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De La Hoya: “Haye can be the next great super heavyweight champion”

David Haye John Ruiz Oscar De La HoyaBy Jim Dower: Oscar De La Hoya is practically drooling over World Boxing Association heavyweight champion David Haye {23-1, 21 KO’s) ahead of the British fighters’ first title defense this weekend against John Ruiz (44-8-1, 30 KO’s) at the M.E.N. Arena, in Manchester, England. De La Hoya, who promotes Haye through Golden Boy Promotions, says “In my eyes, Haye can be the next great super heavyweight champion of the world, like Lennox Lewis was.”

I think De La Hoya doesn’t necessarily mean “super” as is a huge heavyweight like the Klitschko brothers, but more of a case of him thinking that Haye has super good talents. Haye will get a chance to show whether he’s got the talent to live up to De La Hoya’s praise this Saturday against the 38-year-old Ruiz.

If Haye can’t get past Ruiz or at least look good, the chances of living up to the “super” tag of De La Hoya’s will drop dramatically. Haye isn’t a big heavyweight and doesn’t have the arm length of the bigger heavyweights in the division like Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Indeed, Haye has spent most of his career fighting cruiserweights.

It was only two years ago that he decided to move up to the heavyweight division in pursuit of bigger paydays at this weight class. Even if Haye can steer around the Klitschko brothers and beat Ruiz, there are plenty of other heavyweights in the division that would propose problems for Haye because of his weak chin, poor stamina and average size.

Haye isn’t big enough to just dominate the other heavyweights, and he’s not fast enough on his feet to move around the ring without taking heavy fire from them.

De La Hoya says “John Ruiz can be a very difficult opponent because of his style. He’s not just holding anymore.” Ruiz used to clinch a lot in the past, and was not an interesting heavyweight to watch. However, in the past couple of years, Ruiz has gone back to high crowd-pleasing style from earlier in his career when he was a puncher and somewhat of a knockout artist.

This could be a problem for Haye if he doesn’t get Ruiz out early. Ruiz looked powerful in his last fight last year against Adnan Serin. Ruiz’s right hands and uppercuts were especially impressive in that fight. If Haye can’t keep Ruiz on the outside where he’s more or less harmless, then Haye could find himself taking punishment from Ruiz in close.

At close range, Ruiz is dangerous because he’s powerful with his short punches and uppercuts. Haye isn’t nearly as effective in close because he needs distance to throw his big bombs. If Ruiz can crowd Haye, it could be an easy night for Ruiz and a painful and humiliating one for Haye. This is a make or break fight for Haye. He can’t afford to lose this bout if he wants to become the big pay-per-view star in the United States, and also if he wants a huge pay day against one of the Klitschko brothers.

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