David Haye - Twelve Frustrating Months

David HayeBy James Slater: By the time he climbs into the ring with defending WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev (if he actually does, more on that later) heavyweight contender and former cruiserweight champion David Haye will have been out of action for just under a full year. Since overcoming the "Two Gunz" of Monte Barrett at The O2 Arena in his native London, Haye has been the sufferer of, and the cause of, much frustration.

First of all, "The Hayemaker" talked his way into a huge fight with reigning IBF and WBO heavyweight boss Wladimir Klitschko (with a certain little T-short stunt helping Haye land the fight). Then, as we all know, a back injury suffered by Haye in training led to the fight being first postponed and then scrapped for good. Even now, some six or so weeks on from the date of the fight being announced as postponed, many fans are sceptical of the legitimacy of Haye's injury.

At any rate, and without the backing of TV network Setanta, who, of course, went bust shortly after the June 20th fight was called off, Haye looked around for another option and was soon given one. Now landing a fight with Wladimir's big brother, Vitali, the reigning WBC king, Haye was back on for a huge fight. Then, however, things got even more disappointing.

Though he'd moaned about the terms of the contract he'd had to sign to fight Wladimir, Haye did sign it and in so doing he accepted the pretty harsh rematch clause terms involved (where Haye, if he beat "Dr. Steel Hammer," would have to fight him again and then also fight his brother). Just this week, though, Haye came out publicly and said he would not, and never had, signed the contract to fight Vitali, claiming the terms were shocking. Announcing that he wouldn't be a "slave fighter," Haye-Vitali was now off also.

Plan-C was now in operation for Haye and, as has been well covered by all media since its announcement, Haye-Nikolai Valuev is now set for November. This is where some real questions come up and need to be answered. What was the difference, if anything, between the Wladimir contract Haye signed and the Vitali contract he refused to sign? Was there in fact any difference? Did Haye really and honestly want to fight either Klitschko in the first place? What are the terms of the Valuev contract Haye has presumably signed, and is a rematch clause in effect with this fight? Why is Haye now interested in a fight with Valuev when months ago Haye said he was interested in fighting the Klitschkos and them only? And finally, will this fight, scheduled for November 7th, actually take place at all? (see John Ruiz and his appeal plans).

Forget about the name calling and the accusations hurled at Haye and the Klitschkos about their being scared and that it is one or the other who has made two fights fall apart. The bottom line is we don't know what went on behind closed doors. Haye and his team maintain the Klistchkos are almost impossible to deal with, what with the unrealistic terms they insist on making a potential foe agree to. While the Klitschkos and their team say Haye is just a loudmouth who is also a coward who has gotten himself many months of free publicity by claiming he wants a fight with them. You can forget all that, though. What it all boils down to is frustration. Frustration for the three fighters and frustration for fight fans.

But what will happen now? What if official WBA mandatory challenger Ruiz is successful in blocking the Valuev-Haye fight? Could a third Haye fight then be called off? How much more of this maddening saga can the fans take!? Perhaps most annoying is the fact that the fans don't really know who to blame. On this website's comments facility there have been words aimed at the Klitschkos, saying they are the reason for all the frustration. While other comments have attacked Haye and accused him of being afraid to fight either brother.

One thing that mast be agreed on is this; whether Haye is a coward who was simply jerking Wladimir and Vitali around or not, the last eight months cannot have in any way gone as he and Adam Booth had planned and hoped - a peaking and exciting heavyweight banger left on the shelf for the better part of a year! By the time he gets in there with Valuev (again, if he actually does do so) Haye could have, perhaps should have, got a good three fights in beforehand. And that, at the end of the day, is what it should be about for a fighter - fighting!

Is Haye a victim of boxing politics that have simply become absurd here in the twenty-first century? Or is it now possible for a capable mouthpiece of a part-time fighter to reach financial and celebrity status virtually without throwing a punch?

Most of the interest Haye has been given by the fans has been of the can-he-back-up-his-talk variety. The way things are going it is going to be twelve months or more before we are given even a small clue. For although Haye beating Valuev would earn him some plaudits, it will still be no way near enough. Not for a guy who promised us he'd destroy the mighty Klitschkos and allow us to see the birth of a new heavyweight legend.

His fault or not, all Haye has given us this year is frustration.

Article posted on 24.07.2009

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