By Johnny Walker
THE “EXPERTS” BLEW IT
More than a few boxing “experts” have egg on their face in the aftermath of the David Haye flop against Wladimir Klitschko.
Freddie Roach, Angelo Dundee, and many more, mistook David Haye, possibly due to his relentless trash-talk and self-promotion, for the second coming of Ali.
And therein lies the problem.
As I’ve written in past columns for Boxing Insider, Haye created a false picture of himself and his heavyweight achievements via his unrivalled ability to talk about himself and issue press releases seemingly 24/7. The mythical David Haye created by this stream of propaganda bears little resemblance to the actual David Haye, who fought Klitschko in the same tedious and negative way that he fought Valuev. But Wlad is a lot better than Valuev (and many thought Haye lost to Valuev as well).
If Haye had any class, he would now issue an apology to the “fat bums,” as he unfairly called them, who have lost against Wlad in the last few years, people like Ruslan Chagaev and Tony Thompson, “bums” who would also stand a very good chance of knocking David Haye out.
But let’s not hold our collective breath waiting for Haye to start showing good manners.
The truth is, anyone surprised by Haye’s performance last Saturday night either hasn’t been paying attention to his career, or is guilty of uncritically buying into Haye’s non-stop line of BS.
ADAMEK DID IT RIGHT
Last week, Wladimir’s brother, the WBC heavyweight champion, Vitali, made the observation that while his upcoming opponent, Tomasz Adamek, had earned his shot at a Klitschko, David Haye had merely talked his way into the same.
How right Vitali was.
The reason that the upcoming Vitali-Adamek match in September will be what so many hoped for from Haye-Wladimir, is that Adamek is a fighter, while Haye is a talker.
While Haye has been running his yap with a stream of half-lies and distortions about himself in the last couple of years, Adamek, like Haye a former cruiserweight champ now toiling at heavyweight, has been doing things the hard way. Knowing that the size of the Klitschkos presents a problem for smaller men like himself and David Haye, Adamek went out and found some giants to do battle with: the 6’7” Michael Grant and the 6’6” Kevin McBride.
While Adamek struggled at times with Grant, he has put in the hard yards to ensure that the size issue will not throw him off when he gets into the ring in Poland with Vitali Klitschko. In contrast, Haye’s sole fight with a super heavyweight before Wladimir was his aforementioned negative win over 7-foot tall Valuev (Audley Harrison was tall, but that wasn’t a fight so much as a farce), a fight that even Haye’s Sky Sports cheerleader Jim Watt thought he lost. Haye never did come to terms with Valuev’s size the way that Ruslan Chagaev did in his win over the Russian giant, and coupled with Haye’s slothful inactivity since turning heavyweight, this cost him big-time when going up against Wladimir. All he could do was retry the Valuev strategy, and it predictably failed.
So Haye ended up looking every bit as bad, if not worse, than some of the other Klitschko victims of the last seven years.
THE “TOE” JAM
As for the “toe” excuse, Haye deserves the ridicule he is getting. Rafael Nadal just played two weeks of Wimbledon with his entire foot frozen, and made the final. When he lost, he didn’t rip his sneaker off to show the crowd the reason for his defeat. Haye would have been better off not mentioning the toe, instead of having his “the dog ate my homework” moment with Larry Merchant after the fight, in which he made a fool out of himself.
WLAD: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK
Wlad on the other hand, got the job done against Haye and dominated with his jab. He also didn’t clinch excessively and demonstrated a good chin when Haye did connect flush, refuting two of the biggest charges always leveled at him.
Still, Wlad seemed too conservative, especially late in the fight. It is hard to escape the feeling that against Vitali Klitschko – or even a pressure fighter with a rock solid chin like the newly svelte and rededicated Cristobal Arreola – Haye would not have seen the final bell.
IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON
Those who say this fight reflects poorly on the heavyweight division are mistaken. The fight reflects poorly on David Haye. And it also shows the negative side of excessive hype. Haye is a carnival barker, and a very good one. He creates an enticing illusion with his words and asks you to step inside and see the show. And then he gives you something that is far less than was promised, while absconding with your money. He did it against Valuev, he did it against Harrison, and he did it against Klitschko.
Finally, Haye now says he desires a rematch. There is some heavy irony in this, because it was Haye who made such a stink about not having any rematch clauses in his contract with Klitschko. Haye got what he wanted, and now he wants the opposite. Be careful what you wish for, David.
Sore tootsies aside, a rematch of a bout so lop-sided is not warranted. And who wants to endure another round of endless Haye-Klitschko rhetoric again so soon?
It’s boring now. Been there, done that. Let Haye go out and beat Cris Arreola, like Adamek did, and then maybe he can think about a rematch with Klitschko.
As for the present, it’s time to move on.