Sav's View Haye vs Klitschko Preview

By Jamie Savin: The time is fast approaching for one of the most eagerly anticipated heavyweight contests in many a year, as David Haye the WBA Champion challenges Wladimir Klitschko the WBO, IBF and The Ring Champion. The build up for this fight has been more along the line of WWF/WWE Wrestling then your typical boxing match, it has been over two years in the making and with the exception of Mayweather vs Pacquiao it is the biggest fight in boxing today.

A simple look on any boxing website or in any newspaper or even flicking through the channels on TV it is hard to get away from this fight and the magnitude of it. Reading expert opinions watching every promo and press conference between the two has often led to heated discussion between the sets of fans, some claiming Haye is scared, some claiming that Haye has gotten under Klitschko's skin, both fighters promising brutal knockout's, it has been gripping stuff. The question that remains though who will win this fight and cement themselves as the number one heavyweight in the world.

David Haye is a polarizing figure adored by some hated by some, he divides opinion with his antics especially in the build up to this fight. The infamous t-shirt holding both the decapitated heads of the Klitschko brothers to refusing to shake the hand of his opponent and general disrespect in an attempt to get ahead in the mind games. People say this will have no bearing on the fight but a lot of boxing is a mental game having self belief in what you are doing, believing that what you are doing is getting to your opponent and that pushes you on to train that little bit harder, of course some of the things Haye has done and said have been in slightly bad taste but one must realise that he is promoting this fight to sell a few more pay per views. I have had the honour to meet David Haye very briefly and found him to be a well mannered and nice guy so I can take his actions with a large pinch of salt but I can understand why they might offend some people. Haye's main asset is his speed and reflexes which he has kept from his cruiserweight days, maybe this is down to his own dedication despite knowing that he can weigh what ever he wants he limits himself and if he weighs any more then 215lbs come the weigh in it will be a shock. The punching power is still there despite what any Haye haters may tell you as the power comes from speed which is why its so hard to believe that Eddie Chambers is as fast as some Americans would tell you. Obviously the key to victory for Haye is to use his speed and reflexes getting away from the excellent Klitschko jab, some have rumoured and a video has even surfaced of Haye talking about southpaws and that he might throw a few curveballs for this fight. This could either be a master stroke or recipe for disaster (hedging my bets I know) but it could be a way to negate the jab, as Haye would be using his power hand to block the jab. It could well be worth coming out with this stance for the start of the fight and switching up and if Haye can get under the jab land a few swift counters to the body in an attempt to slow the bigger man down a little bit.

Haye's time is in the first few rounds where has to be the aggressor setting a relentless pace, we have all seen Klitschko have trouble with fighters who have pushed the pace early on not allowing him to settle into any rhythm. This is cruical as the jab of Klitschko is technically superb and arguably one of the best in boxing today so it is imperative that Haye does not let him to let it go and if Haye can counter the jab make Klitschko scared to throw it. Haye's punch resistance will be tested at some point during the fight, yes Haye has been knocked down before, some call him chinny and has he ever been hit by someone who hits as hard as Klitschko. I doubt he has personally, I do know Haye drafted in David Price to spar with him, who I feel is an excellent prospect and a great replicator of the Klitschko style. Price also has very good power so I hope for Haye's sake Price landed a few decent shots to get himself ready because despite Haye's excellent reflexes he will get caught once or twice but he needs to let those shots bounce off him and move forward. Some have questioned Haye's heart but this is something that shouldn't be questioned the man has got up from big shots to win, he has shown no fear by fighting on foreign soil, that takes a lot of heart and confidence in ones ability. Haye has made an excellent point about the fight, some have been talking about how Haye will handle what could be a hostile crowd, well when you are in the ring it is just you, your opponent and the referee so I cant see the crowd being a factor. The worry for Haye is if the fight goes into the later rounds, what will he have in the tank and could he get a decision in Germany especially after the shocking judging in the Sturm Macklin fight.

Wladimir 'Dr Steelhammer' Klitschko, the nickname says it all really this man has been the dominant force in the heavyweight division for over 5 years now, he has beaten all challengers whether you consider them to be worthy challengers or not is a different matter. The man is a excellent technical boxer who maybe would have shined in any era but has been unlucky that the era which he has dominated has been the weakest for a long long time, this isn't his fault but you have to put into context the fighters he has faced. Klitschko's main asset is that excellent jab it is the key to everything he does, from a technical standpoint it is sound boxing and is the reason he has won so many fights by knockout as the jab has worn them down. I find Klitschko to be deceptively quick, his not as quick as Haye but for a man of his size he is freakishly quick and that speed will play a factor in this fight. Klitschko needs to use his speed correctly, if as many expect Haye is the aggressor than there could be plenty of counter chances but for this Klitschko will have to fire out the jab at the right times so he can catch Haye off balance before then firing off the straight right. This is a different fight for Klitschko to any he has really faced in a few years as go back through the last few fighters Klitschko has faced no one has spoke with the vigour or conviction Haye has, no one has gotten underneath Klitschko's skin. Klitschko is a very intelligent man his a massive fan of psychology hence his love of chess but Haye to him has been a person who has gone about destroying all his pawns leaving him exposed, this is a man who he can't control a man he cant even get to do a sporting thing such as a handshake. Has this given Klitschko a different mindset for this fight, has he lost respect for Haye the person, does he just see him as a thug who must be taught a lesson.

Klitschko does have some weaknesses of course, despite his tremendous knock out ratio he is more of cumulative puncher than a single punch knock out artist and has been put on the deck over 10 times in the course of his career. Klitschko has shown great heart in getting up 3 times against Peter, the numerous knock downs have also led to a tightened up defence and arguably a safety first approach. Klitschko has become so used to this routine it is natural for him so I do worry what will happen if Haye does things Klitschko doesn't expect how will he react. A lot of people will refer to the Sanders fight as evidence of this but Klitschko has changed so much since this fight but who has done anything similar to this since then. I do have a reservation about the heart of Klitschko as well, there is something about him which doesn't scream warrior like Haye, it is as if for want of a better term he is afraid of a true tear up. The best tactics Klitschko could employ in this fight though would be to take the centre of the ring firing off the jab sticking to his typical game plan keeping Haye at distance and when he gets close thrown an uppercut of sharp left hook. Keeping Haye at distance leaves only wild looping shots which can then be countered, it will also tire Haye out leaving him ripe for taking out in the final stages of the fight.

So who am I going for, well I am going for Haye to win by knockout inside 6 rounds, I feel his speed and movement will be too much for Klitschko. I feel Haye has gotten right under Klitschko's skin that when that opening bell rings and Klitschko is all alone with Haye the game plan devised will disappear and Klitschko will try for big shots early which Haye can counter. I could well be wrong and I will be the first to admit I am wrong come Saturday night if Klitschko is victorious but it is great for boxing that a fight such as this is happening, and when a fight can generate this much interest it can only be good. The build up which some have been disgusted at or some have enjoyed will soon be forgotten after the fight is in the record books.

I would as always love to hear your comments and prediction on the fight, so email me on I will try to reply to as many as I can, or leave a comment in the usual way. I hope you all enjoy the fight and needless to say crucify me if I am wrong.

Article posted on 30.06.2011

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