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.

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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.