Is self doubt starting to creep in Haye’s mind?
By Sean McDaniel: WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has suddenly started to kiss up to his challenger John Ruiz, smothering him with praises instead of teasing him without mercy like he generally does with all his opponents. It’s hard to understand what has come over Haye other than to assume that Haye is possibly trying to build Ruiz with the boxing public in case Haye gets knocked out again. If Haye tells boxing fans how great Ruiz long enough, it will be less of a shock if/when Haye gets stretched out on the canvas and beaten.
Haye has a ton of pressure on him in this fight. He not only has to win the fight, but he also has to look really impressive in doing so in order to be taken serious by the boxing public. In a way, Haye kind of has to make up for how lousy he looked in his last fight against WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev.
Haye promised to look great and knock Valuev out before hand, but what we ended up seeing was Haye running laps around the canvas and looking like he was fearful of getting hit by the seven footer. Haye later had an excuse about having hurt his right hand early in the fight which kept him from unloading on Valuev the way he wanted to. Fair enough, boxing fans will accept an excuse for that fight, but if Haye does that twice in a row, boxing fans might start smelling a rat and see Haye as not the savior of the heavyweight division like some people have painted him as being.
In building up Ruiz, Haye says “I have half his experience, and he is a seasoned successful heavyweight and I have to respect him.” That sounds to me like Haye is coming up with an excuse ahead of time should something go wrong in the Ruiz bout. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. A lot of people do that when they’re feeling some pressure and they don’t want to experience a lot of criticism when things go wrong.
Haye likes to make it appear like he’s invincible because he can punch a little, but he’s clearly not as good as he thinks he is. Haye’s chin is average, maybe even less than average. And Haye’s stamina has major question marks. Haye hasn’t really been pushed since his loss to Carl Thompson in 2004. His opposition since that time has let Haye fight at a gingerly pace instead of taking the fight to him. Part of the reason for that is because Haye hasn’t really fought any major league talent since that time. I don’t consider the opposition that Haye ran over since that time as major league, even though a few of them were highly ranked cruiserweights.
You have to wonder if Haye might disintegrate if pressured too hard by Ruiz on Saturday night. It might not seem likely to Haye fans, but when you look at Haye’s many flaws, and then look at his less than stellar opposition since his loss to Thompson, it’s very possible Haye will lose.
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