by Johnny Walker
One thing is sure.
UK heavyweight ex-champion David Haye used to have the biggest mouth in boxing, and in fact wisely used his linguistic skills to irritiate the world heavyweight champion Klitschko brothers — Wladimir in this case — into a fight that made Haye–even though he lost and embarrassed himself with meek excuses–a very rich man.
But just as Haye lost his coveted WBA heavyweight title, along with some ego, against Wlad in a nasty drubbing that found Haye’s face in the champion’s crotch half the evening, he has now ALSO lost his title of the biggest mouth in boxing to another Brit.
Or Anglo-Irishman. Or whatever. The man with the best name in boxing: Tyson Fury.
So when Fury and Haye, who usually has no loss of verbiage, got together to announce the fight that is now postponed to February 8, 2014, but what was to have been this Saturday in the UK, an odd thing happened.
Haye, the man with the motor-mouth, seem flummoxed, totally lost for words, just by the leering presence of the 6’9″ Fury, who didn’t even say that much himself.
But Haye knows how Fury CAN talk when he really gets going, and seemed to want to avoid a verbal smackdown. Is he going soft? Perhaps that million-dollar payday against Wlad has made Haye a less angry, less hungry fighter. Where was the guy who engaged in a highly publicized press conference brawl with Dereck Chisora (who he later knocked out)?
Haye has done a good job in the UK, rehabbing his reputation after the Wlad debacle, after which he was literally a social pariah for a period. The finishing touch was of the comeback was knocking out the tough but rough around the edges Chisora. He couldn’t have planned it better.
But since then, Haye as adopted a new persona: a kindler, gentler David Haye if you will. Far less likely to say something outrageous. He doesn’t need to now that he’s rich.
So as far their initial presser went, round one to Fury, even though Haye was barely trying.
The real questions to ask are WHAT are going in the psyches of both men regarding this fight.
Haye retired, came back, and now he’s also running back into the injury bug.
So now we’ve had ANOTHER Haye injury: remember the sore toe he blamed his loss on Wlad to, and the “broken hand” he complained of after a running dud of a performance against Russian giant Nikolai Valuev that many, including his Sky Sports cheerleader Jim Watt, thought Haye should have lost. Valuev later complained that he didn’t prepare for a “track meet’ rather than a boxing match.
Now Haye has another injury, this time a sore head, BEFORE the Fury fight arrived.
One thing is for sure — really big men like Valuev, either Klitschko brother, and it appears, Tyson Fury make David Haye, really a powerful cruiserweight fighting bigger men, nervous. Even fighters like Canadian heavyweight champion Neven Pajkic, who floored Tyson Fury hard and then got a robbing from a biased refereeing job, told me he thinks Fury will beat Haye.
Pajkic, whiile not sold on Fury as a great pugilist yet, thinks he’s got plenty of heart and willpower, enough to stop the not always gutsy Haye, who spent the Valuev title fight mostly running and throwing a measly 10 punches a round, landing one solid shot in the final round that buzzed the giant for a second or so. A shot hardly enough to take his title, given that Valuev pressed most of the fight, but that’s what happened.
Fury, one feels, is now intuiting that he is developing the upper hand in this now extended feud with Haye; he thinks Haye’s mind is really out of the boxing game, that he’d rather be a movie star — while Fury is squarely in the middle of it.
Haye has tried to change the subject of his embarrassing loss (after all his nasty rhetoric) to Wlad by appearing on UK reality shows and such. But Fury isn’t buying it, and also isn’t totally convinced regarding’s Haye’s latest injury, an injury that saved him and his reputation for at least a few more weeks.
“I’m so glad to have this fight rescheduled – in my opinion, he’s a classless prima donna,’ said Fury to Mail Online. ‘A diva, a no good wannabe Bollywood actor and I can’t wait to put him in his place.
“There’s lots of honest and hard working people in this world and I believe I’m going to punish and poleaxe this money grabbing cry baby for all of them – he’s getting knocked spark out!
“He’s getting sorted out – I already didn’t like Mr Z-list celebrity, Queen of the Jungle [a reference to a Survivor type TV show Haye appeared on], but actions speak louder than words don’t they?”
Rumors were that bigger men like sparring partners Deontay Wilder were giving Haye a working over in training camp — and not exactly upping his spirits when it came to the real thing, which was to have been this Saturday with giant Tyson Fury, until the “convenient” injury occurred.
Tyson Fury has shown that under his coach, uncle Peter, he can get in shape, box to a plan, and as he showed against American Kevin Johnson, who had recently destoyed Aussie power puncher Alex Leapai, he can consistently use his length throughout a fight to protect his chin.
With Fury, discipline, not letting the big moment get to him and resisting the desire to show off, as he did in New York City before being dropped by now good buddy Steve “USS” Cunningham (who also picks Fury to defeat Haye), is the key.
So it’s really a mental game now — a fresh and fit young giant who needs to maintain his focus versus a tough veteran who taste for fighting giants is questionable at best. But those whose who see this as an easy Haye win may be shocked at the result.
Too bad we now have to wait so long to see who the best man will be. If we ever do.
Peter Fury, Tyson’s trainer and uncle, expressed cynicism following Haye’s eye cut by saying: “We are accepting February 8 but we’re not convinced they won’t cry off again.”