London 2012: Team GB’s Awards Ceremony

Best Quote:

Nominees: Boris Johnson – “They [the female beach volleyball players] are glistening like wet otters”, Boris Johnson ” ‘Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’, which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic Village…”, Ben Ainslie – “They’ve made me angry and you don’t want to make me angry”, Lord Coe – “When the time came, Britain, we did it right!”

Ben Ainslie Angry

You don’t want to make him angry…

Winner: Ben Ainslie’s fighting talk

Ben Ainslie’s threat to the rest of the Finn Class field may have sounded a little preposterous at the time but he yet again proved himself a class apart as he recovered a sizeable early deficit in the competition so sufficiently that he went into the final race in pole position and managed to hold on for his fourth gold medal. Like he said, you don’t want to make him angry…

Golden Oldie:

Nominees: William Fox-Pitt, Nick Skelton, Mary King, Greg Searle, Ben Ainslie, Katherine Grainger, Sir Chris Hoy

Winner: Nick Skelton

54 year old Nick Skelton may have narrowly missed out on a gold medal in the individual showjumping competition but in playing a huge part in Team GB’s gold medal winning success in the team competition he proved that he is still a spring chicken at heart.

Most Inspiring Member of Team GB:

Nominees: Jess Ennis (‘The face of the Games’), Anthony Agogo (Won boxing bronze and dedicated his triumph to his hospitalised mother), Nicola Adams (Women’s boxing trailblazer and gold medal winner), Gemma Gibbons (Judo silver Medallist who dedicated her success to her dead mother), Katherine Grainger (Three consecutive Olympic silver medals and now, finally, a gold medallist), Bradley Wiggins (Tour De France winner and now a four time Olympic gold medallist), Sir Chris Hoy (Six time Olympic gold medallist), Tom Daley (Bronze medallist so soon after the death of his beloved father), Joanna Roswell (Alopecia sufferer and now an Olympic gold medallist)

Winner: Nicola Adams

In a home Games that were full of emotion and tales to tell this was undoubtedly one of the most hotly contested categories and I have opted for Adams who endeared herself and her much-maligned sporting discipline to the nation. Before the Games many would have had reservations about women’s boxing but Adams’ bravery and skill turned people’s frowns upside down and she deserves an enormous amount of credit for playing a huge part in convincing the nation and indeed the world into giving the sport a chance and then some… 

Saddest Moment:

Nominees: Zak Purchase and Mark Hunter post-final interview, GB’s lighweight four post-final interview, Gemma Gibbons’ “I love you mum” moment

Winners: Zak Purchase and Mark Hunter

Most Exciting Moment:

Nominees: Mo Farah (Home straight of the 10,000m), Mo Farah (Home straight of the 5,000m), Laura Trott (Final event of the Omnium), Etienne Stott, Tim Bailie, David Florence and Richard Hounslow (C2 Canoe Finale) Peter Wilson (Double Trap Shooting Final), Tom Daley (10m Platform Diving Final), Victoria Pendleton (Individual Sprint)

Mo Farah Mobot

The ‘Mobot’

Winner: Mo Farah (10,000m home straight)

Mo Farah’s double gold medal winning performance at London 2012 was a treat to behold and for me at least his 10,000m race was the most exciting moment of the Games. It put the icing on the cake of an incredible Saturday night in the Olympic Stadium as it was Team GB’s third gold medal in the space of an hour and it was the ‘mo’ment which ensured that that night would forever go down as one of the very finest in British sporting history.

Best Team:

Nominees: Cycling, Rowing, Equestrian, Tennis, Gymnastics, Canoe/Kayak

Winners: Cycling

Gold after gold after gold. Once again the cycling team were unbelievable and there huge level of achievement was made all the more incredible by the heartbreak of Mark Cavendish’s ‘failure’ to live up to the huge weight of expectation on his shoulders when he finished way off the lead in the men’s road race on the first day of the Games. Such was the British cycling team’s success that the French team were crying foul play, accusing Dave Brailsford and his team of cheating by way of having wheels that were unfairly round… 

Biggest Disappointment:

Nominees: Dai Greene, Shanaze Reade, Perri-Shaykes Drayton. Phillips Idowu, GB Relay Teams, GB Swimming Team

Winner: Phillips Idowu

As the Olympic Games have been such an overwhelming success in London and as Team GB have for the most part been terrific it is easy to forget that there have been some major disappointments along the way. The greatest of the disappointments was arguably been Phillips Idowu both in terms of his behaviour in the lead up the Games and then his performance in the Games itself. His ‘invisible man’ act beforehand and his poor performance in the preliminary rounds of the triple jump contest at which he was eliminated will have won him few admirers and one would hope he can find a better performance soon otherwise this will have been a horrible way for one so talented to leave his sport.

Best Celebration:

Nominees: Tom Daley (Pool jump), Mo Farah (The ‘Mo-Bot’), Andy Murray (A la Pat Cash), Sophie Hoskings and Kath Copeland (Kath Copeland’s ‘The face of victory’), Etienne Stott and Tim Bailie (Capsize into the rapids), Jade Jones (Good, old-fashioned scream, roar and phist-pump)

Tom Daley Team GB

Daley’s bronze medal celebration was one of the highlights of the London Games

Winner: Tom Daley (Pool jump)

There was so much reason for celebration within Team GB during Olympic fortnight that it all seems to blend into one but one of the stand-out celebrations of the Games was undoubtedly that of Tom Daley and his diving team mates. Imagine if he’d won gold…!

Superstar in the making:

Nominees: Anthony Joshua (Boxing gold medallist), Laura Trott (Track cycling double gold medallist), Jason Kenny (Track cycling Double Gold Medallist), Lizzie Armitstead (Cycling Road Race Silver Medallist), Alistair Brownlee (Triathlon gold medallist), Adam Gemili (100m semi-finalist), Sophie Hitchon (New British record holder in the hammer throw), Michael Jamieson (Swimming – Breaststroke), Jade Jones (Taekwondo gold medallist)

Winner: Laura Trott

It is hard to see Laura Trott not ending her cycling career amongst the most decorated British Olympians of all time as she has already bagged two golds at the age of 20. If she continues at her current rate then she could well be a ten-time gold medal winner if she carries on until she is Sir Chris Hoy’s current age!

Star Performer:

Nominees: Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Laura Trott, Jason Kenny, Andy Murray, Sir Chris Hoy

Winner: Mo Farah

There have been almost too many success stories to mention for Team GB and for London over the past few weeks but the stand-out performer of the Games has to be our favourite Somalian born distance runner, Mo Farah.

Farah’s nerve, concentration, strategic nouse and physical strength have peaked at the perfect time and in becoming only the eighth person ever to do the 5,000m and 10,000m double he has written his name into the history books as one of the greatest ever Olympic athletes.

So, huge congratulations are in order to the likes of Jess, Jason, Sir Chris and Laura as well as the rest of Team GB’s medal winners  and emerging talents but perhaps even greater congratulations are due to Mo. He might not have the looks of  our “Face of the Games” Jess Ennis but who can resist a scrawny-looking, bald, bearded man win a penchant for slapping his own slap-head and for performing the now infamous ‘Mo-bot’… Sir Mo, we salute you!

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Boxing finally triumphs in Haye-Chisora freak-show but all is not forgotten

After months of idiocy and immaturity David Haye and Dereck Chisora have finally found themselves face-to-face in the ring and Haye’s victory tonight marks what would appear to be the final act in what has for the most-part been a pretty sorry affair both for British Boxing and for British sport as a whole.

It is almost unfair though to group tonight’s fight between the pair in with the rest of the frustratingly moronic pre-fight saga, as the fight itself was fast, fierce, compelling and generally speaking fought in completely the right manner.

Haye and Chisora embrace

Finally Haye and Chisora demonstrated a hint of decency towards one another after Haye defeated him tonight

Boxing is meant to be a sport of honour, bravery and skill and thankfully all three of these were on show tonight. David Haye, the eventual winner by way of knock-out, may have looked a little ring-rusty in terms of his fight-night fitness but his hands were as quick and as strong as ever and Chisora, bustling as usual, was busy, focused and intent on trying to fight on the front foot and on his own terms.

Haye’s tactics may well have proved successful courtesy of the extra fire, speed and conviction that he possesses and Chisora lacks a little but credit must be given to ‘Del-Boy’ for a brave performance which may have been a little too strategically predictable but still showcased an admirable faith in his own ability and perhaps more skill than we have seen from him on occasion, which thankfully Haye was quick to recognise in his physical and verbal post-fight reactions.

All too often boxing matches are remembered for moments of mindless behaviour, rule-breaking or controversial results and though many may have expected this fight to be up there with the most memorable in terms of indiscretions, it was a great relief to see both fighters concentrating on what they’re actually both very good at; Boxing.

The problem with Haye and Chisora though is that in spite of one night of admirable boxing and sportsmanship there still remains a streak of stupidity about the pair and it isn’t easy to forget just how appallingly they behaved at times in the lead up to the fight.

Chisora has always flirted with unjustifiable arrogance and petulance but never more so than when he stepped from behind the interview desk at last year’s Press Conference in Munich and physically fought with Haye before hurling a torrent of disgusting verbal threats at his ‘nemesis the particular highlight of which, or lowlight as the case may be, came when he said he would “physically burn” Haye.

Haye Chisora Brawl

The embarrassing events of Munich will live all too long in the memory and it will be hard for Chisora and Haye to recover their reputations in spite of tonight’s entertaining fight

This enormous lack of grace and dignity has though at times been matched by Haye who was provocative and completely irresponsible in his approach to verbally inciting Chisora’s advances in Munich before too getting too hefty a rush of blood and of monumental lunacy to the head when physically brawling with Chisora.

For all his talent, which much to my personal delight he demonstrated on fight-night against Chisora, Haye is still a sore loser and remains at times painfully wedged firmly up his own rear-end. Tonight he may have done the business with the gloves and with his ability to demonstrate the ‘gift of the gab’, but all too often in the past he has made a complete and utter backside of himself when really he is capable of great eloquence when compared to the vast majority of competitors in his sport.

I am able to get my head around boxing’s pre-fight fanfares and the need for talking a big-game and causing a stir in order to get a push up the ladder, after all had Haye not got through his full range of tomfoolery when he decided it was time to step up to the Heavyweight Division then he wouldn’t have got such a swift shot at the title and he may not have become a World Heavyweight Champion. What does bug me beyond belief though is the level of thuggery, impetuousness and ignorance that both Haye and Chisora obviously felt it necessary to demonstrate on that fateful day in Munich which led to tonight’s battle.

If they both wanted a fight with one another then they could have had one. What I mean to say is that they could simply have left it at verbals in Munich and arranged a fight themselves, to be carried out in a ring with a referee and a scoring panel of judges just as they experienced tonight. It could have been that easy and both men would come out of tonight with their head’s held high, with the reputation of British Heavyweight Boxing still well in tact and with a far greater chance of fulfilling their remaining ambitions in the world of boxing.

As it is though, they tonight have managed only to perform some damage limitation. The damage to their own names and that of British Boxing was already done after ‘Munich-Gate’ and in terms of their personal reputations the damage may well prove to be irreversible. Haye has tonight managed to prove he is still a very talented boxer no matter what weight division he fights in and Chisora has further enhanced his reputation as an offensive and exciting boxer to watch but will this be enough to secure them the fights they desire against the Klitschko’s?

I enjoyed tonight and was glad to see Haye and Chisora demonstrate something dangerously close to sanity and dignity but I hope the Klitschko’s turn down any future opportunities to fight against the pair. The fights would surely make compelling viewing and I happen to think that they have a good chance of materialising over the next year but as far as I’m concerned Haye and Chisora have both disgraced themselves too greatly over the past twelve months for them to be deserving of a shot at the titles of the sometimes annoyingly squeaky-clean Ukranian brothers.

For all their high and mighty nonsense it is hard to deny that the Klitschko’s are still the men to beat in the Heavyweight division and it is  more than fair to say that their teachers-pet like behaviour is by far the lesser of two evils when compared with some of the disgusting behaviour of the two protagonists of the current British Heavyweight scene.

We now await to see whether tonight’s showing has earned bad boys Chisora and Haye enough brownie points for them to get the fights they so desire, only time will tell.

A week in sport: Haye-Chisora, AVB’s continuing misery, Cycling Success, Carlos’ U-Turn and an ODI Reprieve for England

Too little, too late from Tevez…

He may have finally apologised for his pitiful behaviour over the past few months, but the sulkiest Argentine in Manchester has left it far too late for me.

Carlos Tevez, one of the most outstanding footballers in world football and a spoilt brat to boot, has behaved so apallingly for one so privileged throughout this season (one which he has contributed next to nothing to on the pitch) and he has been a figure-head of controversy ever since arriving on British shores.

His initial stint at West Ham came under intense scrutiny for the manner of the deal that brought him to England, but his stunning end of season form was enough to pretty much single-handedly keep the hammers in the Premier League. For that, much of the British public (West Ham haters aside) really took to him. He then went on to play a big part in his first season at Manchester United where his on-field industry and talent made him an immediate hit with the fans.

Since then though, Tevez’s likability has plummeted. A second season with United became dominated by contractual disputes and stewing on the sidelines before he eventually opted to cash in on a lucrative move to United’s fierce rivals, Manchester City. At City he has enjoyed great personal and team success when motivated but unfortunately he has done a good job also of maintaining a firmly irritating persona off the field.

His persistent cries of home-sickness and of dislike of the City of Manchester drew little sympathy given his £200,000-a-week pay-packet and this miserable nonsense continued into the summer of 2011 where he was subject to much transfer speculation. Unfortunately though for Tevez his efforts to find a way out of Manchester failed tand he was left to stew in the City he presumably reckons is ‘hell on earth’.

After failing to find a buyer, the ever-charming Mr.Tevez then sunk to his lowest professional ebb as he forgot that he was being paid a ridiculous amount of money to play football, as he refused to warm-up and enter the field of play when his team were in need of his services on a big European night.

All in all, Tevez is a gloriously talented footballer but perhaps more apparently, he is a pretty immature and dislikable chap when not on a football field. His antics in Munich are in serious danger of becoming the defining moment of his career and though he may finally have eaten some humble pie I think he has left an indelible, negative-stain on English football.

Carlos, my dear friend, you are a magnificent footballer but I suggest you bog-off to back to Argentina pronto so we don’t have to stomach any more of your tripe. Rant over.

‘KP’ and ‘Chef’ turn on the style as England salvage some pride in the ODI’s

With England’s reputation as the strongest side in Test Match cricket left looking rather debatable and even worthy of a little ridicule in the wake of their white-wash series defeat against Pakistan, it was down to our reliably unreliable ODI squad to restore some pride. Thankfully they did just that and the big names came into their own.

Having both restored their reputation’s as truly world class Test batsmen through their outstanding performances in 2011, Alistair Cook and Kevin Pietersen  both suffered enormous reality checks in the embarrassing recent Test Series defeat against a rejuvenated Pakistan side. Both men struggled to find any sort of form with the bat in the Tests but teamed up beautifully at the top of England’s batting order in the white-wash ODI series win over the same opponents which was sealed yesterday with a fourth consecutive victory.

Both men scored two match-winning hundred’s each and Cook too scored an important 80 to accompany Pietersen’s first century of the series in the third ODI. These knocks marked very timely returns to form amidst press and public murmurings about the security of both of their roles in the England setup, as Pietersen’s all round form was under scrutiny and Cook’s one-day captaincy was still under intense observation given his relative lack of experience and form in the format.

Both of England’s match-winning batsmen were beautifully supported by their bowlers en-route to a satisfying series win and it was the prodigiously talented Steven Finn who really impressed with the ball in hand.

The young Middlesex pace-man has worked tirelessly to add greater pace, threat and sharpness to his bowling since losing his regular place in England’s Test line-up during the Ashes last year and the work is certainly reaping it’s rewards. His form this series has provided a great reminder of his talents and has shown a real willingness to try and impress when given the opportunity to do so and as such he may have earned him self a re-call to the Test XI as well as securing a position in the One-Day team.

Cycling successes provide some momentum going into ‘The Games’

I hardly profess to be a cycling enthusiast but what better time to start getting into it than just a few months before the Olympics in London.

This week’s cycling World Cup (and Olympic Velodrome test event) provided early signs of some major success that could be set to come our way this summer. With the likes of Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton back in form and amongst the medals at the test event it seems that cycling will once again be a major strength for us at ‘The Games’.

We need all the success we can get this summer and the cycling World Cup has helped our charges gain some vital momentum in the build-up to their respective battles for personal and team success this summer. Success breeds success, so let the winning feeling continue.

British Boxers disgracing the rest of British sport

In a year of great excitement and promise for British sport, the last thing we need is morons like David Haye and Dereck Chisora ruining it for the rest of us. There is little that can be said about the embarrassing scenes in Munich the other day that hasn’t been said already, but here are my brief thoughts on the matter…

I’ll start by saying that I think the BBBC should revoke Chisora’s license and should decline any potential future attempts from David Haye to renew his should he decide that he wants to come out of retirement. To coin a famous phrase ‘there are two sides to every story’, and sadly for British boxing and the entire British sporting community both sides to this story are utterly pathetic and humiliating.

I was once a real fan of Haye’s but his persistent attempts to gain self-glorification were already wearing thin before this mess and now his actions in Munich have well and truly consigned him to the waste bin of my sport-filled brain. If you have read your way through my ramblings today then you may well be aware that Carlos Tevez resides their too.

Even worse though and even more irrelevant in my eyes is Dereck Chisora who has made a total backside of himself this past week. After a stuttering start to his career Chisora should have been wholly grateful for his opportunity to fight Vitali Klitschko for his World title but instead he opted to act like a complete yob. His pre-fight slap was bad enough, as was his apparent efforts to spit a mouthful of water at Klitschko’s younger brother Wladimir (how moronic can you get?), but apparently he could better himself in the idiocy stakes.

Though I believe Haye was once again exceptionally stupid and irritating throughout his contributions to the piece in Munich, Chisora, for me, has managed to come out of the event in an even worse light due to his disgusting threats and his inability to stay out of a row that should hardly have been a concern to him.

Chisora has often spoken of his desire to “slap” people that he takes a disliking to. Well, Mr. Chisora, I dislike you and if I could choose a sportsman to “slap” then it would probably be you (Haye would be a close second and Tevez third in case you were wondering…)

Just a quick word on Vilas-Boas’ predicament at Chelsea

5 games without a win is a considerable drought for Chelsea’s manager given their modern era of success but I hope Chelsea don’t get rid of Andre Vilas-Boas.

I for one think he was foolish to leave Ashley Cole, Michael Essien and Frank Lampard out of his starting line-up against Napoli yesterday evening but those decisions aside, he is smart, talented, interesting and incredibly eloquent. He is a breath of fresh air amongst some of the more placid and forgettable managers in the English game and I believe that in the long run that he could be a very good fit for Chelsea.

Things might not be working at all well at the moment for AVB but if Chelsea decide to back their man then they may well be rewarded strongly in the long run. Hopefully we will get to see the best of AVB in the near future and hopefully it will be enough to keep him in his job. Sadly though for Vilas-Boas, it appears that those involved with the club aren’t far away from a ‘final straw’ mindset… I wish him good luck, he might well need it!

This time Goliath won… David Haye struggles his way to a desperate defeat

He may have lasted twelve rounds against Dr.Steelhammer, but David Haye last night succumbed to his first defeat as a Heavyweight. Furthermore, if Haye is good to his word then this could well be his final ever fight. If this is the case, then it was an uncharacteristically timid curtain call for the usually brash Londoner.

Wlad rules triumphant

The years and months of anticipation, mind games and trash talking all came down to one night. A night which Klitschko dominated from start to finish.

The general pre-fight consensus was that if David Haye lost the fight then he would look rather foolish given all of his personal hype for the bout. Add to this the benefit of hindsight, and Haye’s antics on the night also look a little foolish. To waste a lot of people’s time, effort and money by delaying his scheduled arena entrance by over ten minutes was never likely to make him many friends, win or lose. Maybe this was just one of many unwise decisions from Haye and his entourage over the course of the last two years.

One of Haye's distasteful pre-fight stunts

Another disappointing move from Haye on the night were his post-match complaints of ill-health. He appeared to be claiming that a broken little toe was at the heart of his defeat and not his inferior size, strength, nouse and Heavyweight experience. Pitiful excuses won’t make you many friends either David.

Haye's infamous broken toe

Of course a broken toe hurts, of course it will affect you, but there is no way Haye would have got in that ring if he honestly felt that it would have seriously troubled him. There was certainly no obvious expression of pain from Haye during the fight, so we may be excused for being a little sceptical about just how much the injury was playing a part in his lacklustre showing.

One mention of the toe was quite enough if not too much for most. However, Haye then decided to take his boot off to show the cameras. Not content with this, he went on to use the post-fight press conference as a homage to the toe that ruined it all for him, including further photo opportunities for the media.

Haye’s pre-fight exhibitionism can be excused as it achieved it’s end goal of a Heavyweight title fight against a Klitschko. But this reaction in the face of defeat is verging on pathetic. No matter how bigger problem his injury was during the fight, he could at least have had the good grace to accept that he was simply outboxed. The truth is that Haye and his trainer Adam Booth underestimated Wladmir Klitschko. They were correct that he is not the most entertaining Heavyweight of all time, but they simply weren’t prepared for the scale and awkwardness of the challenged posed by him.

So, hats off to Klitschko for backing up his own far more pleasant brand of confidence. He really did outclass Haye on the night and exposed the frailties which Haye possesses as a Heavyweight.

The Hayemaker's greatest night

There are no doubts about David’s ability to box. He has proven beyond any doubt that he is an outstanding Cruiserweight. It is the weight division which he is naturally suited to and many would argue that he should have stayed at the weight. To the contrary I credit Haye for his move. He is an ambitious man and has always wanted to reach what he viewed the pinnacle of the boxing world and he achieved it in a sense. He was Heavyweight champion of the world for over a year, his only downfall was aiming higher than this.

Haye in his glorious Cruiserweight days

If ambition is his major failing, then his must be considered a very good career. Sadly for Haye, if he is to retire after this defeat and over-ambition then he may be remembered as a slightly lacklustre Heavyweight rather than one of the finest ever Cruiserweights that Britain has ever had.

David Vs. Goliath II: Can Haye secure his famous legacy?

This Saturday will finally see the end to one of boxing’s longest sagas. David Haye versus Wladmir Klitschko has been a long time in the making and both fighters will be eager to prove that it can be worth the wait. A wait which at times has been rather irksome.

The pair of World Champions are both undoubtedly class acts in the ring but out of it they are different beasts. Haye is a cocky, smug, arrogant and above all a bit of a playground bully. Klitschko on the other hand is a smarmy teachers pet. Both have their magic moments with the media, but the anticipation surrounding this bout has allowed the two of them to become rather self-indulgent.

A prime example of Haye the 'bully'

Blissfully we will finally see the two of them in the same ring for the first time ever this weekend. The stage-show will reach it’s conclusion and the fight itself has the potential to be an absolute classic. Each fighter has sheer and utter self-belief in themselves. Such confidence is often just bravado, but in this case each of them have plenty of reason to believe that they are capable of a career defining victory.

Since moving up to the Heavyweight division, Haye has been unstoppable. His first fight which won him his world title against Russia’s nature defying Nikolay Valuev was a demonstration of magnificent hit-and-run boxing. His defence was such that the then World Champion Valuev barely landed any of his earth-shattering punches. In the mean time Haye managed to sneak in with his impressive speed and land heavy blows of his own which rocked the giant.

Haye's greatest achievement to date

Since then however, Haye has fought two fading forces. One was the resilient John Ruiz, who Haye destroyed bit by bit, bone by bone. The other was Audley ‘A-Force’ Harrison, who again Haye tore to pieces. But in truth these two fights were foregone conclusions. Haye’s attributes were more than enough to dispose of them with little fuss, and this begs the question as to why Haye even decided to take on such fights.

For a man seemingly so keen to fight as many high profile heavyweights before an early retirement later this year these fights seemed like odd selections. He has publicly demonstrated his desire to leave a legacy when he retires and such a feat will only be achieved by taking on the likes of Wladmir. We can see then why this fight is so crucial to Haye and his ambitions.

On the face of it this fight appears to be there for the taking. Haye is supremely talented and has strength way beyond the usual limitations of people with his stature but is it enough to defeat a highly reputable World Champion like Klitschko? He has already beaten a Heavyweight World Champion in the form of Valuev but Klitschko is a huge step up. Not only is he a huge man with immense ring presence and strength, but he has good footwork and knows when to throw his punches. Haye’s defence and evasion were super slick against Valuev but it will have to improve two-fold again if he hopes to prevent Wladmir from landing. At Heavyweight level David Haye’s chin has not yet been put to the test and it seems unlikely that Klitschko will fail to land significant blows. Haye must be prepared to endure such moments of shock and trauma if he is to come out of the ring with three belt to his name on Saturday evening.

Finally Haye has the chance to come face-to-face with Wladmir in the ring

Couple Klitschko’s far greater boxing talent and pedigree in comparison with Haye’s previous Heavyweight conquests, with the Partisan venue and it becomes hard to foresee a full-distance win for David. It seems that if he is to secure his greatest ever victory that it will take an aggressive approach and a win by way of knock-out. This is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility given that Klitschko has indeed been defeated in such a manner before, but it is certain that Haye will have to produce his very finest in order to chalk up another major scalp.

Glamour-Boy Haye Bringing Back The Glory Days For The Heavyweight Division?

Last weekend David Haye destroyed friend-turned-foe Audley Harrison in just three rounds at the MEN Arena, Manchester. Though Haye won in convincing fashion it is still in doubt whether he is the man to rescue the Heavyweight Division from it’s years spent in the wilderness of Eastern-Europe.

Haye has an abundance of confidence and swagger that suggest that perhaps he is capable of bringing back the glory days for the big boys of the boxing world but is he really capable of living up to the likes of Mohammed Ali? Perhaps it is unfair to compare anyone to the justifiable arrogance and poetic genius of Ali but in order to drag this weight division out of the doldrums surely there is no one better for Haye to aspire to. Ali is the pinnacle and Haye would do well to follow in his wondrous footsteps.

Of course Haye is far from achieving the legacy left by Ali but if what he is saying is true then his aim to unify the Heavyweight division and become a boxing great must be done within a year. His ambition to have successfully achieved this by the age of 31 is at least refreshing in a division that has for a decade been dominated by the ageing Ukrainian brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko who hold the other World Heavyweight belts despite being well into their 30’s. In an era of aged Heavyweights battling it out for the world titles Haye is seeking a rapid change of the guard before leaving the sport to pursue a career in the media spotlight.

Haye has alluded to following the likes of Vinnie Jones out of the professional sporting world and into films and television stating that if “Vinnie can do it then why can’t [he]?” I can’t help but feel that if Haye does indeed manage to unify the division within a year that he would be doing the sport that he loves an injustice if he were to turn his back on it having offered just a glimmer of light at the end of what has been a seemingly never ending tunnel for Heavyweight boxing. For a man with such talent and such power to throw away the opportunity of re-igniting what should be boxing’s premier weight class with an extended stay at the top would without doubt be a huge disappointment to fans of the sport.

Haye has the the talent, presence and self-belief of an Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World and the poster boy of British Sport and World Boxing but is he asking too much of himself? Can he honestly leave a lasting impression on the world of Boxing within a year as he so wishes? A lot of questions will remain unanswered about just how good Haye is if he leaves the sport having won the titles but not having defended them.

The Heavyweight Division has been lacking any flair or personality for what seems like an eternity and global viewing figures have dramatically leaned towards the lighter and more fast paced weight divisions in recent years. Without the ‘Hayemaker’ the future looks bleak and Heavyweight boxing seems doomed to a continued era of tired performers defending their belts against inferior opposition.

Big Weekend For British Sport; You Win Some You Lose Some

Isn’t it brilliant when things work out sweetly for you? Last week I salivated over the prospect of a big weekend for British sport and so it turned out to be. Furthermore, I put my journalistic neck on the line and predicted that would David Haye would dominate Audley Harrison, though I would concede that the outcome was fairly obvious. However, I am most proud of my foresight regarding English Rugby and the need for us to play to our strengths and let our youngsters fly. Perhaps a certain Mr.Johnson did indeed stumble upon my blog and take heed from my thoughts as I wished for in my previous post…

Our first big winner of the weekend was the Hayemaker himself. Such hype, such build-up and such hysteria preceded the battle of the British Heavyweights, which indeed ended up being as “one sided as gang rape” as Haye himself so distastefully stated it would be. It took Haye little over seven minutes to stop Harrison in menacing and convincing fashion. The fight started at snails-pace with Haye dancing around the ring and Harrison vigilantly watching on. But when the referee stepped in to tell the fighters to start boxing in the second round Haye set to work and crushed the Olympic Super Heavyweight gold medalist. Haye sent Harrison tumbling to the canvas at the start of round three with a torrent of fierce blows only for Harrison to regain his footing after an eight count. This resistance was short-lived as Harrison was seconds later prevented any further torment by the referee after another flurry of weighty connections. Many would argue that Haye should never have taken the fight with Harrison as there was nothing he would learn from the bout. He may be a hollow-victor in some eyes, but he is a victor nonetheless and clearly Haye was fighting to put some personal ghosts to bed.

Second big winners of the weekend were the England Rugby team. Not only did they win, but they won with a swagger unfamiliar even in the days of Clive Woodward and World Cup glory and broke their scoring and winning margin records against the Aussies. What England and Martin Johnson desperately needed was a slick, stylish and clinical display in order to get the critics off their back and boy did they get it. Such a transformation from the negative and sloppy outfit that lost out to the All Blacks the week before England looked like and proved to be world beaters.

Each and every one of England’s generally young and pretty exciting when given the chance side seemed to enter the fray with an entirely different and necessary mentality and it paid dividends. An unwritten rule of such performances is that the whole team were men of the match, however, one young man shone brighter than all those brave performers around him. Ben Youngs was simply magical. His ability to dictate the game from 9 was sublime and the genius and sheer confidence of his performance was encapsulated in that most glorious of moments when on his own try line he dummied and stepped before releasing the ball which found its way to Ashton on the wing and the rest is history. English rugby fans will take this performance into the remainder of the autumn internationals starting this Saturday against Samoa.

We’ve had the winners and now for the losers. Where else to start other than poor old Audley? The moment he has waited for all his career falls rather fortunately into his hands at the age of 38, it is against a man who he is emotionally tied too and his training camp went as well as ever. So what went wrong? Well no one can possibly explain why his performance was so dour. Why wait an entire career for your moment and only throw a single jab and not one of your famed big left hands. Surely Harrison has not only lost this fight but finally come to the end of such a disappointing career.

Other notable British losers this weekend were Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Admittedly both drivers needed an awful lot to go their way in order to steal in on the title but neither driver even forced their way into the top three drivers for the season. Hamilton in particular will be left ruing his back to back failures to finish when coming into the home straight of the F1 season, not exactly what is expected of a former champion. The composure shown by German Sebastian Vettel was worthy of that of a man who has now usurped Hamilton as the youngest ever F1 champion.

Final loser of the weekend of British sport was me. I placed five pounds on Haye defeating Harrison in the fifth round in addition to the £14.95 spent on seeing the probable end of Audley Harrison’s career. Seems that I should have staked my money on Haye’s recommendation of a third round knockout…

British Bulldog Vs. Tired Old Dog…

With just one week to go until the battle of the British Heavyweights takes place I will tell you exactly why David Haye will triumph. Below are some admittedly rather untempered arguments in favour of Haye  effectively ending the career of Audley Harrison…

Speed: David Haye is a glimmer of the genius that was Ali. Floating like a butterfly around the ring, Haye will have too much sting for his elder.

Motivation: Though Audley Harrison is undoubtedly determined to win the fight what else has he to achieve beyond it. Haye has spoken publicly of wanting to leave in his wake a boxing legacy. He wants to destroy Harrison and then go on and defeat the Klitschko brothers and unify the Heavyweight division. Harrison just wants this fight, he wants his one punch moment of glory, too much is being focused on this fight their is no real light at the end of the tunnel.

Look at their records: Enough said? Surely? Harrison has been beyond lacklustre since turning proffesional, Haye at times has been sublime.

Age: Though the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Evander Holyfield and Matt Skelton may disagree age is an undeniable weakness of Harrison’s. Audley simply needed this fight and this chance 10 years ago when he was consistently successful

Flexibility: Haye is so fast, so skilled, so talented and has such sweet hands that he is so adaptable within the ring. He can go in all guns blazing from round one and destroy his opponents with a fast, loose and direct displays. Just ask John Ruiz and Enzo Macarinelii… Alternatively he can stave off the immense power and presence of fighters such as Nikolay Valuev by fighting with immense concentration and wisdom. In his fight with Valuev, Haye defended himself so wonderfully by utilising his superior speed and skill to keep out of the firing line and catch his opponent on the run.

Harrison is the very epitomy of a one-dimensional fighter; takes a beating, hangs around and then conjures up one huge weighty punch and if it lands he steals victory. Harrison proved once and for all against Michael Sprott that he is a stealer of fights. He was behind by a huge distance on the scorecards and then in the 12th round he found a K.O punch from nowhere. Haye seeks victory Harrison waits for it to come to him. Trouble is Harrison simply cannot cope with 11 rounds of punishment from Haye, question is, could anybody?

Harrison should be pleased to be having his shot. Frankly, he is lucky to even be coming up against Haye. Many described Haye’s decision to take on his former sparring partner as a risk. I believe Haye knows exactly what he is doing. He will go out there next week intent upon punishing Harrison and demonstrating once more his more devastating and torturous side. Can you hear the Ukranian giants quaking in their boots?