By: Hans Themistode
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and David Haye currently has someone who is looking to follow in his footsteps. Somewhat.
From 2007-2009, Haye went from a unified Cruiserweight titlist to the WBA Heavyweight champion of the world. His reign at the Heavyweight division didn’t last long thanks to Wladimir Klitschko, but he had an impressive run nevertheless. Now, one decade later Oleksandr Usyk looks to do the same.
Usyk, an Olympic gold medalist, will look to jump right into the deep end when he takes on perpetual Heavyweight contender Dereck Chisora. A walk in the park for the man that looked almost unbeatable at the Cruiserweight division, but Haye believes Chisora is about to turn out the best performance of his career.
“He’s ranked in every boxing expert’s top five pound-for-pound fighters,” said Haye to Talk Sports. “He’s an Olympic champion, he’s never ever lost a boxing match before, he was the undisputed cruiserweight champion – he’s the man. The most skilled smaller heavyweight out there. Derek Chisora has lost nine fights. Many people think he’s passed his prime. But believe me he was having a run in training camp like I’ve never seen him before. The sparring, the physical side of things.”
No matter how many times Haye heaps praise in the direction of Chisora, the nine losses on his resume speaks volumes. Matchups against Dillian Whyte, Tyson Fury, Vitali Klitschko and others tell a story of a fighter that has trouble winning the big one. But that was the old undisciplined and lazy Chisora. This new version is a real contender. At least according to Haye.
“Derek is in a good place. The fight date he’s been working towards has been postponed. Usyk is in training and we can see from his social media that he is ticking over in the Ukraine.”
“He’s got on his discipline, he’s eating the right food, he’s sleeping the right times, he’s not doing all of the things he did in the past that culminated in him losing those nine fights. He shouldn’t have lost all of those fights. A lot of the time he wasn’t in the best physical condition, the right mind-set, but he is now. I think Usyk has miscalculated how good Chisora is. He doesn’t realize how strong he is. He’s like a bull, he’s absolutely rock-solid, and he’s still training now.”
As far as when the two could meet in the ring, that is yet to be determined due to COVID-19. But there is a chance that face one another in an empty arena. Whether their contest takes place in front of a packed house or no one at all, a win over Chisora will place him at the head of line in terms of a title shot.