Is Haye Lost Without the Klitschko Brothers?
By Chris Williams: It seems as if British heavyweight David Haye (22-1, 21 KO’s) may have lost his golden goose when he backed out of a June 20th fight with IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko because of back spasms. A chain set of reactions have since occurred with Klitschko first replacing Haye as an opponent with Ruslan Chagaev, then telling Haye to “get in line” behind the other top contenders vying for a bout with Wladimir and then finally the collapse of Setanta Sports, who were going to be paying Haye for a fight with Klitschko.
As of now, unless Wladimir’s bigger and more solid brother WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko comes to the rescue for Haye, the British former cruiserweight champion could find himself having to scrape and claw his way to a title shot by having to face a top contender or two in the heavyweight division.
This for obvious reasons is something that Haye would rather not have to do, because of the risk and work involved with beating a top contender. Thus far, Haye, a small heavyweight at only 215 pounds, has been sparred with having to take on some of the more bone crunching and talented heavyweights like Chris Arreola, Alexander Dimitrenko, Kevin Johnson, Lamon Brewster or Odlanier Solis.
But this could change if a fight with Vitali Klitschko can’t be arranged. This past week a rumor sprang up suddenly about Vitali possibly fighting WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev next. The rumor has since been dispelled by Klitschko manager Bernd Broente.
However, if Vitali does decide on facing Valuev or one of the other top heavyweights like Arreola, a name that Vitali has mentioned as a fighter that he is interested in defending his title against, then Haye could be up a creek without a paddle so to speak.
Haye would find himself having to either step it up against one of the top contenders in the division, something that he would like have no choice but to do to establish his credibility as a top contender, or else continue to carefully pick and choose heavyweights that are the least threatening to him like Monte Barrett and Tomasz Bonin.
If Haye continues to take the easy path in selecting his heavyweight opponents, he will risk losing respect with a lot of fans in the boxing community, because he’s made a lot of bold claims about being the new generation of heavyweight fighters. It’s hard to tell what Haye was meaning when he said that.
At first, I thought it meant that Haye would be willing to take on only the best of the heavyweights in the division, and I totally believed him since he wanted to fight the Klitschko brothers back to back. However, with the Klitschko’s unavailable temporarily, I would still expect for Haye to want to fight the best alternative that he could dig up and not just some bargain basement fighter that presents little threat to his shaky chin.
Taking on the Klitschko brothers isn’t necessarily a brand of courage, because any fighter who fights them knows that they’ll get a huge payday in a fight with them and even if they lose, they have the excuse that they were fighting the best. It’s like a no lose situation for whoever fights them.
However, in facing a top contender in the heavyweight division, it’s a whole different ball game. If Haye gets knocked out or beaten by one of them, the game is effectively over for Haye. He would have to then work his way back into a title shot by facing a series of quality fighters over a period of a year or two before he would get a chance at another title opportunity, and even then, only if Haye were to win all his fights.
Right now, Haye hasn’t proven that he’s good enough to beat a top contender, so it puts him in a bad situation where he better hope that Vitali decides on fighting him next. If not, Haye may find himself having to put his heavyweight career on the line against one of the tough contenders.
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