Has it really been two years since I apologised for daring to doubt David Haye’s boxing ability after he floored the humunculous Nikolai Valuev? Well, I apologise again, this time for daring to believe David Haye could step up a level to render a Klitschko unconcious.
It was never going to happen last Saturday night. Not that I’m going to suggest this was a massive mismatch, because barely a dozen significant punches were thrown in twelve tedious rounds, and I can hardly say Haye didn’t deserve to be there when neither fighter truly turned up.
What we deserved, though, was something better. After all the ‘trashtalk’ and bravado, we expected Haye to throw everything at Wladimir Klitschko, particularly as ‘The Haymaker’ had been so unequivocal about his October retirement plans. This, to us, was his last chance, his one shot at leaving the building bedecked in golden-belted glory. That he spent most of it throwing sofa-loads of leather wide of the mark while teetering like a soused weeble is hardly the stuff of fisticuff satisfaction.
Worse still, after the pre-fight big talk came the post-fight whining: “I hate it when boxers give excuses, it makes me sick, but I broke the toe on my right foot three weeks ago,” Haye said. “I was unable to push off on my right foot and throw big powerful punches. This has definitely put heavyweight boxing back on the map.”
No it hasn’t David. It’s set you back a couple of years at least. Certainly the chance of a rematch is minimal while Klitschko can dictate terms, and a bout with his better boxing brother, Vitali, would be utterly disastrous on this evidence. Wladimir himself – to rub salt in the wound – was grace personified in the post-fight presser:
“Don’t mention the bad toe. You will look like a sore loser. It won’t look good. Take it like it is….The Heavyweight champion is big, strong and tall and it is not easy to move up from other weight classes. David would have success with certain type of heavyweight, but not against the really top guys.”
He was even more precise (and oddly prescient) in an Observer interview the previous weekend:
“You work your ass off to get to the top. It takes a lot of time. The way up is very long. The way down is one step. All the years of work, and the respect collapses in one second. It’s like that in life, not just in boxing.”
And that just about sums up David Haye’s life right now. Do us a favour Dave, next time, can the trashtalk and don’t forget The Haymakers.