Breaking Down Valuev vs. Haye
Valuev vs. Haye
By Clive Bernath: If the bookies are to be believed David Haye is just 24 hours away from dethroning WBA heavyweight king Nikolay Valuev. Likewise, if you subscribe to the thinking of Valuev’s training camp then the 7ft 2, 315lbs man mountain will chop the ever vocal Londoner down and break him up into tiny pieces.
Whichever your thoughts on who is going to prevail inside the ring in Nuremberg this Saturday evening we are sure to witness an intriguing battle of truly David and Goliath proportion.
At 6ft 3 and 218lbs, the 29 year-old Londoner will be at a considerable physical disadvantage. And if you throw in the fact that Haye has verbally insulted the Russian champion far beyond what is deemed acceptable behaviour and boasted continually of how he will embarrass him and knock him out ,then we have a heavyweight showdown destined to keep even the most neutral of boxing fans on the edge of their seats.
Below is a brief on the strengths and weaknesses of each fighter
Despite Haye having gone to the lions den and defeating Frenchman Jean Marc Mormeck inside seven exciting rounds and stopping Enzo Maccarinelli to crowned undisputed world cruiserweight king, he has pretty much hand picked his opponents up until now. And with only six heavyweight rounds under his belt, five against a past his best Monte Barrett and one against the overmatched Tomasz Bonin, his heavyweight experience is limited. Valuev without doubt is by far the more experienced of the two, having fought 264 heavyweight rounds, been 12 rounds no less than 11 times and fought four world heavyweight champions.
The physical advantages are obvious. At 7ft 2 and 315lbs Valuev holds all the advantages. The Russian champ will no doubt attempt to lean on, hold and generally smother Haye in the hope of slowing him down, zap his strength and nullify his speed.
One criticism that has always been directed at David Haye is that he lacks the natural physical stamina to fight for 12 hard heavyweight championship rounds and on Saturday night we will find out if that evaluation is justified. It is worth noting that Haye has completed 12 rounds just once in 23 fights and more than eight rounds only three times. Valuev on the other hand has heard the bell sound for the 12th round 11 times. Valuev may be bigger and slower but has no such stamina issues.
The advantage here obviously lays with Haye. David’s best hope of beating Valuev is to use his foot and hand speed to move in and out of range and score with sharp, accurate counters against the much bigger man. In order for David to maintain that strategy for 12 rounds he must of course possess the aforementioned stamina to stay on the move and keep the stronger Russian at bay
This a tricky one as both Haye and Valuev need to maintain their respective discipline for different reasons. Valuev has been subjected to an enormous barrage of insults and verbal abuse and may just deviate from his tried and tested game plan in his eagerness to punish Haye for disrespecting him. Haye will hope to use his speed to outbox the champion but after a couple of rounds could revert back to his usual crash bang wallop, crowd pleasing style and that could prove his downfall.
A lot has been made of Haye’s one punch power and down at cruiserweight that power was not in question, But at heavyweight we only have the multiple knockdowns of Monte Barrett to gauge his power at heavyweight. As for Valuev, he has stopped 34 of 50 opponents but rarely against a genuine world class fighter. For such a big man Valuev is not a massive puncher but over a 12 round fight against he probably not need to be a massive puncher to do some damage .
Valuev’s chin is as good as any fighter in the sport today. In 52 pro fights he is yet to be troubled. Haye, though, has been floored by the much lighter Lolenga Mock, Jean Marc Mormeck and Monte Barrett in his last fight. It goes without saying that if Valuev lands flush it cold all be over.
They say a boxer is only as good as his last fight and if that’s the case neither man can boast bragging rights. Granted, Haye prevailed against Monte Barrett and the fight was explosive and exciting while it lasted and Haye did floor Barrett a number of times but equally David looked vulnerable at times and looked to be running out of gas after putting too much effort into trying to knock out Barrett, early. Valuev was equally poor. Against 46 year-old former champ Evander Holyfield Valuev’s workrate and punch output was very poor and he failed to conquer Holyfield’s punch and move style. Many thought Holyfield was unlucky not to have got the decision.
So, here we are, David vs. Goliath. Personally I find it very difficult to make a case for a Haye victory but having said that there is every chance Valuev may have got old overnight. The 36 year-old failed to put a decent combination of punches together against Holyfield and if he does not improve on that performance and Haye manages to stick to his game plan there is every chance he can cause arguably the biggest upset by a British boxer fighting overseas since Lloyd Honyghan destroyed Donald Curry in 1986.
November 6, 2009