By Clive Bernath: Nobody can accuse British fighters David Haye and Carl Froch of failing to publicise their respective upcoming world title fights or lacking in self confidence. After all-the sport of professional boxing-more so than any other has always relied heavily on the likes of Haye and Froch to sell the big fights, which is why many of us are just as fascinated by the hype leading up to the event as we are the impending battle between the ropes.
Froch makes the first defence of his WBC super-middleweight crown against American Jermain Taylor this Saturday (Apr 25) at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, while Haye challenges Wladimir Klitschko for the Ukrainian’s IBF heavyweight crown in Germany on June 20.
Prior to both the aforementioned fights being signed and dates confirmed, Froch and Haye waged an un-merciless public campaign to force their respective opponents into fighting them. The relentless pressure by both camps eventually paid off and now reality has set in and the moment of truth has arrived for the British boys.
Granted, Taylor is the WBC No.1 contender and the fight was always going to be made eventually but that did not stop Froch(and indeed Taylor for that matter) running his mouth off in a bid to seal the fight and gate crash the lucrative US TV market. As for Haye, he chased Wladimir up and down escalators and hijacked him and his brother,Vitali Klitschko at every opportunity to force them into facing him, even though the former world cruiserweight champ has only fought at heavyweight twice before. The result? A signed contract to face Wladimir in Germany on June 20 plus two more big money fights-a rematch with Wladimir(should Haye win) and then a crack at Vitali’s WBC title.
Following all the trash talk and hype Froch and Haye must now walk the walk in what is by far the biggest fights of their respective careers.
Can they pull off a British double away from home?
On the plus side Froch is the naturally bigger and stronger man and is yet to taste defeat in a 24 fight career that has seen him stop 19 opponents inside the distance. Though, it has to be said that all but one have been on British soil. Also on the plus side Froch is a master when it comes to maximising his weight to strength ratio and he goes into the bout with Taylor knowing he can complete 12 hard rounds. He proved that by out-pointing the then unbeaten Canadian Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC super-middleweight crown over 12 highly entertaining and action packed rounds.
On the minus side though the 31 year-old’s defence is at times non existent, he takes far too many shots to the head and if anyone can take full advantage of that weakness, Jermain Taylor can. Having said that Froch has shown a very sturdy set of whiskers and Taylor is not a massive puncher but he is quick and he is accurate. Let’s also not forget that even though, Taylor at times can lack motivation, he has fought and prevailed in some massive fights, Bernard Hopkins, Kelly Pavlik, Winky Wright, whereas Froch has little experience of the big occasion away from home.
As for David Haye, he has the bigger task of the two in more ways than one. Not only will he be giving away about four inches in height and about 25lbs in weight, he’s also got to travel to face IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in his adopted country of Germany in front of around 60,000 fanatical fans.
Haye has incredible self belief and that’s a massive plus-and there are many fans on the various forums that think he can take Klitschko out. It’s a heavyweight clash so there is every chance that can happen but I have a feeling his task is going to be more difficult than Haye believes.
One man that is qualified to have an opinion on Klitshko vs Haye is Michael Sprott. The former British heavyweight champion has sparred both men in the past so has an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Speaking to Sprott on the telephone earlier this week about the June 20 heavyweight clash he said: “David has definitely got a chance but he needs to take Klitschko out early, the later it goes you have to fancy Klitschko.”
Explaining in more detail Sprott added: “The other thing I will say is Klitschko is deceptively fast for such a big man, quicker than you think and he does not waste his punches. “
As mentioned earlier both Froch and Haye possess incredible self confidence-some may say bordering on arrogance- but the fact is they are both prepared to lay it all on the line, face the challenge head on and provide boxing fans around the world with two guaranteed barn burners. For that we must applaud them.
April 21, 2009