Haye vs Valuev: David Haye Says He Will Have To Adopt "New Skill Set" To Beat Nikolai Valuev

by James Slater - Can an old (well, not old; let's say fully matured) dog learn new tricks? Heavyweight contender and future WBA title challenger David Haye believes so, and he has been working on a totally new game-plan to his usual approach as he gets ready to square off with the huge Nikolai Valuev.

In the past, as he freely admits himself, saying it's part of the reason he is so exciting watch, Haye has not been the most elusive of targets. Holding his hands low and leaning forwards in past fights, "The Hayemaker" has left his chin exposed and has ran the risks that go along with fighting that way.. But no way will Haye do this on November 7th, when he tackles the 7'2" and approx 320-pound Valuev in Nuremberg, Germany.

In an interview with British newspaper The Sun, Haye has revealed how he will fight in a totally different way on November 7th. Haye also says he is expecting the best possible Valuev to be in the ring with him, but that being new and improved, he will have an answer to everything the man mountain does.

"Usually, I love to lean forward," Haye said whilst describing his normal fighting style. "[But] if I use my usual style he'll be catching me with uppercuts and I can't afford that to happen. I'm going to have to adapt, punch at an angle I've never done before and get used to punches coming down at me.

"It's a totally new skill set and that's what I've been grafting away at."

It goes without saying how any fighter, when going up against a foe who is so much taller and bigger, has to change tactics. But can Haye stick to a disciplined game-plan and avoid getting overanxious if and when he gets his man hurt? Remember, Haye has said he plans to KO Valuev, and if he does see the big man wobble, will he revert to his old, all guns blazing style in an effort to earn himself the highlight reel KO?

Haye is a natural puncher (although he of course has fine boxing skills) and keeping his raw power under strict control while paying close attention to defence for a full 12-rounds, in such a big and important, not to mention largely viewed fight, will surely be a big ask. And if Haye does let loose with the bombs and either tires as a result or leaves himself open, will this give the champion a chance to lower the boom himself?

Haye says he will be able to cope with whatever Valuev does in the ring.

"He'll try to come out there using those ramrod jabs, soften me up and throw his trademark right uppercut to get me out of there" Haye continued. "I'm expecting the best Valuev to turn up but I've got a solution to anything he throws at me. I'm looking at throwing some big punches as often as possible."

So, can Haye turn himself into a fighter who is capable of throwing hayemakers, while at the same time keeping his chin out of harm's way? November 7th's fight is looking pretty interesting!

Article posted on 15.10.2009

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