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Czarek Sokolowski/AP/Press Association Images Vitali Klitschko, PhD.
# Corner man
Is a comeback on the cards for David Haye?
Plus: an update on Cotta vs. Margarito and all the news from the Olympic Test event in London.

It says a lot about the state of heavyweight boxing that the most intriguing fight a current champion can find is against a man pummelled by his virtual clone just months ago.

Speculation is rife that David Haye’s retirement (announced just six weeks ago) could already be over and that discussions regarding a comeback fight against Vitali Klitschko next March have already reached an “advanced” stage.

The settling of a date, however, is contingent on resolution of several issues, including a UK TV deal and a win for Vitali against Jean-Marc Mormeck next month, but if the recent speculation proves correct, the Hayemaker (and his baby toe) will seek redemption early in 2012.

Haye’s last outing, in July of this year, saw him soundly beaten by Vladimir Klitschko in a lopsided, sputtering anticlimax of a primtime encounter. The Englishman’s excuse– that a broken baby toe had hampered his movement– washed with few fight fans, and as a consequence, it’s difficult to imagine this fight becoming quite as attractive a prospect for promoters.

Given the humiliating (and expensive) way in which his macho histrionics were exposed as a sham, David Haye Mk.II will need to be contrite if he hopes to win back the support of the pay-per-view-buying public.

But for all Haye’s weaknesses, there are few other opponents an aging Vitali Klitschko can legitimately challenge. The need for a new generation could scarcely be more apparent.

One final nore: don’t think that the lack of an attractive fight heralds the end of boxing as spectacle or the death of its showcase division. If the Klitschkos weren’t related, the divisional rankings would be spearheaded by two supreme champions, and a fight between them would be as big as any event contemporary sport can offer.

It might be an inconvenience now, but in years to come, the establishment of the Ukrainian duopoly could well be remembered as one of the sport’s most remarkable feats.

Jabs and Parries

You’ll remember that last week I told you of the confusion surrounding next week’s clash between Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.

Though the fight was less than a fortnight away, Margarito remained unlicensed by the New York State Athletic Comission amid concerns over an eye injury he picked up in his previous contest, against Manny Pacquiao.

This week, sense prevailed, and the Mexican was finally allowed to fight, though he did have to fly from his training camp in Mexico to New York for a medical exam his team contended was unnecessary.

Kenny Egan is the biggest name on the Ireland team at this weekend’s Olympic Test Event at London’s ExCel Arena, home of the boxing competition in next summer’s London Games.

The Neilstown native has returned to his natural weight of 81kg for now, and won his quarter-final against China’s Xuan Bao on Thursday. David Oliver Joyce won his quarter-final on Friday, meaning five Irishmen will appear in today’s semi-finals.  The others are Conrad Cummings, Tommy McCarthy and Con Sheehan.

Egan’s return to 81kg sets the Olympic medallist up for a likely rematch with last year’s national champion Joe Ward. If Egan wants to return to the ExCel next summer, he’ll need to avenge his defeat to Ward before graduating from the final Qualification event in April.

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This week in boxing history

They were countrymen, not brethren, yet Mexican legends Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera will forever be considered inseparable.  Their trilogy of fights in the first half of the last decade was nothing short of astonishing.

Their first bout, in 2000, saw Morales squeak out a split decision, and in their second contest two years later, it was Barrera who emerged victorious, again by a close (but unanimous) decision.

Their final clash, on November 27th 2004, was probably the best of the lot: it had everything.

Barrera took an early lead, only for Morales to claw his way back into the contest.  There was real animosity in the ring that night, and even if the boxing itself was fair, both men refused to take backwards steps.

Those in attendance at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas were treated to twelve rounds they will never forget, and though it was Barrera who earned final bragging rights over his long-term rival (following yet another judges’ decision), neither really deserved to lose.

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