David Haye - The next dominant British heavyweight?

27.07.06 - By Jim Dorney: I know what you're thinking - David Haye fights at cruiserweight. That's true, but at 6'3 and only 25 years of age, he's admitted that he's already struggling to make the 200lb limit. I reckon he could probably carry an extra 20 or 30 pounds of muscle around without jeopardising what makes him such an exciting prospect - His inhuman punching power, his dazzling handspeed & his deadly combinations..

Haye enjoyed a celebrated amateur career & most of his bouts have been shown on British TV - With his easy-going nature & good looks, he was an instant hit with the UK public. After the recent non-event that was Williams vs. Skelton II, the British public know that neither of those two present the future of UK boxing. Skelton performed well, but at 39 years of age, he's running out of time.

In only his tenth pro outing Haye destroyed previous cruiserweight world champion 'King' Arthur Williams with one of the most destructive displays of hitting I've ever seen. Williams, a veteran of many wars over the years, said that he's never been hit like that in his life, and he'd dabbled in the heavyweights himself. This victory, as well as his stoppage wins against rated fighters such as Glenn Kelly, Vincenzo Rossitto & Alexander Gurov should have been the wake-up call for the division.

In his next fight after Williams, Haye came unstruck against Carl Thompson, a hell of a fighter in his own right, who's proved over the years time & time again that you write him off at your peril. After taking a sustained battering for 4 rounds that would have reduced lesser fighters to defeat, Thompson managed to weather the storm & stopped an exhausted, punched-out Haye.

Haye took defeat like a man, and I honestly think it will have been a good thing for him - He now doesn't have an undeafeated record to feel like he has to protect, and he will have learned so much about pacing himself & strategy after that loss that he badly needed to know after sparking everyone else out in double-quick time before.

Put simply, Haye is an unbelievable puncher. It remains to be seen if he's still be such a huge puncher in the heavies, but even if he's not the biggest puncher in the division (and he certainly won't be considered a light hitter) his combinations & accuracy, combined with his movement will make him a formidable opponent for all.

There is a slight question mark over his chin after the Thompson loss & a somewhat controversial stoppage win against Lolenga Mock, who's not noted as the biggest puncher around, and was fighting above his normal weight, but Haye's defenses appear to have improved & as he's stepped up the competition he's looked less vulnerable.

Haye is angling for a fight with WBC cruiserweight boss O'Neill Bell. Bell is a good, solid fighter, but I reckon Haye would knock him out. He knows he'd have to put in a strong performance when it matters against Bell, and Bell, whilst he did well to outlast Jean-Mark Mormeck, doesn't convince me that he could take Haye's power. I don't think if he lands flush, anyone in the division can - Ask Alexander Gurov, who was rated in the top five in the world at the time Haye knocked him out cleanly with a single, devastating right hand within the first minute of the first round to win the European title.

Provided Haye does get the fight against Bell and prevails, a mouthwatering domestic matchup offers itself in the form of Enzo Maccarinelli, the 6'4 Welshman, trained by Enzo Calzaghe. Maccarinelli has proven in his wins over Mark Hobson (although I scored a draw, Maccarinelli got the close verdict win) and, most recently, Marcelo Fabian Dominguez (the first man to stop the durable world-rated ex-heavyweight contender and cruiserweight champion) that his WBU win over Bruce Scott was no fluke. Whilst it would be an exciting fight no doubt, I just don't see that Maccarinelli has enough to beat Haye. Haye is the better boxer, has more power (whilst Enzo can bang) and the better handspeed. Haye would win by stoppage by the mid-rounds.

And then where?

To the top of the heavyweight tree, I reckon. I'm not the type to overhype very often, but I really think that Haye is a bit special & the rest of the world will find out soon enough. I don't see any one on the current heavyweight horizon who think Haye couldn't beat, with the possible exception of Alexander Povetkin, but we'll see how he progresses.

Haye's most recent fight, a somewhat boring decision win (his first non-knockout yet) over durable Ismail Abdoul should provide the perfect smokescreen. Because everyone who has followed Haye expected a dramatic knockout, the public may now underestimate him. Perfect. I reckon he just wanted to go the distance for once, get some rounds in & prove (to himself if no-one else) that he can go the full twelve.

Bring on the rest of the world!

Article posted on 28.07.2006

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