Klitschko still hinting at potential comeback

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The former long-reigning champion continues to stoke the fire.

Former world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, who held at least one of the major heavyweight titles from 2000-03 and then 2006-15, is continuing to drop hints that he’s serious about returning to the sport.

Today is exactly two years since his last fight, a heavyweight instant classic with Anthony Joshua at Wembley Stadium, and he took the time to talk about that and include the open possibility of a comeback.

“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 Anthony Joshua for being the perfect opponent and part of my obsession to become a champion again!” he wrote.

Klitschko turned 43 in March, but you can understand his desire to come back. Apart from the more polite ideas about him being a competitor and a great professional athlete and all that, the man has to be looking at the money being thrown around in the sport these days and be tempted.

Wladimir made a lot of money in his career, don’t get me wrong, but with the three-headed mess at heavyweight right now with Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury split between different promoters and broadcast partners and none of them in any apparent rush to fight each other any time soon, there is a major opening for him to cash in.

Klitschko (64-5, 53 KO) may be old, may be 0-2 against Fury and Joshua already, but he’s a far more marketable name than anyone other than those top three guys. Even a one-off would surely bring with it a significant paycheck from DAZN or PBC or Top Rank/ESPN. And it’s the heavyweight division — any punch can change or end a fight. He’s always got that chance.

I’m not personally particularly interested in seeing Wladimir return, because as much as I loved the fight with Joshua — I agreed with the consensus that it was the clear Fight of the Year — I also remember many an afternoon or evening spent with his far more laborious efforts against the likes of David Haye, Alexander Povetkin, Bryant Jennings, Mariusz Wach, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chagaev, Hasim Rahman well past Rahman’s sell-by date, Sultan Ibragimov, etc. And I just don’t think he can beat Joshua, Fury, or Wilder, so all-in-all it runs a really high risk of being a cynical cash grab.

But if you look at what we’ve got coming up for those guys — Joshua against Andy Ruiz Jr, Fury against Tom Schwarz, Wilder against Dominic Breazeale — I can also understand buying the intrigue of a Klitschko return against one of them. At least he’s Wladimir Klitschko.

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