David Haye — Temporary Road-Sweeper

By Jeff Weston on June 1, 2016
David Haye — Temporary Road-Sweeper
The Haye-Gjergjaj fight was, in all honesty, like witnessing someone busting up Lego.

This, to some, is the corrupt banality of modern showmanship. Haye, quite simply, has fought two bums. He has indulged in celebrity opportunism…

In the final chapter of Elliot Worsell’s 2011 biography on David D. Haye there is a telling quote from the Hayemaker’s father, Deron: “We’ve always told David that he should aspire to be the best he can possibly be, but we have never steered him in a particular direction. If he wanted to be the best road-sweeper in the world, that would have been fine with us, so long as he put maximum effort into achieving that.”

I would suggest that through Mark de Mori — his comeback fight after a three and a half year absence — and Arnold Gjergjaj, he has been road-sweeping. Such defenseless ring action is not immediately recognizable as the sweet science. The Dominator and The Cobra, despite their growls and dark looks — the latter the beneficiary of one of the quickest towels in boxing history in his last bout against Marino Goles — are not at the required technical level to be considered boxers per se.

Beating them has been, in large part, like removing chewing gum and cigarette butts from the sidewalk — inconvenient, but ultimately straightforward. No great shot variety has been required (particularly against Gjergjaj) — just clubbing rights and persistence.

That is not to say that Haye has been fraudulent, gimmicky or amenable to specious bouts. Just that his opponents have ridden in from different universes with no perceivable middle-ranking records.

Take de Mori with his September 2008 ‘fight’ against the 294-pounder Robert Kooser (9-7-0); Kooser, a 1st-round victim specialist with the look of an aging biker, falls like an overdosed Hells Angel.

Ten months later de Mori ‘toughs it out’ with New Zealander Kevin Karusa (1-1-0). So slight is the Kiwi’s boxing record (he retires — quits the sport — after going five rounds with de Mori) that he is not even afforded the dignity of a Wikipedia entry.

The July 2009 clash is humble testament to boxing’s constant nadirs. When you see de Mori shadow boxing on the cheap floor of Perth’s WA Italian Club and then walking through the bar area before finally being greeted in the ‘wedding room’ by the cheering, inebriated locals, you begin to understand the dimly-lit scraps which take place off the radar.

Karusa, de Mori’s 19th opponent, however, should not be in the ring. He weighs a staggering 346 lbs. His age is not recorded on BoxRec, but he looks to be in his mid-forties. The way he walks onto and then tries to shake off de Mori’s straight rights in the early part of the fight hints at a man who has woefully accepted that his reactions and timing will never return (if they ever existed). When he oscillates his head as if to regain consciousness, you wonder what has reduced him to such plodding necessity; in short, what has brought him here.

There’s something wrong with the world today, I don’t know what it is, Something’s wrong with our eyes, Aerosmith’s lyrics thrum to the de Mori / Karusa ‘highlights’. The original video complete with tartan-skirted, roller-skating girls, hockey sticks and smashed car bumper lights has been replaced by de Mori’s backwater swagger, his stiff hooks and Karusa’s smudged face. It is harmony of a kind — an apt shift from the street to the ring; not the greatest musical choreography, but six minutes of insight nonetheless on Haye’s January 2016 opponent.

If de Mori’s arms are hockey sticks, goes the logic, then Haye’s must be high-tech, Pentagon graphene. Gjergjaj’s, if we extend the metaphor, must be sponge.

This, to some, is the corrupt banality of modern showmanship. Haye, quite simply, has fought two bums. He has indulged in celebrity opportunism.

But has he? And what could he have reasonably been expected to do before 2017 that wasn’t too high-risk given his forced sabbatical from the game?

Haye remains the best British heavyweight since Lennox Lewis. Putting aside risible journalism which suggests that Tyson Fury has now taken such a slot, boxing purists know that Haye has the necessary dynamism and fire to climb the rankings once more.

It will be as a different fighter though — a 16-stone (224 lbs.) heavyweight as opposed to one a stone less; 210 lbs. the shape he settled into against Audley Harrison, Wladimir Klitschko and Dereck Chisora between November 2010 and July 2012.

With such timber naturally comes concern. Has movement been sacrificed? What about speed? Is he still a quick thinker? Is he able to go twelve rounds as he has done only three times in his career (vs. Ismail Abdoul, Nikolay Valuev and Klitschko)? Or does a new, stamina-diluted game-plan exist, a heavy-thudding, short-term in and out?

That will only take him so far. It will likely nudge him past boxing’s grandfather and knockout specialist Shannon ‘The Cannon’ Briggs in the autumn. But when the real gunslingers start to appear — Deontay Wilder, Luis Ortiz (a Cuban Riddick Bowe) and Anthony Joshua — will it be enough?

Haye’s playground breeze against Arnold Gjergjaj hasn’t helped his stock price. Such easy marauding was a clear sign of regression rather than the step-up hoped for. Wise words speak of “an abomination”, Haye — despite the early win — looking “lackluster”, “heavy-legged” and “slow of hand.” The leap onto the ropes to salute his fans following the ‘less than 2.0’ Richter scale performance merely cements the belief, in some quarters, that the Hayemaker has fallen into a kind of parallel reality.

“I suspect that David Haye will see more opposition and more movement from the heavy bags in the gym” the Dave TV commentator wryly observed in the immediate aftermath of the Gjergjaj fight. It was, in all honesty, like witnessing someone busting up Lego. If we’re fair to Haye for a moment though, didn’t Gjergjaj have a high guard for much of this bout? He did, but then came the left-jab knockdown from Haye early in the 2nd round which undermined the rudimentary ability and thus credibility of the opponent before him.

This is what Haye Mk.2 does to fighting fans. One minute you believe in him, the next you question how authentic his current skills really are.

On the plus side, it is easy to buy into the theory that the Bermondsey man is now a proper heavyweight. Footage of him bouncing off Klitschko in 2011 supports this. He has always needed the extra packaging, the extra circumference, it seems in order to truly stand opposite boxing behemoths. The slower-striding man we now see isn’t necessarily a bad thing therefore.

The negative side is very much the unknown. Can Haye outthink a Fury? Will age and weight combine to produce gusto or garbage? Can he dance with a Bermane Stiverne for eight or more rounds? Can he clean out a ring of up-and-coming talents like Joseph Parker?

The latter two are probably perfect opponents at this moment in time — them or a Kubrat Pulev. Whether Haye is thinking along these lines is debatable though. One suspects that he could quite easily jump the queue and find himself in a questionable IBF eliminator with another bum or vagrant. In him is that boy still craving speed, expedience and rapid attention.

Rewinding the clock a full eight minutes before the bell in the Gjergjaj fight helps us understood Haye. It matters much more than the four and a half minutes of comfortless destruction.

During that pre-fight jamboree — Haye exiting his dressing room and indulging in a cat walk rather than a ring walk (pointless platform included) — we see the childish smiles interspersed with pseudo-seriousness. To Haye the whole thing really is a game, a Hollywood script, and the iPhone suckers in the audience who have no concept of experience, real experience, in full bloom merely reinforce this; vanity dotted around…in the trunks of the former WBA heavyweight champion…in the preening of vacuous blondes.

This taints Haye the boxer. I would much prefer menace, a walk to the ring, hood up, and then a fight — nothing more; a cloaked warrior here to carry out business, a strand of enigma remaining, punishment imminent.

Haye’s grins ill befit such a trade. They partly mock less skillful opponents — some of whom resemble pigeons on a washing line.

Will he park up the dustcart and get serious? I hope so. Both in fighting terms and manners. Haye can be so incredibly gracious post-fight — once the pressure is off — that it seems a shame to blemish such care, considerateness and articulacy with the wanton games of self-absorption.

Time now for the bigger stuff and a half-decent opponent, boxing critics cry. Indeed. Providing he clambers over Briggs.

Follow Jeff Weston on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeffweston1970

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David Haye vs Mark de Mori Full Fight 2016-01-16

David Haye vs Arnold Gjergjaj HD

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  1. bikermike 08:18pm, 08/08/2016

    cupla comments here from informed fight fans…

    I ...must admit…I talked my Jamaican buddies into buying that pacman-pbf match…

    ...was so pissed off…

    Like when that guy going door to door…asking if he could see our bums….i felt so cheap…cuz I showed him mine

  2. bikermike 08:13pm, 08/08/2016

    Lets see how far he can go….personally…I believe Haye lacks the discipline to get himself in shape to face top competitors….but we’ll see

  3. bikermike 08:10pm, 08/08/2016

    just an observation…..check out the level of competition Big George Foreman faced…prior to his top fights and Championship challenges and victories…

    Not saying Haye has that kind of pedigree as Foreman…but Haye already has a name…so he just has to keep busy to land a money fight

  4. bikermike 08:03pm, 08/08/2016

    Haye is a NAME fighter….he’s gonna try to cash in….nothing wrong with that.

    I don’t think it’s going to go too far…but as long as he can pass the medical…why not ??

    Let’s see how far he gets….lots of young lions out there

  5. Dawud 09:47am, 06/04/2016

    Another thing is you can’t really complain as they were on free view, if he had’ve been on pay per view then I could understand ppl having the hump.

  6. Dawud 09:46am, 06/04/2016

    A bit unfair considering that he is coming back from 4 years out of the ring and career threatening shoulder surgery. He admitted that his aim for these two fights was to get through two training camps injury free. Of course if he could’ve gotten some rounds in as well it would’ve been a bonus, but the first real test comes in his next fight which isn’t a gimme.

  7. Don from Prov 04:12pm, 06/01/2016

    “This, to some, is the corrupt banality of modern showmanship.”
    I’ll vote for that one.

  8. KB 02:40pm, 06/01/2016

    Jeff Weston has the beat

  9. KB 02:39pm, 06/01/2016

    ‘...cum gargling boxing “fans” = holy moley

  10. Jeff Weston 02:21pm, 06/01/2016

    I’m very confident that this heavier Haye would beat Klitschko if he met him again. Unfortunately, Klitschko isn’t ‘the man’ anymore - even if he decides to turn up this time against Fury. The top three heavyweights out there are undoubtedly Wilder, Ortiz (who I have massive respect for) and Joshua. Can Haye break into this elite group? Yes. If he’s ‘on it’. KB is right - “superb power”.

  11. Eric 11:17am, 06/01/2016

    Irish…The goobers will shell out their hard earned cash once again. I’m proud to say the last time I paid to see a fight on the idiot box was waaaay back in ‘91 for the Fenech-Nelson bout. Conor McGregor got a taste of the Stockton Slap and now it seems that losing to a pot smoking Diaz actually helps his career. McGregor has no bidness in a boxing ring with any world class fighter, much less one as talented as Mayweather. Maybe Floyd can enter the cage against Rousey after he pot shots McGregor into oblivion.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:58am, 06/01/2016

    He’s not as bad as Floyd who’s in the process of propping up MacWhatshisname for another $100,000,000 plus scam and gullible, cum gargling boxing “fans” are already reaching for their wallets.

  13. KB 10:47am, 06/01/2016

    Maybe so, Barry, but the fans seem to be buying-in.

    I’d love to see him fight Wlad again. Or maybe Wilder. AJ not so much.

  14. Barry 10:42am, 06/01/2016

    Haye is finished, he was finished the night he refused to engage Wladimir Klitschko in a prize fight. Haye went to the canvas rather than take a punch, from Klitschko. It was a pathetic performance. Haye baulked twice against Tyson Fury, Robbing boxing fans who had paid for tickets, hotels, travel etc. Haye is at it again, Robbing fight fans with bouts against tomato-cans Mori and Gjergjaj and insisting on fighting Briggs. David Haye is taking the fight fans as mugs.

  15. KB 10:29am, 06/01/2016

    I like Haye. I have always liked him because he understands the business side of boxing and knows how to play the risk-reward notion better than most. I also like his walk-in song and the way he plays to the crowd. And the crowd likes him as well. Thing is Haye has charisma.

    He also has superb power generated by uncanny hand speed and solid muscle mass.

  16. Winston Cuckhill 09:03am, 06/01/2016

    Let’s Go Champ!!