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Haye: “The game plan is to hit him [Valuev] as much as I can”

David Haye Nikolai ValuevBy Sean McDaniel: David Haye (22-1, 21 KO’s) is convinced that he’s going to score a knockout over WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev on Saturday night in Nuremburg, Germany. If Haye is just joshing, he sure could have fooled me. By listening to Haye, he makes it sound as if this is going to be an easy fight for him and that victory is nothing more than a foregone conclusion.

Haye says, “The game plan is to hit him as much as I can and as often as I can. It’s not like he’s got a small head that I can’t hit – there is plenty of it, so it shouldn’t be a problem.” There’s little doubt that Haye will be able to land with his quicker more powerful shots against the big lumbering Valuev. Monte Barrett, a medium sized heavyweight like Haye, was able to land big right hand shots from time to time in his fight with Valuev in 2006.

However, Barrett was unable to keep it up for long once Valuev began to find him with right hands more and more from rounds eight on until stopping Barrett in the 11th round. Valuev normally doesn’t go out looking for a knockout as he usually is content with out-boxing his smaller opponents. But Valuev’s big clubbing shots have a wearing effect on his opponents to the effect that they start to wear down as the rounds progress.

How Valuev’s big punches will effect Haye is the main question. Haye doesn’t have the best of chins in the heavyweight division nor does he have the greatest stamina. Haye was stopped once in his career by Carl Thompson in the 5th round in 2004. Thompson did little other than stick around for five rounds until Haye gassed out mostly on his own. Haye will need to monitor his stamina against Valuev, especially if he’s not able to get Valuev out of there early in the fight like Haye usually does against his opponents.

It’s been three years since Haye has gone 12 rounds, and during that time he was fighting as a cruiserweight without as much pressure on him like he’ll be facing on Saturday night with the big seven foot 325 pound Valuev stalking him around the ring all night long. Haye figures to go after Valuev early in the fight, but if Haye isn’t able to take the big Russian out with a big shot, you can expect for Valuev to turn the tables on him and start coming after him shortly after the midway point of the fight.

Haye says – “I don’t feel as though he [Valuev] has ever fought anybody in my caliber, he’s never fought anybody in their prime or anybody fired up who gave up their title to come and fight him which I have done. I was undisputed cruiserweight champion and gave up those titles to move up and challenge for the heavyweight title.” Valuev hasn’t faced too many quality heavyweights in the past three years aside from Ruslan Chagaev, John Ruiz, Sergey Lyakhovich and a 46-year-old Evander Holyfield.

His experience is better than Haye’s at the heavyweight level, though. Haye will have to be more active, make Valuev work hard and try to stay clear from getting hit by Valuev’s big looping right hands. Valuev is slow, but he can connect if his opponent stays in front of him long enough for him to connect with one of his big shots. Valuev’s left hook is also one of his weapons that Haye has to watch out for this Saturday.

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