London Calling. Haye vs. Mormeck

david haye11.11.07 - By Jim Furo In what had already been a good month for U.K. boxing, David Haye has now gained the top honors in the cruiserweight division with a seventh round knockout over Frenchman Jean-Marc Mormeck.

The fight, taking place in Mormeck's backyard, and at the same arena where he won the title in March, was an interesting fight on many levels. For starters, in this era of the divided championship belt, Mormeck was that modern day boxing rarity, a champion of his weight class that was not only largely recognized as being the best of his division, but also one that carried unified titles in both the WBC and WBA championship belts.

Other weight divisions could be criticized for having many title holders, but no real champ. Most would admit that at cruiserweight, Mormeck was, simply put, the man to beat.

And now he has been.

Wearing Union Jack trunks, and with a crowd that chanted "Mormeck, Mormeck" during the fight, Haye and Mormeck fought the fight fairly even through six rounds. Haye was caught in the fourth round by Mormeck but was able to pull himself off the canvas and perhaps win the next two rounds.
Haye was caring his guard low throughout the fight, but made up for this by fighting very effectively off the ropes and moving quickly around the ring.

The end of this action-filled fight came about a minute into the seventh round. Haye's punches seemed to stagger Mormeck into the corner, Haye than added a nice, well timed body shot. Moving out of the corner, Mormeck was met by Haye who fired a couple of shots to the face that were blocked by Mormeck. Haye then caught a slightly retreating Mormeck with a right hand behind the guard that landed flush.

It seemed that Mormeck had beat the count, but gave no impression of wanting to continue. Haye showed with that punch that he is certainly capable of landing a punch that can do damage to anyone in the boxing business.

Which leads to the second factor that made this fight so interesting. Haye now will look to make the move up to the heavyweight ranks and see what the future holds there amongst boxing's big, big men.

Although he has already fought at heavyweight, blowing out fringe contender Tomaz Bonin in one round in April, now he will be moving up as the top ranked fighter of his division and as a former cruiserweight champion. Other fighters have done this, most notably Evander Holyfield, who was able to use his undisputed cruiserweight title as a launch pad to become the undisputed heavyweight champion seven fights later.

What remains to be seen is whether or not Haye can make anywhere near the transition that Holyfield was able to make nearly twenty years ago. He brings with him some credible wins, one over Lasse Johansen and the other over Italian Giacobbe Fragomeni. These were two fights over game opponents that Haye was able to show heart (cut against Fragomeni and bloodied against Johansen) and work on his ring experience.

But the criticism is easy to point out, those were two cruiserweight wins and it will be a different ballgame when he steps up. Other than coming from a lighter weight class, the major criticisms of Haye is that he perhaps does not have the most solid of chins and that he has stamina and defensive issues that add to the problem. The stamina issue seems to be something that has been overcome and his one loss is one that can be easily chalked up to early inexperience, not some unchangeable flaw in him as a fighter.

What is the main question is whether or not his chin will hold up to a heavyweight blast. It is something that he will have to take with him into all of his upcoming fights, but the fact that his chin may be in question does not mean that he does not belong campaigning for a heavyweight title. He has shown that he can beat the best of the under 200 club and that is enough to make a run for it.

The heavyweight ranks will benefit from having Haye amongst their elite. David Haye is a natural fit for the glamor and notoriety that should come from being one of the world's leading heavyweights. Not only does he have a quickness and fighting style that is enjoyable to watch, but he is also a very charismatic fighter both in and out of the ring. When combined with a knockout punch, that seems as though it will come through very well in translation, Haye is potentially a huge star in the making.

Already a fairly well-known personality in his native England, a status that will increase dramatically after today, Haye looks to take the place in the always needed, but rarely fulfilled, role of being the glamor boy amongst heavyweights. The one who hangs out with Hugh Heffner at ringside, the one who is rumored to be dating celebrity singers and actually could make a living as a model, probably testing better amongst female shoppers selling a pair of underwear than, say, Nicolai Valuev.

And like Valuev, he is an addition to the heavyweight ranks that if one were to criticise it for having a lack of marketable fighters, you would have to dismiss that person's opinion for being more than somewhat pessimistic, or, at the very least, uninformed.

You now have uncrowned, Wlad Klitschko, who looks more and more legit each time out, amateur all stars Alexander Povetkin and Odlanier Solis (who Haye did respectable against as an amateur), two fair belt holders in Ruslan Chagaev and Sultan Ibragimov, American hopeful Eddie Chambers, Sam Peter, disapointing but still dangerous Juan Carlos Gomez, slow but huge punching Vladimir Virchis and perhaps Alexander Dimitrenko, amongst others. This is a heavyweight division that is underappreciated now, but seems to be working on having a fighter for everyone and real potential if all the pieces fall together.

Haye is an interesting and compelling piece of the heavyweight puzzle, one that will only attract more and more people should all of his pieces fall together.

Article posted on 11.11.2007

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