weeks training. That’s not a good idea. Deontay Wilder is the better option for Wladimir for a comeback. Wladimir would have a big weight advantage over the rail thin Wilder, who has been dropping weight with each fight for the last couple of years. Wladimir, who fought in the mid-240s, would have a big advantage in size against a 210 lb Wilder. That’s a winnable fight for Klitschko, even without a tune-up. It would be a crazy idea for wladimir to resist taking warm-up fights before challenging for a word title against Joshua or Wilder.
Making a comeback now would be profitable for Klitschko if nothing else. If he’s given a $100 million+ three-fight contact with DAZN, he could add to his $60 million estimated net worth if he sticks it out to the end of the contract, and doesn’t bail after he starts losing. Being out of the ring for as long Wladimir has been, it’s hard to see him doing well against any of the top level fighters in the heavyweight division.
What makes it difficult for fans to take Wladimir serious with his hints of a comeback is that he’s been hinting for some time now in the last two years, and he’s not returned. You can only cry wolf so many times before you’re no longer taken seriously. That’s why it would be better for Wladimir to keep quiet, and if he returns to the ring, he should let his actions speak for themselves rather than dropping hints, getting his boxing fans’ hopes up, and then not following through. At this point it’s forlorn. Wladimir comes across to a lot of fans like someone that is just trying to get attention from them so that they’ll pay attention to him for whatever reason.
It was a mistake on Wladimir’s part to retire so early when he still had a lot left in the tank after his loss to Tyson Fury four years ago in 2015. That was a close defeat for Wladimir. Instead of resuming his career right away, Klitschko stayed out of the ring for two years before finally returning in April 2017 to fight Joshua without a tune-up at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Wladimir not taking a tune-up to get ready for the Joshua fight after 2 years out of the ring had money grab written all over it. If the shoe was on the other foot, it’s unthinkable that Joshua would take a risky fight against a top level fighter without a number of tune-up fights if he’d been out of the rig for two years, and if he was 40-years-old. Wladimir’s mad rush to fight Joshua without a tune-up looked to some fans that it was him motivated for money. Is Wladimir’s potential comeback now based on the huge $100 million+ contract that he’s rumored to have been offered by DAZN?
The money that DAZN would likely be giving Wladimir would be part of a contract for a number of fights. If Wladimir loses his first fight, will he disappear again and not stay to the end of his contract? It’s hard to imagine Wladimir fighting two or three times for DAZN if he loses his first fight in returning to the ring. That could well happen if Wladimir’s first fight back from a 2-year retirement is against someone like WBC champion Deontay Wilder or Joshua. Wladimir hasn’t been hit in two years, and he’s 42-years-old now. He’s had just one fight in four years since 2015. What kind of chance does a fighter have against elite level opposition when you’re that old, and have been inactive most of the last four years? Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) said recently that he would want to see Wladimir come back and take tune-ups to show that he’s serious rather than just being given a title fight without earning it, and having lost BOTH of his last two fights against Joshua and Fury.