Will Byrd-Klitschko II at MSG save the day for HBO?

By G. Leon


Will Byrd-Klitschko II at MSG save the day for HBO?

With WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko being forced to postpone his April 30 showdown against former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman,Boxingtalk.com has already began to hear rumblings that Chris Byrd-Wladimir Klitschko could save the day for HBO. Klitschko advisor Shelly Finkel confirmed to us yesterday afternon that Byrd-Klitschko II was again in "explaratory stages" to replace Klitschko-Rahman on April 30 at Madison Square Garden. When it became clear that Byrd-Klitschko wasn't happening in Germany on April 23, Sergei Lyakhovich was secured (though no contracts have been signed yet) as Byrd's replacement. Remember, April 23 is a date HBO committed to Wladimir Kltischko when they bought for that disastrous Vitali Klitschko-Danny Williams PPV back in December.

In turning down more than a $3M guranteed purse, it's no secret that Chris Byrd was unwilling to face Klitschko in Germany, however, even though Byrd explained that he feels Monte Barrett is more deserving of a shot than Klitschko, he would have no problem trying to avenge his loss in America.

While exact figures haven't been disclosed, Boxingtalk understands that Byrd could now make significantly more than his $2.5M contractual minimum to face Wladimir Klitschko at Madison Square Garden on April 30

"Man, you know I love fighting at the Garden. My last two fights were there and I'm undefeated at the Garden."

Byrd's lack of a guaranteed $1M for a rematch should he lose his IBF title to Wladimir was one of the main reasons the fight fell off the table in the first place.

Team Klitschko countered Byrd's demand for a $1M rematch clause by trying to workout a (65/35 or 70/30) percentage split of the available revenue. Team Byrd never gave in and Team Klitschko never changed its position either so the fight fell off the table. Naturally Byrd didn't want to comment on his position regarding the rematch clause. In short, it doesn't sound like Byrd's demands have changed much, if any, but with HBO losing its coveted Klitschko-Rahman title fight, they might want to up their offer a bit to ensure that a heavyweight championship fight is aired in April.

Byrd's promoter Don King was unavailable for immediate comment.

In other news: Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman isn't interested in facing anyone else but Vital Klitschko so expect him to wait until Dr. Ironfist is ready to rock and roll. "I worked myself into this position to fight for the WBC title and that's the only fight I'm looking at. Why would I want to fight anyone else when he's considered to be the man? I mean, it's a little disappointing, but all this is going to do is make me sharper. Now I'm going to have more time to work while he can't do nothing but get better."

Boxingtalk.com also understands the eagerly anticipated rematch between light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson and former light heavyweight king, Antonio Tarver is another possibility HBO is tossring around to replace Klitschko-Rahman on April 30. Naturally, you should stay tuned to our front page of all the latest information regarding HBO's April 23 and April 30 dates, and all of your other boxing news, as it breaks.


Send questions and comments to: gleon@boxingtalk.net