Heavyweight champion Klitschko doesn't mind Mayweather-Pacquiao overshadowing his own return to America, writes Danny Flexen
SO you’re all geared up for your first fight in the USA for over seven years. Ticket sales are progressing well, your opponent is unbeaten and full of confidence and HBO are on board. Then the two biggest stars in the sport announce their long-awaited mega-fight and it’s just seven days after yours. Non-American fans who can only afford one foreign excursion per year are faced with a choice and, unfortunately for you, it’s not an overly taxing one. This is the situation in which unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko finds himself but the imperious Ukranian is unfazed by recent developments and their potential effect upon his plans.
“I’m absolutely happy that this event is happening with Mayweather and Pacquiao,” he insists, seemingly not through gritted teeth. “It’s great to have the sport of boxing creating so much financial asset [sic] that it’s going to attract a lot of other businesses to the sport. It makes the sport of boxing more lucrative, more exciting. Some people will say it’s wasting money, it’s too expensive, it’s not worth it, whatever the complaints are going to be, but even if I’m not making this amount of money and it’s not about me – I wish I could be involved in such a fight but it’s not the case – I’m really happy for those two guys and that this match is happening.”
Klitschko can afford to be magnanimous, it appears. Wladimir believes there are enough boxing devotees and casual fans to ensure both Madison Square Garden on April 25 – when he defends against Philadelphian Bryant Jennings – and the MGM Grand on May 2 will be full on the respective fight nights.
“Yeah, why not?” he states. “That fight is going to be at MGM and real boxing fans are going to fly over and spend big bucks on that. I’m totally cool because on ticket sales we’re doing fantastic. Hours after we announced the fight, 5,000 tickets were sold for Madison Square Garden so I’m pretty sure we’re going to be sold out by the fight day at the latest.
“I think after my experience on this promotional trip in New York, people are eager, they are hungry for heavyweight boxing and boxing in general for some reason. I think the fight between Bryant Jennings – he’s quite local, from Philadelphia, young, unbeaten and ambitious – and me as someone that New Yorkers have seen previously many times, as this is going to be my fourth fight at Madison Square Garden, that created so much interest.”