Haye-Valuev: Win First, Look Good Second
By Andrew Muldoon: David Haye scored a points win in Nuremberg on Saturday night to snatch the World Boxing Association strap from the clutches of Nicolai Valuev. After speaking with my most knowledgeable friends and also nosing at the banter on the many boxing forums, I see there is mixed feelings towards what happened in Germany so I’m going to give you my take.
First of all, when analyzing a fight there are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration, i.e., styles, speed, power, hunger, ring smarts, stamina, venue, injuries sustained during battle.
When the fight was first announced my initial reaction was, great this is Hayes’ chance to shine, his chance to make his impact on the this lifeless heavyweight division. Come weigh-in, I had my doubts, basically just because Valuev looked enormous compared to Haye and in 50+ fights, Valuev had never even been hurt in the ring. Haye looked confident as ever though and on the night his focus was exceptional. How many times did Valuev close the space down, start throwing, only to be made to look like an amateur swinging at thin air? This was the theme for most of the night. Hit (fair enough Haye wasn’t Calzaghe like with his punch output, but when he threw, he landed) and don’t get hit. Isn’t that what boxing is?
Adam Booth’s game plan was simple enough, the way Haye stuck to it was quality. Afterwards, Haye said he would’ve been more aggressive and went for the kayo earlier if he hadn’t suffered that injury. I personally think the cautious approach was the game plan from the start but I suppose we’ll never know.
To the people who think Haye didn’t deserve to win, I ask you this: Did Valuev land any telling punches? The answer is no. Did David Haye? The answer is yes. Was Valuev allowed to use his weight advantage to by leaning on him in the clinch and tiring his opponent out? The answer is no. Why? Because Haye wouldn’t let him get away with it. Can you see where I’m going with this?
Two men in a ring, both with advantages, and both with disadvantages. It’s not only how you use your tools but how you nullify your opponents best attributes that will win you fights at this level. Just ask Bernard Hopkins, he’s been doing it for years.
The team of Haye and Booth are going places in this division. In the break between one of the mid rounds, Haye was maybe becoming a tad complacent and Valuev seemed to be closing the space quicker, not much, but noticeable.
“Don’t get drunk on your own success,” were Booth’s words to Haye. He went out the next round and tightened things up again and it was back into slick mode.
This division has been screaming out for a character like David Haye for years, and now we’ve finally found him. For the people who still doubt his ability, look at his previous twenty odd fights. The man loves knocking people out and he’s very good at it! Isn’t that what we all want to see?!?
The bottom line is that Haye did what he needed to do on the night against this particular opponent. The win comes first. People will see another more destructive side to him when he fights John Ruiz next.
I’ll save my thoughts I have on Haye vs. Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko for another time.
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