It's Time To Quit The Trash Talking

By Ziggy Shah: Many boxers attempted it but it was Muhammad Ali who mastered it, it was mainly comical, however there were times when it offended. Moreover, it is becoming frequent, with Ricardo Mayorga and Floyd Mayweather Jnr becoming champions in it. What am I referring to? Trash Talking!

It’s nothing new to the sport as Ali would often resort to trash talk against his opponents, calling them names and disrespecting them at every opportunity. He claimed he was putting bums on seats and it was never personal. Ticket sales are indeed important, and boxers must play their part in generating interest in the fight, however, in the process there is a limitation as to what is moral and what is deemed disrespectful.

Recently, David Haye, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, seemed to have overstepped this mark at a news conference, when he taunted his future opponent and IBF and WBO Heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko by calling him ‘Wladimir Bitchko’. He insinuated that the champion fought like a bitch rather than like a true champion. His outbursts continued as he said he would “smash his head in and leave him bloodied.” He also questioned the champion’s heart when he said, "He doesn't give value for money, like I do. He's embarrassing; everything he does in the ring is embarrassing.’

If the trash talking was not bad enough, Haye pushed the boundaries even further with the T-shirt he wore at the conference which showed him holding up the severed heads of both the Klitschko brothers.

Wladimir, for his part remained calm and said, “This is over the edge - it's not sport. This guy will be punished.” However, Haye has stated that he wants the champion to stand and fight when they both meet at Veltins Arena in Germany on the 20th June. His outrageous remarks may have been intended to sell tickets but there seems to be more to it than meets the eye.

Wladimir, like the challenger, is a big punching heavyweight, but because of his suspect chin, which has been exposed in the past by Corrie Sanders and Samuel Peter (Peter eventually lost) he boxes cautiously and effectively behind a long, stiff jab. He refuses to get involved in any toe-to-toe battles and seems content on going the distance rather than ‘getting the job done.’

However, the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, who has 21 KO’s in 23 fights, is the exact opposite and in his last two fights with Enzo Maccarinelli and heavyweight Monte Barrett, he demonstrated that he does not shy away from a ‘battle in the phone booth.’ However, he too has a suspect chin that has never really been tested amongst the heavies.

Haye is an intelligent boxer and understands fully that if Klitschko plays safe and keeps him at bay with a stiff jab for twelve rounds then he does not stand a chance. However, if he can be tempted to stand and trade, then he may leave an opening where the Haye-maker can detonate his ammunition.

This is the kind of fight the challenger wants, and maybe he believes that by insulting and mocking Wladimir Klitschko and his family, he will take him out of his comfort zone and into the trenches, because that is the only place where Haye believes he stands a chance of winning this fight.

However, whatever Haye’s game plan maybe, and whatever he was thinking when he wore the T-shirt, he forgot to consider the one thing that must always remain an integral part of the sport of boxing…Respect!

David Haye concluded by saying, that he did not think that he was demeaning himself or British boxing one bit. He was correct; because he was not just demeaning British boxing and himself, he was demeaning the entire sport of boxing itself.

One can only hope that after the fight he will apologise for his inexcusable behaviour, and give respect where respect is due.

Article posted on 09.05.2009

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