By Scott Gilfoid: Former two-division world champion David Haye believes he’d have knocked out Oleksander Usyk in the prime of his career when he was fighting in the cruiserweight division.
Haye (28-4, 26 KOs), who was knocked out by an over-the-hill Carl Thompson in the fifth round in the zenith of his career in 2004, believes that if you had thrown him into the ring against Usyk on the night that he fought Tony Bellew in 2018, he’d have beaten him.
For the record, Usyk played with Bellew, toying with him until he gassed out in the eighth round and then knocked him out.
The reality is Haye was a limited one-trick pony at cruiserweight, and he was never capable of beating talented fighters like Usyk. You can’t compare what Haye did at cruiserweight to fighters like Usyk, Evander Holyfield, and Michael Moorer.
“Yeah, I like to believe in my prime, the speed, and the timing. If I put myself in that fight, Usyk vs. Tony Bellew – take Tony out and put my prime in there – I think I’d have definitely got that guy [Usyk] out of there,” said David Haye to iD Boxing about his belief that he could have beaten Oleksandr Usyk in his prime.
Those guys were on a different level and would have taken advantage of the musclebound Haye’s poor stamina and limited boxing ability.
Haye would have lost not only to Usyk, Holyfield, and Moorer but also to cruiserweights like Dwight Muhammad Qawi, Henry Tillman, Bert Cooper, and Bobby Czyz. Those guys could all punch, and they had better skills than Haye.
When Haye moved up to heavyweight, he was repeatedly exposed, and his career quickly fizzled out after a one-sided loss to Wladimir Klitschko. Haye did beat the journeyman Derek Chisora, but other than that, he did nothing.
At heavyweight, Haye’s 12-round majority decision victory over WBA champion Nicolai Valuev in 2009 was highly questionable. Many boxing fans had Valuev winning that fight, as did this writer.
Haye had brief moments in that fight, but for the most part, he ate jabs and right hands from the big 7-foot Valuev the entire fight. In re-watching that fight, it’s troubling to think what the judges were looking at to give Haye the victory because he clearly deserved a loss.
Haye’s best wins at cruiserweight:
- Jean-Marc Mormeck
- Lolenga Mock
- Glen Kelly
- Arthur Williams
- Enzo Maccarinelli
- Giacobbe Fragomeni