David Haye appeared tentative and cautious in the first two rounds, but his challenger Audley Harrison appeared almost paralyzed. Haye stepped it up in the third though and stunned the 39-year-old veteran with a right which ignited a bursting assault. Harrison bravely tried to withstand the punishment but felt to the canvas, badly hurt and clearly out of his league. He got up and tried desperately and courageously to survive but Haye’s punches were like piranhas mutilating a helpless carcass. The 2000 Olympic gold medalist Harrison was saved from a true knockout by the merciful referee.
Haye looked fairly good but this kind of win over an obviously over-matched, handpicked opponent is almost a useless performance. Wladimir Klitschko is many levels above and beyond what Harrison ever was on his best night and this may have been his worst.
Haye did what he was supposed to do tonight, yes, but fighters only get better by overcoming adversity and difficulty. Harrison was about as much of a test for Haye as a heavy bag with arms.
Lennox Lewis stated from ringside, “I was expecting more out of Audley. He just didn’t get it going tonight.”
Haye said after that he waited till the third round to take out Harrison because that’s the round he promised his friends, and their wagers depended on his patience.
Haye also promised to finally step up and challenge one of the Klitschko brothers next year, a gesture which provoked derisive cheers from the audience.
“Next year I promise it’s going to happen. I guarantee the fight will happen next year. And I guarantee they will get the treatment Audley Harrison got.”
Seems we we’ve heard this kind of big talk from Haye before, hopefully for heavyweight boxing fans around the globe, this time Haye will keep his word and boxing will see the fight it really wants.
Judging how Haye looked tonight though, his tentative countering style, it’s hard to imagine Haye having any success against Wladimir, who I estimate will control the fight with his distance and left jab. Haye will have no reasonable options except to launch crazy strikes from the outside which will easily be defended. Eventually Wladimir will connect with his heavy artillery and Haye will be brutally knocked out.
The Haye-Harrison WBA Heavyweight title bout was staged in Manchester, England and attracted a lively, raucous crowd but it was nothing close to the kind of soccer stadium spectacles that the Klitschkos regularly produce in Germany.
Haye vs. #1 mandatory contender Ruslan Chagaev is supposed to be next.