By Johnny Walker
“I’ll retire. I really mean it. No, I really really mean it.”
The above seems to typify former WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye’s current strategy for securing a match with current WBC champ Vitali Klitschko.
Haye, who turns 31 next Thursday, has been trumpeting the news that he will retire on this “special to no one but him and his loved ones” occasion with tedious regularity over the last couple of years, and he, or rather his mouthpiece Adam Booth, has returned to the theme once more to try and obtain another huge payday against a Klitschko brother.
Let’s get this straight. There is no particular reason that David Haye has to stop fighting, either next Thursday or anytime soon.
Vitali Klitschko, looking physically more ripped and spectacular than he has in some time, absolutely dominated a very good fighter in Tomasz Adamek a few weeks back, and he did it at age 40. Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, also looking in spectacular physical shape, recently beat the always tough David Tua in Tua’s backyard, also at age 40.
Bernard Hopkins (46) beat Jean Pascal, Antonio Tarver (42) stopped Danny Green…you get the idea.
So it’s absurd for a relatively young man like David Haye, who has taken very little punishment as a professional fighter and who appears to be in fine health, to be making such an issue out of his turning 31. And while Vitali Klitschko has made it clear that he would love the chance to improve on brother Wladimir’s latest performance by knocking Haye cold, he has also made it very clear that Haye and his camp will NOT be calling the shots in the event that such a fight is signed.
And so far, Vitali has been in no hurry to respond to Haye, who has tried some of the old trash talk moves, as well as some uncharacteristic praise, to try to get the champ to the bargaining table.
So there is Haye’s trainer and guru Booth, being quoted in UK newspaper The Mirror today using the reliable old brinksmanship “threat” of Haye’s imminent retirement to bring Vitali to the table.
“It’s one thing him saying he wants to fight David and another them actually offering something. The status quo is unchanged,” says Booth of Vitali.
“Next Thursday is when David will make his decision.
“That’s his birthday and he said he would retire when he was 30.”
The overwhelming response to this statement from Booth should be, “So what?”
David Haye also said he would NEVER fight Audley Harrison. And we see what happened there.
David Haye talks a lot and says many things. Some of them even turn out to be true.
So it’s doubtful that Vitali Klitschko is going to get too shook up over Haye’s retirement “threat.” Haye can go ahead and retire next week, and then unretire when Vitali is ready to fight him.
One thing is sure: unlike in his 50-50 fight against Wladimir, David Haye will not be calling ANY of the shots if and when he is to get a chance at redemption against Vitali.
He’ll be doing it Vitali’s way, or he won’t be doing it at all.