Former WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev will be out of the ring for an indefinitely following September surgeries on both his left shoulder and right hand.
Valuev has not fought since losing his title to David Haye in November 2009. His physician Walter Wager informed the German news outlet Blid that Valuev has already suffered significant bone damage that will keep him from any ring action for at least six months.
“He can’t train for half a year, Nikolai’s joints and bones are already damaged,” he detailed. “We will see in 2011. His health is what counts.”
For the past two months, Valuev has been in a war of words with Vitali Klitschko following the collapse of their contract talks. Klitschko has painted Valuev as being afraid after the Russian giant reportedly turned down a $1.5 million purse. Valuev countered that he agreed to the contract but Klitschko refused to supply 50 arena tickets (15 ringside, 35 through the venue) for his team.
Valuev is 37 years old with a record of 50-2, 34 KOs. He is ranked in the Top 10 of every world title organization.
At seven feet tall and well over 300 pounds, it’s no surprise that Valuev’s body is starting to fall apart. Vitali Klitschko went through his own period of bad injuries that kept him out of the ring from 2004-2008.
This is probably the real reason Valuev and Vitali couldn’t finalize contract terms. The ticket excuse that Valuev gave was admittedly very flimsy. The injuries that he has are very extensive and did not happen overnight. In fact, I believe he probably had them going into his last fight with David Haye. Either way, Valuev’s body is breaking down and its not a process that can be reversed.
Based on his talent, Nikolai Valuev has already overachieved in winning a belt and making several defenses. Who knows what the heavyweight landscape will look like in mid 2011 if he can return to the ring. Even if doctors determine he is “healthy” and “fit to compete,” he should have an exit plan in place of one or two more cash-out fights before calling it a day.