By Johnny Walker
Former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye of the UK has again stated that he is willing to delay his retirement plans for a fight against WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, or (less likely) for a rematch against Vitali’s younger brother, The Ring magazine recognized world heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko.
Haye had given a trash-talking interview to the German daily Die Welt after Vitali had easily demolished Polish challenger Tomasz Adamek, sounding every bit like the impudent and ill-mannered fellow who so riled up both Klitschko brothers before losing in a near-shutout to Wladimir earlier this year. In that interview, Haye offered new promises to “smash Vitali’s chin” and so forth.
However, in a new interview with Gareth Davies of The Telegraph, Haye sounds considerably more humble and subdued.
Haye admits to Davies that he stank out the joint against Wladimir, and says he wants a match with Vitali more for his own pride than for money.
“It’s not about money for me. I know I underachieved against Wladimir,” says Haye.
“I wasn’t firing on all cylinders, for whatever reason. It wasn’t the real me in there, and you always want to go out [in your career] showing everybody what you really have.”
Haye may claim that he was out of sorts against Klitschko, but a cynic might remember that he fought Wladimir in much the same way that he fought Russian giant and former WBA titleholder Nikolai Valuev: by running constantly and trying to pot-shot on occasion.
While Haye got away with it—barely—against Valuev (even a Haye supporter like Sky Sports’ Jim Watt gave the fight to the Russian), it was a doomed strategy against the much superior Klitschko.
Still, Haye feels he has “a good chance of beating Vitali,” and while he doesn’t mention his now infamous sore toe, he does allude to being less that “100 per cent” for the Wlad fight.
“The only way I can prove that I can do what I said before I faced Wladimir, is go out there and redeem myself in my mind against Vitali. At 100 per cent fit, you would see the real fighter I have in me out there,” Haye contends.
“I’d still fight Wladimir again, too. Vitali and Wladimir are the only two fights on the planet I would break my retirement plans for.”
And the only two heavyweights on the planet who will bring Haye enormous paydays, coincidentally.
For Vitali’s part, he has often spoken of his dissatisfaction with the Wlad-Haye fight, in that Haye didn’t take what Vitali felt was the punishment he deserved for his insults to the Klitschko family.
Vitali has vowed to put Haye “on the floor” and “in the dust” for his vile remarks if they should meet in the ring.
Haye, however, is dubious about Vitali’s intentions.
“If it is meant to be, Vitali’s people will get in touch, and it will be worth changing my retirement plans,” says Haye.
“Vitali said after the Adamek fight that he wanted to fight me now.
“But I think it’s all talk. He realised he was not going to get any headlines for knocking out Adamek, so he threw my name out there. For some reason I don’t really think he wants to do it.”
Or maybe, just maybe, deep down, David Haye really hopes Vitali doesn’t want to do it?