Cleverly: Without the Klitschkos, Haye would have dominated the heavyweight division
By Scott Gilfoid: WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly believes former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye won’t be making a comeback form his retirement and backs him on retiring at 31 with his mental faculties still in intact. Haye retired today on his 31st birthday, something he had been promising to do since he was 16.
Cleverly told talksport.co.uk “He’s [Haye] been a good world champion so why should he hang around and take punches from these big heavyweights. The Klitschkos are so big and looked a couple of weight divisions above Haye. He did well to get to that weight because he was such a small heavyweight. He could have dominated the division had it not been for the Klitschkos.”
First of all, I don’t think you can say Haye was a good world champion when he only defended his WBA heavyweight title two times against older heavyweights in 38-year-old John Ruiz and 39-year-old Audley Harrison before losing his WBA title against Wladimir Klitschko last July.
Do you consider that being a good heavyweight champion? I don’t. If Cleverly is talking about Haye’s time as a champion at cruiserweight, he only defended his WBA/WBC cruiserweight titles one time after beating Jean Marc Mormeck to capture them. Haye defeated WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli in his first defense and then moved up in weight to the heavyweight division. I don’t consider a fighter a “good champion” if all they did was defend the title once and then move up.
I think Cleverly is also wrong about Haye being able to dominate the heavyweight division if not for the Klitschkos. Even if the Klitschkos weren’t there, Haye would still be right back in the same situation against Robert Helenius, who is every bit as big as the Klitschkos. Cleverly would have to include Helenius to the bunch and then it would get silly, because when you start making scenarios where you have to exclude a series of fighters before such and such fighter can dominate a division, then it’s just some kind of pipe dream.
Cleverly needs to snap out of it and realize that Haye was limited – whether that be from size, heart or skills. He was a limited fighter who was carefully matched against mostly older heavyweights until he got his big money fight against Klitschko and then he was soundly beaten. And now gets retiring rather than trying to prove himself against the top contenders like Helenius or Chris Arreola.
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