Lennox Lewis: Haye has a chance if he can box Wladimir
By Sean McDaniel: Former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis is going against the mutual consensus that WBA heavyweight champion David Haye’s only chance of beating IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko this Saturday is to attack him early and try to knock him out. Lewis doesn’t think that’ll work for the much smaller Haye, who will be giving away four inches in height and reach, as well as close to 40 pounds in weight.
Being 6’2″ 210 pounds against the 6’6″ 247 pound Wladimir is going to put Haye at a tremendous disadvantage from the very start. This isn’t Audley Harrison, who despite being a lot bigger than Haye in their fight last November, he simply couldn’t fight. Wladimir can fight and he won’t be afraid to hit Haye repeatedly.
Lewis thinks that Haye’s best chance of winning the Klitschko fight is to stick and move and concentrate on throwing quick combinations like he did in his narrow win over the painfully slow Nikolay Valuev in 2009. Haye barely won that fight, and it’s hard to see Haye being able to out-box Wladimir to a decision, especially in Germany. But the Haye-Valuev fight was in Germany, and Haye won that fight, so anything is possible.
Lewis said this to the BBC Radio: “What makes me give Haye a chance is what he did against Valuev. He fought a perfect fight, he kept moving, he stayed elusive and in the final round he almost knocked Valuev out. Klitschko has the bigger advantages but if David is able to stay with his game plan and move and throw combinations he should do well. If they get into a clinch and Klitschko puts his weight on David it may sap some of David’s energy.”
There has been talk that Haye’s trainer Adam Booth has come up with a plan to defeat Wladimir’s clinching, but we’ll have to see if that’s true. Looking at Haye’s past fights you’ll immediately notice that he doesn’t let his opponents clinch him. He generally continues to throw punches. The unfortunate part about that is Haye often ends up hitting them with a lot of rabbit punches in the clinch. He’s been able to get away with that in the past in fights held in the UK, but that might not work for him in Germany.
If Haye is going to attack Wladimir when he attempts to hold, Haye had better be careful of where he lands his punches because he could find himself in a deep, deep hole if the referee starts docking him points over and over again for rabbit punches. That would likely make Haye fight with desperation and that could cause him to run out of gas quickly against the much bigger Wladimir, who won’t be fighting with the same desperation due to his self control and better ring tactics.
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