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In Defense of David Haye: BOXING NEWS

By Donald C. Stewart

Out the window, out the picture and just plain out. That is how Wladimir Klitschko has described David Haye following the Champion’s defeat of the boy from Bermondsey in their unification bout. We all know he was down – the pecking order, on the canvas and on his luck but now we can make him a down and out?

David Haye entered the ring having talked up, at some length, his credentials and his need to take out both the Klitschkos. He told Vitali at a press conference not to get into the ambulance with his brother after the fight as he was coming after him next. As it turns out the only ambulance needed was for David’s ego. He told everyone who would listen that all he needed the referee to do was to count to ten. The only counting he did was to eight and it wasn’t whilst looking at a body on the ground in red shorts.

Some of us worried that he had taken leave of his senses when he got up on the press conference table and showed off the broken toe he had. Lennox Lewis wasn’t the first, nor the last to scoff at the idea that Haye was unable to throw decent combinations because of a broken pinky toe.

There have been quite a few commentators who have taken pot shots at Haye, feeling cheated and let down by the display which even straight after the fight Haye, himself described as awful. Haye has acknowledged that he let himself, his fans and the public down and perhaps now his mouth has found somewhere to place itself where it can talk more sweetly. It perhaps has the humility to speak as a Champion rather than a cheap Challenger.

I have to say that I loved his talking before hand and thought it brightened up the whole affair. Let’s be honest, what was the last heavyweight contest that had ANY doubt over the result… Haye managed to create a storm with everything he did and his antics were as reported as the fight itself. Thing is that Haye merely gave us what we all craved. A contest. A fight. A dust up. Something to report and debate.

We all fell in and with what had happened in Haye’s previous fight where Audley Harrison had talked his way into contention Haye did exactly the same thing. Harrison imploded, Haye didn’t even sizzle.

The unification bout has, in some quarters, been described as the worst ever but let’s not be overly harsh. Sure, Haye did exactly what all those overblown puddings had done before and been unable to beat Dr Steelhammer who kept him at considerable arm’s length. Haye was unable to provide a single combination never mind the secondary combinations that he claimed would win the contest for him. That is the reality. Haye has not ducked any of that.

For me the biggest disappointment came not in the ring but at the side. A few weeks ago in Ringside Reports I was lauding the abilities of Adam Booth. Booth had gone into a contest domestically and got the tactics absolutely right. It was a fight before hand that was far too close to call. Booth showed himself to be a master tactician. Up against Emanuel Steward he was well and truly beaten.

The man with the plan was Wladimir Klitschko. He fought, as Haye has also acknowledged, the perfect fight against a man of his type, style and abilities. He won by boxing in a fight that he knew how to win. Haye boxed in a contest where first gear was lost and there were no other gears available…

In his interview with talkSPORT Haye explained. “He was better than me, pure and simple. I came off second best and even if I’d been 100 percent fit, I might not have won. He’s the best fighter on the planet right now”.

So what now for David Haye and Adam Booth? Haye is hurt and looking at his future. His date for destiny – in October – is beginning to look as though it will come and go without his retirement.

If Haye decides to fight on there are three options available for him. Haye got into this position without having to go through the usual British, European and Commonwealth routes. The domestic scene in the UK is looking a tad healthy at the moment and the reality of going back to the beginning for someone who has tasted World title fights at two weights might be too low to go.

Secondly he could push for Vitali or a rematch. Haye may already be on his way to that type of thinking – after all as he said to talkSPORT, “It’s always been my plan to retire before my 31st birthday but I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll check out how much he earned (from the fight) and realize he’ll earn peanuts against anyone else compared to fighting me again. I’d love the opportunity to do it again and I believe on my day I could beat him. I failed this time fair and square but I’d like another crack at it. I’m very frustrated with myself”. Wladimir is in absolutely no doubt he won’t fight Haye again.

At least not for the moment anyway. There is little demand for a rematch because the fight was hardly a spectacle. Fight fans do not want it. It was supposed to be fireworks and drama and thanks to more than just the rain it became the biggest of damp squibs! As for the elder brother, if Vitali would enter the ring against Haye is doubtful. Why should he? The family honour is intact. Adamek will not test him come the Fall and then he will sit and wait for the next set of contenders – probably just like his brother.

Finally Haye has an affinity with the US of A. He could decant himself for a time in the States and rebuild there. As the Heavyweight division is more than a little light over there he could in all possibility manage to gather some new fans and create a new demand for the division to set up a US based rematch. It could take a few years though…

The effect of what happened is Hamburg is going to be with us for some time to come. We all wanted this division re ignited. We all wanted this division filled with good matches and great fights. Haye failed us all and he knows that. Whilst his performance wasn’t good, Klitschko’s wasn’t great. He came in, like Haye, for a knockout victory and left with a points decision. How much his ego will let that settle whilst he has more paydays to come with unspectacular contests is unknown but Wladimir Klitschko – like his brother – is not a great Champion. He has yet to find a defining fight. The Haye contest was going to be it. It wasn’t. What is?


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