Weigh-In from London: What Can David Haye Offer?

By Michael Klimes on May 6, 2013
Weigh-In from London: What Can David Haye Offer?
Haye has made it clear he wants to find the shortest route to becoming champion again.

We will see if his distinguished ego and boxing skills can deliver on his promises or whether they represent a second phase of smoke and mirrors…

If there is a boxer who is able to compete with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Paulie Malignaggi in the “talking trash” department, it is David Haye. The self-confident Londoner is not lost for words when it comes to the release of his rhetorical marksmanship, which he uses for three causes.

The first is to promote his reputation, the second is to bestow his “wisdom” on the boxing masses, and the third is to gain a psychological edge on his more tongue-tied adversaries.

A problem for the cocksure public figures like Haye arises when their bon mots are not reinforced by impressive deeds. The constituency of people who follow them can become annoyed, especially boxing fans that shelve out hard-earned money in the worst economic times since the 1970s to watch their favorite boxers fight on pay-per-view events at extortionate prices.

I experienced this in July 2011 when Haye finally attained the bout he had been working several years towards. His campaign against Wladimir Klitschko was a bittersweet disappointment and was like an action film without the action. Haye talked up himself so much to get the fight and he kept on talking that it seemed he almost forgot he would have to perform.

Before the bout, Klitschko himself remarked that Haye might want to tone down his grand soliloquies as they might set him up for a Shakespearean type fall. In the end, Haye’s performance and post-fight claim that he had broken his toe and it made him lose the fight was more comedy than tragedy.

It suggested to me that Haye’s considerable career achievements thus far were unravelling into crude burlesque. His self-proclaimed image of being the savior of the heavyweight division was becoming a bad joke.

Then, Haye’s desire to try and fight Vitali Klitschko metamorphosed from pursuing Klitschko at the post-fight press conference of his title defense against the durable Dereck Chisora in Munich, into a disgraceful brawl with Chisora himself.

Haye initiated contact with Chisora by punching Chisora with a glass bottle, swung a camera tripod (I still don’t know at who he aimed for sure) and one of the casualties of the fracas was Adam Booth, Haye’s trainer, who received a nasty cut. Both fighters set a bad example, seemed to pull on the tradition of British hooliganism that has revealed itself abroad and damaged the image of boxing. 

The plus side of the mess for Haye was he and Chisora fought at a sold out stadium in London in the summer of 2012 and Haye knocked out Chisora as he promised. The bout was entertaining while it lasted and Haye redeemed himself to a degree after the Klitschko bout disappointment.

Still, Haye’s decision to work himself into a mandatory contender position by fighting ranked opponents is admirable. He will have to rely on more than his tongue to secure such an opportunity against Vitali. His decision to take on the tough but game Manuel Charr is an extension of Haye’s original strategy to take on Chisora as part of a more ambitious plan to land the Klitschko fight in order to get the victory he believes will secure his legacy as one of the finest British fighters ever.

Prior to Haye’s decision to tackle Chisora was the knowledge that Klitschko had gone twelve tedious rounds with Chisora in an unexciting contest. Part of Haye’s marketing strategy has always been to present himself as a dramatic character, dynamic performer and explosive talent in a division which is moribund and has been for years. When he stopped Chisora in five rounds while it took Klitschko twelve, Haye made the salient point that he could be the hero the boxing fans are looking for. I am not sure that is possible anymore.

In Manuel Charr, Haye has the sort of brawler he has the measure of and he has defeated convincingly in the past. John Ruiz and Chisora presented similar styles and qualities: aggressive, forward marching, grit and determination. However, brawlers are vulnerable to Haye’s boxing intelligence, speed, power and technical ability.

Haye will want to hit without being hit and stop Charr in the mid-rounds through clever counterpunching and defensive footwork. Charr will want to suck Haye into a war of attrition bwhere he can impose his formidable physique on Haye and damage him with hooks and uppercuts. One quality Charr must use in the bout and may be the key to neutralizing Haye is his sneaky jab that Haye must watch out for and command with his own.

There are domestic tie-ups Haye could have with Tyson Fury or David Price but Haye has made it clear he wants to find the shortest route to becoming world champion again. I am sure he would go through Fury or Price if he had to but we will see how Haye’s latest heavyweight campaign develops.

Over the next year or two, Haye will look to secure what he believes is a fitting legacy. We will see if his distinguished ego and boxing skills can deliver on his promises or whether they represent a second phase of smoke and mirrors.

In 2008, in my own naiveté I wrote of Haye’s entry into the heavyweight division in nonsensical terms, seen below:

“He is not just boxing for the money, celebrity, prestige, legacy and fame. His significant battle is not even against history, the most resilient foe of all. His task is greater than that. He is fighting for the reputation of the heavyweight division and the health of boxing. He is striving to prove that boxing is for the ‘now’ and not the ‘then.’ Haye must be embraced and accepted across national boundaries, the stakes are too high. Of course, you will retain the right to veto his efforts. Do so if you want to but you will be shunning our best chance for survival, meaning Haye becoming the most important boxer on Earth: the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

I don’t believe the bombastic rhetoric of the above passage anymore. I am sceptical of the ultimate destination of Haye’s project but I think it could be exciting while it lasts.

Michael Klimes is a journalist and writer based in the United Kingdom. He works for Japan’s leading news agency, JIJI Press, at the London bureau. He writes about a variety of topics. You can visit his website at: www.michaelklimes.com to see his interests. His twitter page is here: http://twitter.com/#!/misaklimes.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion


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  1. John Wilkinson 01:45am, 06/13/2013

    Boxing needs to CONTAIN ITSELF. WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO. ‘4’ are not needed but, to draw the line -SOMEPLACE- IBO, IBC, WBF Etc. all “Second Echelon”. I’ve formed UWBCAFO-I in March 2007 for this expressed purpose. What we need is the major first four disallow any/ALL champions to ‘mix echelons’. my FB from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  2. Mike Casey 03:02am, 05/08/2013

    Raxman, you sum Haye up very well. If he believed in himself, he could knock out anyone on his best night. But he’s a bit of a bully boy who can only let the shots go against opponents he knows he can beat. Joe Bugner was a lot like that - decimated Richard Dunn and then did a totally inoffensive waltz with Ron Lyle.

  3. Leigh 10:37pm, 05/07/2013

    I’m afraid the hypemakers again trying to fool the public into thinking he’s aiming for a world title from one of the brothers but he’ll settle for a shot at povetkin, he says that tyson fury is using his name to promote himself which may be true but no more than dave is with the klit’s.As johnny guitar watson once sang it’s all about the dollar bill ! And with dave it couldn’t be more true, he’d skin a fart for a dime. But at the end of the day who can blame a man for earning a living ?

  4. raxman 04:52pm, 05/07/2013

    if Haye had the balls of tommy hearns, he would probably be the most entertaining boxer in the game. that right hand of his, even his most ardent critics must agree, is an absolute weapon of mass destruction. but his chin isn’t great, nor is his stamina. but if he had the balls to come out and unload, to ko or be ko’d he’d be awesome.
    but because he doesn’t he’s just the worst sort of mouth - the kind that will neither put up or shut up.
    and I was a haye fan as an amateur and at 200pounds. david haye could be the saviour of HW boxing - even if he couldn’t get the titles off the klits, he could fight the other top contenders and turn them into huge PPV events - but instead he is everything that is wrong with boxing. I hope charr beats him like a red headed stepchild.

  5. Michael Hegan 03:22pm, 05/07/2013

    The Tache
    we feel the same….and I look forward to your future posts

  6. Michael Hegan 03:21pm, 05/07/2013

    when I saw Haye fight Klitschko…...He was trying to win ..and just missed tagging Klit on the chin about seventy times….
    it was a one punch fight..and Haye did not…or could not land

    I respected his effort in that fight ....and then came the toe and other shit….not to mention his in activity from that point on…

    Haye is obviously trying for a payday by ‘SHIT TALK’ ...instead of fighting his way up ....by even beating up meatballs with tomato sauce…...he’s just servicing his ladies…and doing fk all…..so to speak

  7. Michael Hegan 03:12pm, 05/07/2013

    .....and ...there was the Contenders…

    These guys would fight once a month…(modern times…..pre TV..they’d fight every week)
    Contenders were guys that would have fought their way into that TOP TEN CONTENDER list…by fighting each other.

    instead….they fight a bunch of tomatos…and ‘work ’ their way into the top ten…..and that would be that…

    beat up a bunch of blind old ladies and crippled old guys….and WHAM…you’re in the top ten

    Nowadays….this would result in nobody fighting anybody…..hoping to snag a Title shot….due to the plethora of ‘rated fighters and Champions’

    I say we’ve been buying watered down competitions…...or even catching them on cable….prima donnas and the folks that manipulate that system are as much to blame for the lack of fan following of Boxing…

    I grew up when you could see a live Title bout on TV .....six times a week….The 50’ s and early 60’s…..Television…

    a loss then was NEVER THE END OF A CAREER….nor should it have been….nor should it should be

    To risk a loss….nowadays….is to deny the fans a good fight….and keep the price for a Title holder to make money….regardless of his talent

  8. Michael Hegan 03:03pm, 05/07/2013

    what can david haye offer..absofknlutely fuk all…...but he could use the money.

    There used to be a reasonable following of the rules….a CHAMPION would fight the number one AVAILABLE contender….every ninety days….FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

    PERCH OF POWER….Champions….(Klitschko’s being an exception)...fight who they can stick handle (hockey term) who they can beat…not ...who deserves the Title Shot

  9. The Tache 02:18pm, 05/07/2013

    What can David Haye offer? My guess is a couple of fights against less than stellar opposition, a lot of trash talk and a fight against one of the K’s before retiring again.
    Still, can’t blame the boy for wanting to rebuild his bank balance. He has spent a lot of time in Cyprus after all

  10. Ted 09:58am, 05/07/2013

    Haye follows the Mayweather model of getting the most bangs for the buck except he hardly ever fights.

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