David Haye - "I Am Doing This For Dempsey, Marciano, Louis, Ali, Frazier And All The Other Great, Smaller heavyweights!"

boxingby James Slater - As you will have certainly read by now, not just on this website but on practically any other boxing site on the net, the hugely anticipated heavyweight title showdown between champ Wladimir Klitschko and former cruiserweight boss David Haye is on. What took so long! Finally, we fans can sit back and look forward to a heavyweight title fight that has a very real potential to be thrilling, violent, and in no way boring. Short and sweet is how many fans of the biggest weight class in boxing like their action to be, and short and sweet the collision between "Dr. Steel Hammer" and "The Hayemaker" may well be.

As we all know, Haye - who we now also know was never, ever remotely bluffing - has been calling out for this fight for some time. Now that he's got it, the question is, will he regret getting what he's been asking for?

Haye is all too aware he will be the smaller man in the ring on June 20th (probably in Germany, venue yet to be 100-percent confirmed), yet he says this will work to his advantage . The confident 28-year-old has spoken often about the condition of today's heavyweight division. Calling the top men today either fat and out of shape or too big and therefore lumbering, Haye says he and he alone will "save" the division by bringing back real excitement to it. How will he do this? Haye says he will wipe out all the overweight and/or plodding guys with his sizzling speed - speed he says he is capable of at approx 220-pounds.

In an interesting quote Haye came out with in the official Hayemaker Promotions announcement for the fight, David said he was campaigning to dominate at the top of his (still new) weight class in honour of past heavyweight greats who were far from huge men. "I am doing this for Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and all the other great, smaller heavyweights," Haye said.

A firm believer, it seems, that being too big is detrimental to a fighter's ability to fight fast and hard for 12 rounds, Haye wants to take the division back a few of decades or more and put a 6'3" 220-pounder on the throne - namely himself. This is a very admirable plan that Haye has, but will it succeed?

Sure, Wladimir Klitschko is somewhat cautious in the ring, as Haye has also pointed out many times, but he is definitely in great physical condition and he is not a fighter anyone could call slow. It's interesting that Haye brought up the likes of Dempsey, Frazier, Marciano, etc when listing the greats he wants to emulate (presumably, when he included Ali in his list of great, smaller heavies he was referring to the Ali of the 1960s), because many fans on this website have already debated on what would have happened had a prime Dempsey or a peaking Ali met one of the Klitschko brothers.

Some fans have said either Klitschko would simply have been too big, too powerful and too strong for the smaller legends. It's safe to say, then, that these same fans will have no qualms in picking Wladimir to crush Haye. For Haye has the same dimensions as some of the greats he listed, but he has yet to prove he has their, well, greatness.

Speed kills, some boxing experts will tell you. David Haye, whatever else his critics may say about him, is definitely fast and in possession of speed. Former greats that were also giving up weight when going for the title made their seeming disadvantages work for them - Joe Frazier, for example, who bobbed and weaved his way inside many a bigger, taller fighter. Now can Haye? Of course, what should not be forgotten is the fact that each and every immortal of the sport Haye mentioned had a chin that was at worst reliable, and at best concrete-like.

Will the June fight - that actually sees two men with suspect chins squaring off - come down to the ability, or inability to take a shot? Klitschko-Haye, short and sweet as I've mentioned, may well come down to who hits who first!

Article posted on 02.04.2009

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