David Haye's Pullout: A Giant Blunder or a Smart Move ?

David HayeBy Paul McCreath: We can debate forever the real reasons why David Haye pulled out of the fights first with Wladimir Klitschko and then with brother Vitali. The Klitschko fans will argue that Haye chickened out. The Haye fans will say it was an injury with Wlad and a poor contract with Vitali. Whatever the truth is, we will probably never know. The facts are that David has now signed to meet Nicolai Valuev for the WBA title instead of meeting either of the brothers. The question is was this a good move on Haye's part?

First let us examine where Haye stood before he pulled out. He was not the mandatory challenger for either of the Klitschkos.He had not only not won an eliminator but he had never defeated a single ranked heavyweight. He was matched with the brothers for only one reason.He created a demand for the fight by doing a lot of talking and grandstanding.

While he was not a mandatory he was generally looked at as perhaps the most dangerous opponent out there for the brothers. With this in mind, there could only be one reason for either Klitschko to meet Haye. They had to make a whole lot of money to make up for the risk. They did not have to fight him.David was in a very poor negotiating position. The Klitschkos did not have to be fair with him and given all the insults he hurled at Wlad why would they want to be?

Now we have the Valuev match. Is Big Nic in any different position than the brothers? It is true he needs more help to get a big payday but he is under no obligation to fight Haye or anybody else except maybe John Ruiz his mandatory. Would Valuev be any more likely to give Haye a sweet deal than Vitali was? Does anybody really think that Valuev and Haye will generate even half the money that a Klitschko match would bring in? Will HBO or any other American TV company be interested? Will the WBA even allow this fight with Ruiz sitting as the mandatory?

It is hard to see how Haye will come out with anywhere close to the same purse for this fight that he could have had with Vitali.There is no way that a bout with Valuev will draw 60000 fans as the one with Wlad did before the cancellation and Vitali was just as big an attraction.

So what happens if the Haye-Valuev match goes ahead? Obviously there are three things that can happen. The bout can end in a draw or either fighter could win. Most fans would agree that David's chances are much better against Valuev than they would be against Vitali but if he loses or draws he is done as a big attraction. What if he wins? That is not so good either. First of all, as the WBA champ he would no longer qualify as a mandatory challenger for either the WBC or IBF titles, so he could never force either Wlad or Vitali to fight him. In other words, he would be right back where he started. If he found the Klitschkos hard to deal with before, imagine how tough it will be now that he has really browned them off. It would not surprise me if they never negotiate with him again.

There are still other problems with fighting Valuev. He is connected to Don King. Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz and others have all bailed out from his clutches when they got the chance. This is what Haye has to look forward to if he wins and that is not a given either. Valuev usually gets the benefit of close decisions.

All in all, when you consider all the possible outcomes of this move by David Haye, I have to think he has made a serious mistake this time. He may well regret that he did not take the money offered by K-2 and keep his mouth shut.

Article posted on 23.07.2009

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