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Haye Valuev Hard To Predict

David Haye Nikolai ValuevBy Dewi Powell: On Saturday we have the fight that everyone I know is talking about, Valuev-Haye! Since I think many people are aware of Haye’s flaws I thought I’d elaborate more on the flaws of the Beast from the East, give a prediction for Saturday and let you all give me some feedback.

A fighter can’t win any fight unless he hits the other guy and I can’t remember an easier heavyweight world champion to regularly hit than Valuev … in history! It’s a bold statement to make but I promise to you I can justify it. It takes little boxing understanding to realize that movement is the key to defeating Valuev, 20 stone men will never be too mobile in any sport and this has to be a positive for the smaller guy.

A fighter needs to analyse Valuev’s movement and apply it to his own movement. When there is space between the fighter and Valuev and its Valuev coming forward from an outside position he almost always brings his head down to his shoulder level when he throws. This should be thoroughly exploited and is one of many great times to land on Valuev because he gives up his height advantage which has been so useful in his career because it’s often allowed him to dictate a fight with his jab. Analysts of Valuev will appreciate this is a big mistake in any level of boxing which he can’t afford to do because every advantage for a limited fighter should be taken in a sport that offers no guarantees. There are even other opportunities for a fighter to be successful when Valuev is coming forward …

When Valuev does double up on the jab it is followed by a right hook, he doesn’t use a straight right here because the double jab has often disguised the intention of unleashing his right hand’s full potential. Here he doesn’t want to waste the opportunity he has to throw his right hand harder than his jab would otherwise allow. This sequence of attack is often signaled by a fake jab before the double jab, this is too predictable for a world champion, and a fighter can avoid this by simple lateral movement, the effect that lateral movement has on Valuev will be elaborated on further on in the article.

A fighter should also be aware that Valuev isn’t confident in the clinch, rightly so because his 85 inch arms are too long to get successful punches off on the inside, this can be seen by looking at the height of his left elbow just before a clinch and it’s too high to elevate any power. To cater for this inability Valuev will throw a straight left then a cross right approaching the clinch and then attempt to tie his opponent up. It can be argued that this can be countered by a right hook but as the left arm of Valuev will be straight it will be harder to get over it – so instead a left hook is more effective, providing the fighter dodges the straight left jab of Valuev, as it’s a better chance of landing with the target having less protection from Valuev’s arm, effectively the target is now bigger. This is the reason Valuev struggled with Chagaev’s southpaw stance, however this isn’t a tactic to be used by just southpaws, Holyfield landed this punch twice in round 3 in their fight due to his heads lateral movement, as previously stated movement is the key!

Another limiting factor of Valuev’s capabilities is his foot movement. His feet are not fast enough to adapt to a response from his opponent, such as head movement, leading to predictability in his technique and the only punches he has time to land (when first throwing a punch on an approach) are left hand straights if close enough or jabs to be sure of safety if not close enough. This can be seen when an analyst realizes that when approaching an opponent 99% he does not throw a right first, I understand he has an orthodox stance but every fighter needs variation in his arsenal; he throws a straight left or jab. With his opponent knowing what is coming to then they can prepare to counter his attack and orthodox fighters have often done this by lateral movement to his left. When this is coupled with Valuev’s inability to throw a left hook, moving to his left deactivates his huge jab and half of his attack. Here an orthodox fighter can have extreme success with a jab followed by a right hand over the top and a southpaw can be successful with their jab but if a southpaw attempted to throw the left hand by moving to Valuev’s left then they would be at risk of Valuev’s massive right hand.

When fighting against Valuev it is always important that he’s not given anymore advantages, other than the natural ones he already possesses such as height, weight, reach etc. and it’s also important that Valuev’s opponent emphasizes his focus on his own advantages. With this in mind, fighters should be conscious to never be on the front foot whilst there is a significant amount of time for Valuev to throw a right hand with his full power and body weight behind it. This is because it’s likely to toll on a fighter throughout the fight, it has potential knockout power or at least could shake an opponent and finally it is eye catching and could be in the judge’s mind when scoring a round.

This gives a fighter more reason to move to Valuev’s sides but a fighter should never go straight backwards, think of it this way … if you were on a train track and a train was coming towards you, you wouldn’t walk backwards you get the hell of there by moving to the side. When a fighter goes straight backwards against Valuev it’s one of the only times he backs up his jabs because he’s able to plant his left foot after the jab and he has a centre of gravity to get his full weight and power behind his right hand.

Going to Valuev’s body may look pleasing to the eye of the judges but it has hardly any effect on him so if a fighter is going for a stoppage against a man who’s never been put on the canvas then hitting his face is the best way to do it! Also, there is such a small probability of throwing a telling shot to his body because when a fighter is close enough to throw at Valuev he clinch’s and his elbows cover up all of his ribs, this is why he takes so many punches to his arms… unless a fighter was to throw a Zinedine Zidane headbutt to Valuev’s chest I couldn’t ever see this man being put down from a body blow, legal or illegal!

Valuev has recently become predictable in his ring positioning too. Lately he’s started extremely central to the ring and has intended to impose his jab and thrives on his opponent coming at him in the centre but struggles when rotated and made to move. When his opponent does make him move he seems to want to pressure his opponent on to the ropes or corners but is just too slow so he’s often caught straying off the centre but not far enough to get his opponent on the ropes, and for the bigger fighter this is NO MANS LAND and they will almost always struggle here. A fighter will obviously be aware that Valuev is slow and his work rate isn’t the fastest so there is no need to get carried away yet there is every need to be patient.

Now it’s been stated on how to fight effectively and consistently against Valuev I think one or two myths about his record should be dispelled. Before analysis of his record I would have thought the same thing that many people will think about the main body of this article, “If this guy is so limited how the hell has he got such a great record?”. The answer to this question is that we are being blinded by numbers!

Nikolay Valuev was never aiming to become a boxer, at a sports school his potential for success was spotted and he began boxing training at 20 years of age. Most people will realize that this is extremely late to take the sport up but success can still be achieved, however it is at a cost. This cost is a lengthy and worthwhile amateur career which the vast majority of pro boxers would have had as they would have taken up the sport at a far younger age than 20. Due to this, Valuev admits to having fought less than 15 amateur fights before turning professional. He cannot be blamed for this, living in a soviet country at the height of the Cold War was a difficult time and money had to be earned.

With under 15 fights on his amateur record Valuev hadn’t learnt as much as other fighters on their pro debut would have had the knowledge of so he still had learning to do, through no fault of his own may I add. With this learning required, excluding the fights against Sergey Anikeev, Alexey Tsygankov and Alexander Vasiliev because I am unable to obtain their record at the time they fought Valuev and the fight against Andreas Sidon because this fight ended with a no contest decision, the combined record of Valuev’s first 20 opponents is far below the standard that most fighters will face. It stands at won 126, lost 99, drew 3. This is why his record cannot be compared to others fighters at his current level because their amateur careers would have meant they wouldn’t of faced such below par for as long as 20 fights. Also, 65% is a respectable knockout percentage but when it doesn’t reflect Valuev’s record since he hit world title level. Since his first WBA heavyweight world title eliminator fight against Larry Donald he has only achieved 2 stoppage victories, which is why I don’t think people need to worry or focus about his knockout ability THAT much when fighting him. Obviously a man weighing over 300 lbs isn’t going to throw punches that tickle but there are other factors in a fight against him that need more attention if to be successful.

Obviously I’ve stated Valuev’s flaws, but don’t think I’m not aware of Hayes flaws in just as much detail. As for a prediction, I’m gonna stick my neck on the line and say Valuev for a split decision because as much as I’d love for my fellow Briton to win I can’t see him getting a decision in Germany the more I think of it . But hey, this is boxing and it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest for a knockout either way. Yes, I said it, Haye has the ability to KO Valuev. To cap off, I CAN’T WAIT FOR SATURDAY NIGHT!

Review from previous article:

Anywho, I must admit I was unbelievably happy with 99% of the response from my last article. There were question about my age but they can be answered if you’d like to message me your age queries on facebook, but I won’t accept anyone as a friend who I don’t know. I also apologize to anyone who took offence at me mistaking Ricardo Mayorga’s nationality, I completely understand as being from Wales I am often branded as English by other people. Back to now! Since I was told on one comment that anyone can write a history essay I thought lets talk tactics! Also, since I was told hindsight is a b****h I thought I’d also add in a prediction at the end of this one

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