Haye We Go Again.
Apparently, one definition of madness is to repeat the same actions over and over whilst expecting different results. I found myself thinking about this as I read an auto-translated version of David Haye’s recent interview with German newspaper Die Welt this morning. David Haye, I’m sure you know the chap. He was the man who was going to knock out Wladimir Klitschko and then retire back in July.
I would imagine you are all aware that is not quite how the story panned out. Haye was by no means entirely embarrassed in the fight. He just singularly failed to live up to almost every pre-match boast he had made. The icing on the cake of that particular evening was the assertion from Haye that a broken little toe had cost him the fight. However, David isn’t the first fighter to make a himself look stupid and he won’t be the last. The trick with these situations is to make sure you learn from them and don’t let it happen again. Except, like Bill Murray waking up to find that Andie MacDowell still isn’t next to him, here we are again. Groundhog Day!
It would appear that Vitali Klitschko, (fresh from his late stoppage of Tomasz Adamek on Saturday) and David Haye are close to agreeing a fight. After Haye’s loss to Wladimir there seemed to be an immediate suggestion that the “definite” retirement would be put on hold. Bearing in mind that retirements in boxing are often seen as a mere sabbatical, the prospect of seeing ‘The Hayemaker’ back in the ring doesn’t come as an enormous surprise. Sadly, another thing that hasn’t shocked me today is the fact that Haye doesn’t seem at all chastened by his experience on that wet night in Hamburg back in July.
Haye describes last Saturday’s fight in which Klitschko beat Adamek, (like Haye, a former cruiserweight) as boring. I have no problem with that. I wasn’t exactly on the edge of my own seat either. Haye goes on to claim that a fight between him and Vitali would be more exciting. Really? The last time I was genuinely excited by a David Haye fight was over three years ago when he fought Enzo Maccarinelli. Fighting at heavyweight has robbed him of the fear factor he used to hold over boxers at cruiserweight. Monte Barrett knocked Haye down and since then he’s fought on the back foot. People might point to the Audley Harrison fight as evidence against this but we all know that bout was an utter farce and Harrison belonged nowhere near that ring. Wobbling Nikolai Valuev, whilst impressive, doesn’t make you a supreme knockout artist. In fact, it’s worth noting that despite being labelled a devastating puncher Haye has only ever knocked out three opponents. The south London boxer has stopped a lot of fighters but whilst he’s criticising Vitali for failing to knock out the likes of Adamek and Shannon Briggs Haye might like to cast a look over his own record.
In the interview David goes on to criticise Vitali’s choice of opponents. The same man who fought Audley Harrison and John Ruiz has the temerity to suggest that the older Klitschko sibling goes for easy opposition. The more I read of the interview the more I found myself getting annoyed but then I cast my mind back to an interview Haye did before the Wladimir fight with BBC 5 Live’s Sportsweek. At the time Haye was asked about the trash talking element of his promotions. His general response seemed to show a belief that all the great boxers did it and fighters who didn’t try to belittle their opponents got nowhere. I think it’s fair to say that many people’s choice for today’s pound for pound King, Manny Pacquiao might disagree.
It was suggested to me earlier that Haye is only behaving like this to secure and subsequently sell a fight with Vitali. While this may be true I am not sure it is entirely necessary. Whatever anyone thinks of David Haye he is still probably the third best heavyweight in world boxing today, the fight sells itself. If anything Haye is danger of putting people off. Trainer Bobby Rimmer remarked a while ago that David had been pulling the wool over people’s eyes and I would have to agree. First with the Harrison fight and then again with the Wladimir match up, shouting his mouth off, promising XYZ and then struggling to deliver half of X. Fans are getting tired of hearing it and a number of them remarked to me that they would be going against the habit of a lifetime and actively supporting a British fighter’s opponent should this bout happen.
Going back to the issue of selling the fight. A match between Haye and Vitali would sell out most arenas, promotion or not and assuming Sky Sports show the bout then pay-per-view figures are no longer an issue. Sky’s decision to suspend pay-per-view boxing broadcasts are almost certainly as a result of fighters like Haye not delivering PPV standard bouts and cards. All of this means that David could quite easily make this fight and then keep his head down and train. Personally I would love to see a British heavyweight world champion again and with his undoubted ability and career so far you would have to say that Haye probably does deserve it. The problem for me is that his mouth gets in the way and until that changes I’m afraid that I will always be hoping to see him eat his words.