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25 APRIL 2018


Haye-Klitschko: Aftermath

By Daley James Francis: Now that the dust has settled on David Haye’s unsuccessful challenge to heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday July 2nd, the fight and the repercussions of the result can be viewed without the cloud of emotion.

Britain’s former undisputed world cruiserweight champion and now former WBA heavyweight champion was defeated by unanimous points decision – the scores (118-108, 116-110 and 117-109) reflecting a comfortable win for Wladimir, the long-time world champion from Ukraine.

Klitschko out-landed Haye by 134-72 in total punches landed, with Klitschko dominating behind his jab by 105-36. It was expected that Wladimir’s cautious style and reliance on the jab would be what Haye had to overcome, what was a surprise was that he had no answer for it.

The most depressing aspect of the fight was not the result, or Haye’s surprisingly cautious approach (blamed later on a broken toe that took away his now legendary ‘Hayemaker’), but Adam Booth’s complete lack of a plan B, and the inevitable kicking Haye took in the press and with the fans as a result of the manner of which he had conducted himself over the last two years.

The boasts, the t-shirts, the lack of respect shown towards his opponent, the delayed ring-walk (that also left Lennox Lewis standing around like a night-club bouncer on his first shift) will all count towards Haye in a negative light given his performance and the result.

It is a great shame. Haye was a great cruiserweight but the old adage ‘a good big man always beats a good small man’ was true on fight night and the question of whether or not a super-heavyweight division should be created at professional level may be asked again soon. A two stone advantage on fight night can no longer be deemed fair, regardless of an opponent’s skill level or agility.

Haye has three months until his proposed retirement date of October 13th (his 31st birthday) and his options are limited. A return to cruiserweight for a fight with Steve Cunningham would be a great fight but without major box office attraction. Vitali Klitschko is fighting former light-heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek on September 10th in Poland and therefore is not an option yet and Wladimir’s manager Bernd Boente has ruled out the possibility of a return with the now WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO champion.

The most likely option is a farewell fight in London around the October date, but with the time that Haye’s broken toe will take to heal and the lack of quality opposition in the heavyweight division, there is a chance that Haye will fade away like so many other quality fighters that dared to dream of becoming undisputed heavyweight champion.

For Wladimir Klitschko, defeating Haye was a legacy boosting victory. He is now undefeated in seven years, and has beaten every viable contender in his weight class in that time. He may not have done it with the same intensity and awe-inspiring ferocity of Mike Tyson, but along with his brother Vitali, he has dominated the heavyweight division. With the victory over Haye, the heavyweight division has a leader, whereas a Haye victory – then his retirement – would have left chaos and confusion in its wake. It may not have been the result the fight fans desired, but it might have been the one it needed.

When he retires, Wladimir will not be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis and Lennox Lewis by writers and fight fans, but his name may be amongst the greats in the IBHOF for his long-standing reputation as champion and his achievements.

July 5, 2011

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