By Ryan Waugh: last week the official announcement arrived that David Haye will not be renewing his boxing licence and retiring from the ring on his 31st birthday as promised.
One thing for sure is that Haye does tend to keep the majority of his prophecies and has always labelled the 13th of October 2011 as the day he would hang up his gloves. However, is it the right time to call it a day? He has only boxed in 27 professional bouts and leaves the sport at the tender age of 31.
Realistically heavyweight boxers can box right through their 30s or even longer and the former WBA champion is only just reaching his prime for a heavyweight fighter.
Is he happy to leave on the back of a hugely disappointing defeat to Wladimir Klitschko or does he need to carry on and redeem himself from that miserable Saturday night in July? These are questions which will be asked for sometime to come but this writer’s opinion is that he still has unfinished business.
To be fair to the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, he has achieved everything he set out to do as a young boy entering the amateur boxing world and nobody can take this away from him. He has come a along way since his first professional victory over Tony Booth at York Hall in 2002.
However, with his great ambition brought a moment of realisation when he was stopped by veteran Carl Thompson in 2004 but he restored his reputation with fine victories over Alexander Gurov and Giacobbe Fragomeni to become European cruiserweight champion.
Things got better and better for Haye as he went to France and defeated Jean Marc Mormeck to become WBA super world cruiserweight champion. He then defeated Enzo Maccarinelli with ease before turning to the heavyweight scene and claiming his biggest scalp with a 12 round point’s victory over Nikolay Valuev in Germany.
However, one promise that he did not fulfil was the dismantling of the Klitschko brothers.
He may retire with a tidy bank account and he can say he was a world champion at both cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions. However, some people will remember him for the failure to live up to his highly charged talk of changing the heavyweight scene with the destruction of the Klitschko brothers.
This is something he will have to live with and time will tell if he will be able to live with this as the weeks and months dwindle away. Like a lot of people in the boxing world, i.e. Barry McGuigan being one, they believe that Haye should not retire and waste the talent he still has and that unfinished business is required.
If the Bermondsey man truly believed he could beat either of the Klitschko’s he would not have announced his retirement. Over time his pride may just indulge him when he question’s in hindsight whether this was the way to end his career with a demoralising defeat against his nemesis.
The old adage is that the difference between a champion and a true champion is that true champions always want more, they never settle on their laurels and are hungry for more glory no matter what.
Maybe the Londoner will always be remembered as a mediocre champion to most or ultimately fate may just decide if unfinished business is still on the agenda for the Bermondsey Bomber.
October 15, 2011