BBC BLOGS - Ben Dirs

Archives for April 2009

Bad taste Haye creates a buzz

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Ben Dirs | 17:08 UK time, Monday, 20 April 2009

The Hospital Club, Covent Garden, London

In 2001, an American called Derrick Jefferson vowed to turn Wladimir Klitschko's post-fight birthday party into a funeral wake. Klitschko floored Jefferson three times en route to a second-round knockout. Which just goes to show, in boxing, the best place to bury the hatchet is in your opponent's head.

It is surprising, therefore, that the Ukrainian has been drawn into a war of words with David Haye ahead of their fight in June. "I got under his skin," said Haye at a news conference in London on Monday. "I got the reaction I wanted, all the screaming and shouting has come to fruition." And he was probably right.

Klitschko, the IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, admitted Haye's antics had upset him and called Haye, who wore a T-shirt depicting him holding the severed heads of Wladimir and his older brother Vitali, an "embarrassment to boxing".

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The Beckham of boxing?

Ben Dirs | 13:01 UK time, Wednesday, 15 April 2009

On this side of the Atlantic, I have sometimes heard Oscar de la Hoya referred to as the 'David Beckham of Boxing'. The comparison is never meant to be flattering.

De la Hoya, say his critics, was a triumph of style over substance; a cynical money-making machine (boxing historian Bert Sugar calls him the sport's "ATM"); a great brand, but not a great boxer. Beckham is familiar with such accusations, although the AC Milan midfielder, who's every bit as pretty as the 'Golden Boy', probably dismisses them as envy.

Another charge often laid against Beckham is that he's come up short on the biggest stage: five major tournaments for England and outshone at all of them. De la Hoya, too, was found wanting in many of his biggest engagements.

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