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Hope Haye ain't bluffing again

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Ben Dirs | 05:46 UK time, Friday, 14 October 2011

David Haye's announcement that he is to hang up the gloves and move into acting will be met with a wry smile by many in the fight game: if politics is show-business for ugly people, boxing is show-business for people who are too hard for dancing and make-up.

As the former two-weight world champion delivered his farewell speeches from his gym in south London, it was difficult to tell whether the whole set-up was yet another grand bluff; there are those who say Haye is already one of the great actors of his time.

Whether it was convincing the British public that he would stand and trade with Russian giant Nikolay Valuev or that Audley Harrison was a worthy challenger to his heavyweight crown, Haye managed to fool some of the people all of the time.

And while he was winning, that was just fine with those who understand hucksterism is an essential ingredient of boxing.

"I believe the heavyweight division will slip back into the doldrums, what it was like before I moved up [from cruiserweight]," Haye told BBC Sport on Thursday. In truth, the record books will show that Haye made little more than a ripple during his short stay among the big men. And that is down to his good fortune and bad fortune, in roughly equal measure.

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Good fortune in that the paucity of talent up above afforded him the opportunity to jump a weight and grab some low hanging fruit from the sagging branches of the heavyweight division in the first place.

Bad fortune in that the fruit he was able to grab was so rotten that many observers were unwilling to give him much credit for his achievements.

Yet against Valuev, from whom the Bermondsey boy won the WBA heavyweight crown in Nuremburg in 2009, Haye was superb.

Some described his hit-and-run tactics as boring; others more au fait with the intricacies of boxing, who understood the difficulties in giving away nine inches and seven stone to an opponent, were happy to give Haye his due.

But that was to be the highlight, at least as a heavyweight. True, Haye made a mess of former two-time world champion John Ruiz, knocking him down three times on the way to a brutal stoppage, but the American was already over the hill and far away. As for Harrison, well, the less said about that abomination of a bout the better.

And then came Klitschko: the man Haye called a robot; the man Haye said he would put in hospital; the man Haye said he would decapitate. The man who made Haye look stupid, inside and outside of the ring.

Two years of talk, two years of promises - what, many asked, had been the point? The point, Haye might have replied (and I am a little surprised he didn't) is the millions of pounds shortly to appear in my offshore bank account.

The late Sir Henry Cooper once opined: "Haye doesn't need to do this sort of publicity to put bums on seats." 'Enery was wrong, and Haye was right, in that he recognised better than almost anyone in modern boxing that without stunts and trash-talk, his fights would be ignored by most. Intoxicated by the nonsense, the fans kept coming in droves.

While the heavyweight division, with all its attendant hoopla, provided the ideal stage for Haye's thespian tendencies, most of his best work was actually done down at cruiserweight. Fans of Sir John Gielgud, watching him camping it up in Arthur, probably looked back at his theatre career in much the same way.

Haye's defeat of WBC and WBA title-holder Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris in 2007 revealed the Englishman to be a fighter of genuine world class - and no little steel.

Floored by Mormeck in the fourth round, Haye proved those who doubted his fibre wrong by peeling himself off the canvas and knocking the champion out in seven.

The following year, Haye blasted British rival Enzo Maccarinelli away inside two rounds to unify the division. Then he bulked up, stepped up a division and promised to put heavyweight boxing back on the map. Only it did not quite pan out like that.

Following his defeat by Klitschko, it was widely believed Haye's colossal ego would prevent him from walking away after such a public humiliation. Meanwhile, former featherweight world champion Barry McGuigan is only one sage observer who feels Haye still has much more to offer, that he has not fulfilled his talent and that he is retiring much too soon.

But you have to hope Haye's joint retirement and 31st birthday party was not another extravagant ruse.

Any champion boxer getting out on their own terms is a happy story, and it was George Foreman who put it best: "The question isn't at what age I want to retire, it's at what income."

Foreman just happened to be old when he got out; Haye is lucky enough to be young.


  • Comment number 1.

    Of course it's a "ruse". I take it "professional boxing" isn't your specialist subject, Ben :)
    You have to be very naive to think Hayes won't make a glorious/woeful comeback sometime in the next year or two.

  • Comment number 2.

    I believe many people, Barry McGuigan included, do Haye a big diservice. He was and is far better and more accomplished than McGuigan ever was, fact. He cleaned up at cruiserweight and won the WBA title against a giant, albeit a limited one and he defended it twice. He only fought who the WBA ranked as their challengers and he actually never claimed Harrisson to be any good Ben - he always said he was poor and so it proved. The fact is that pro boxing is as much business and politics as it is sport and Haye knows this well. I also think that Haye realises that he is the "best of the rest" after the Klitschkos so unless he wants to box on in "division 2" with little credibility then he has nowhere to go. The only option he has left is Vitali and a massive pay day. Sadly though, he would come unstuck as Vitali is tougher and punches harder than "little brother" as Lennox Lewis will attest to. Haye would get splattered in 5. Retirement with his millions is the best option. He has had a very good career and should be remember as a great British boxer.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have a feeling that negotiations for 2012 with Vitali's people are at a far more advanced stage than most would think.

    As much as they won't admit it, the Klitchko's need someone like Haye to make them bankable.

    I was in the US for the July fight and the apathy shown towards the Heavyweight division is unreal. Haye was a shot in the arm and we'll see him in the ring again I'm sure.

  • Comment number 4.

    This is old old news. We all saw him retire in the middle off his last fight vs Klitschko

  • Comment number 5.

    An uncharitable article. Haye never was a heavyweight - he only went there to make money so to evaluate him as a heavyweight is unfair. His legacy should be based on his record as a cruiserweight which was excellent and he is up there on the British boxers list for that. Against Klitschko, he looked like what he was - a cruiserweight against a genuine heavyweight.

  • Comment number 6.

    Whether you love Haye or hate him (or somewhere inbetween), the Monday after the Klitschko fight I had people that had zero interest in pugilism asking me if I watched 'the fight' at the weekend, like 'the fight' was the only reference that was required. People that had a night in watching on PPV, doing a sweepstake on which round the fight would end, and who would win (I pulled Haye in Round 1 out of our hat. No refunds were applicable). He got the general public genuinely interested in HW boxing again, even if it was just for one night only. For that he has to be applauded.

    His grotesque means of generating this interest were obviously painful to see and hear, but I would argue it's an equally poor reflection of society that he knew such behaviour was necessary to get everyone to watch in the first place.

    While his retirement may be geniune in his mind, I imagine Adam Booth will get a phone call from a supplicant Bernd Boente in the not too distant future when he realises a Haye v Klitshcko fight will make him a lot more money than anything else currently in the HW division. So yeah, expect him to fight again in Spring 2012.

  • Comment number 7.

    Great article. I say good luck to David and all the best to him in his new hollywood career. I hope he doesn't change his mind. I don't think he would beat Vitali, and there is no one else worth fighting, so there's no point. So many HW boxers went on too long like Holyfield and Frazier and they are now almost incomprehensible with brain damaged slurred speech. I'd hate that to happen to Haye. Haye himself said "at 31 I will have been hit in the face for 20 years and that's enough". That's fair enough! thanks for the memories and entertainment david - you were a great CW and had guts to step up to HW and face one of the Klitschkos.

  • Comment number 8.

    Haye certainly divides opinion! For me he was brave to step up into the heavyweight division knowing that he would always be out sized and he certainly showed that he was no push over. But the antics were just too much for me and I ended up wanting him to just shut up and get on with it rather than all the talk (but I do understand a lot of the brovado is necessery).

    I wish him well in retirement, I don't think this is the last we'll see of him (although I'd rather it was in the ring and not on the big screen) but I think he'll stick to his word and not step back into the ring. There are after all a lot of other ways to make money without getting your face pummeled by a 7ft ukrainien!

  • Comment number 9.

    #1 fatClyde

    I guess you don't read that many of Ben's blogs...

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    Judge Haye on his past behaviour. Have his actions met his words?

    I don't like the guy. Not my type of human being.

    BTW Haye's acting has always been of the ham variety. Wladimir is much more charming and charismatic than Haye and for a supposed robot would make a much better actor.

    Ben, the 'he only did it for the money' line is getting very old at this stage. The guy is dishonourable. Lots of boxers hammed it up to make money but few lied in the faces of the fans to the extent Haye did. I wonder if he took much advice from Audley when he was on the way up.

  • Comment number 12.

    f1fan2011 - Not sure I agree with you when you say he was far more accomplished than McGuigan. Yes, he unified the cruiserweight division, but the fact is he only had two world title fights at that weight, so I'm not sure you can call him a cruiserweight great. And no, he never claimed Harrison was any good, but what was Harrison doing anywhere near the same ring when Haye was supposedly set on building this great heavyweight legacy? We know it, you know it, the point is, lots of people were hoodwinked into thinking it was a decent match-up.

    sportingpunter - You appear to have missed the bit where I said his best work was down at cruiserweight. The thing is, he only had two world title fights at that weight. And, unfortunately, you have to evaluate his achievements as a heavyweight because of all the pronouncements he made about being the saviour of the division, which turned out to be wide of the mark.

    Strongback - My, what strong opinions you have. The 'only did it for the money line is getting very old'? I suggest you find another sport, almost every boxer fighting is only in it for the money.

  • Comment number 13.

    You know why Haye took the Harrison fight - because it had all the right ingredients, Olympic champ, redemption, destiny, needle and mostly cash - the one it didn't have was a competitive challenger but given Haye said it would be 'as one sided as..' not sure you can blame him for people being hoodwinked

    Haye was never going to build a legacy in the old fashioned sense - he said he would get in and get out. Of course it didn't quite work out but still...

    Champion at cruiser and HW - personally I think that deserves more respect than this article gives him. He got beat by a much bigger guy and would probably get beat by his brother too but there's no shame in that

  • Comment number 14.

    I think there's a bit of historical revisionism going on here. If you
    read this blog you might come away with the impression that the BBC were
    sceptical about the Harrison "fight" and realisitic about Klitschko
    neither of which was the case in the build up. Prior to the first
    Ordinary was portrayed as a potentially decent opponent and before the
    second the BBC was littered with puff pieces talking Haye up. I was
    unconvinced by both positions and was proved right. That's not a boast,
    I don't know a huge amount about boxing and I'm no soothsayer but it
    seemed so blindingly obvious to me that Fraudley was a bum and Wlad was
    going to stroll it that I have a hard time believing bona fide boxing
    experts were ignorant of the facts. What I think reflects very badly on
    the BBC is that their coverage conveniently ignored reality; both fights
    were presented as genuine contests and as a result I reckon more than a
    few people stumped up for pay per view and were rewarded with two
    absolute stinkers. Cheer leading for the benefit of Sky is not the
    behaviour I expect of our national broadcaster. I like Ben Dirs writing
    and he seems like a decent guy to me, loves cricket, really knows his
    boxing, likes a beer and a fag, but the way his employer built up Haye's
    last two fights leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

  • Comment number 15.

    Ben, I dislike Haye and al his mouthing off but for someone (a boxing journo) to say Mcguigan is more accomplished than Haye is Ludicrous. Not only did Haye Unify his division in style and knock out Macnarelli (who was the golden boy in that fight and the pundits pick)he could probably go back down and do it again.
    Instead he moved up to 'no weight limits' and Won a heavyweight belt against someone a lot taller and in comparison at least 5 weight divisions heavier.

    Sure he duped people with Harrison but still got in the ring with Klitschko despite the amount of heavyweights who didn't want to fight klitschko.

    Mcguigan however has always that mark of level of competition he fought and compared to Haye it isn't even close. He wouldn't Fight Azumah Nelson and was stopped by Jim Mcdonnell (HARDLY vLADIMIR)

    So all that said if Barry is a HOF'er so is Haye. Maybe David Hayes mouth has blinded you from his actual skill.

  • Comment number 16.

    True but only to an extent. The beauty of boxing, especially at HW is the unpredictable, the sport's littered with single punches which have turned the form book on its head. What if Harrison could have landed a decent punch, same for Haye against Klitschko....

  • Comment number 17.

    P_RichardStroker - No, no, no, no... I think it is your history that is revisionist - "Prior to the first, Ordinary was portrayed as a potentially decent opponent and before the second the BBC was littered with puff pieces talking Haye up."

    Perhaps you should read the following blogs I wrote before both fights and then maybe come back to me. Here are a couple of tasters: On Haye-Harrison: "In my last blog I said this is a fight that makes perfect sense. It does, but that is not the same as saying it will be a decent fight." And on Haye-Klitschko: "If you are a [Haye] fan, hope he rips Wladimir's head off early - because, if it goes beyond four rounds, Wladimir will drag him out to sea and drown him." Amazing how people remember only what they want to remember...

  • Comment number 18.

    TEXFITS - People are talking about Haye as if he was some kind of cruiserweight legend. Yes, he was excellent in defeating Mormeck, but as I keep on saying, he only had two world title fights as a cruiser and Maccarinelli will hardly go down as one of the greats, however puffed up he was at the time. McGuigan, meanwhile, beat Juan La Porte on the way up - this is a man who went 15 rounds with Salvador Sanchez, 15 rounds with a peak Eusebio Pedroza, 12 with Wilfredo Gomez and would go 12 with Chavez and 12 with Nelson. This is proper company he was keeping. Yeh, McGuigan never fought Nelson, but by the same token, Haye didn't exactly wade his way through hall-of-famers during his career, either.

  • Comment number 19.

    So, Haye has retired - good business decision - his stock is low, he knows Klitchco a or b would humiliate him again. Time to head off, go acting (!) then if that doesn't pan out, come back to boxing in 2-3 years when K a&b are retired or seriously sliding. He'll have something to sell then - saviour/bring it back to Britain/revenge/haven't you forgotten how I got dismatled last time/my supertrainer ABooth will get me sorted so lets documentary my phoenix like rise.

    Sad but true. My view is that DH was a good, not memorable cruiserweight, a small heavyweight who had the good fortune to be in a low point for heavyweight boxing.

    Unfortunately there is an argument that he is reflective of his time- brash, tactless, media hungry and what used to be called an advertising puff - a series of unprovable meaningless words use to sell something. It was all about the money and the ego. If he comes back/is persuaded by a selection of chosen luminaries to do then it will all be about the money and the ego.

  • Comment number 20.

    so haye retired but says hopes for a klitchko fight are slim? wait a minute..... that doesnt sound like a proper retirement, i think its just a long break untill the v.klit fight is a actuall probability then he will jump out of retirement and all that nonsense will make the match generate a few million more

    i hope vitali calls his bluff and just ignores him now and moves on, haye acts as if he's the only fighter who is a credible opponent for the klitchko's just because he was a cruserweight champ and held one of the alphabet belts. Haye had a very good career but imo he should just stick with his retirement and sail off into the sunset

    hey ben any chance of a blog about froch's super 6 fight coming up mate, he like always get shafted on here by blohgs about haye and khan

  • Comment number 21.


    In the fight game there is a distinction between being only in it for the money and behaving the way Haye did.

    Take a look at some of the famous Lips, Ali, Ray Leonard, Holmes or in Britain Eubank. They all hyped fights up to earn more money but they put on a show whether they won or lost. Haye talked the talk but didn't even crawl the crawl.

    That is the difference. Haye will be remembered most for the Wlad fight a performance so poor, considering his prior boasts, that his legacy is irreparably damaged.

    No amount of money can buy credibility. Money also doesn't last forever particularly in boxers hands. We are all men and even Buddists struggle there whole life to escape their pride. Haye will live to regret his behaviour and performance. A credible attempt against Vitali might help him live with himself.

    If you want to see rich, unhappy and unfulfilled look no further than the dynamite little fighter from Sheffield that went out on a whimper and thereafter lived the dream of a comeback.

    In the work I do I meet a lot of millionaires and most have a massive need to be loved. Our egos are ever present. It's never ever only about the money.

    BTW my opinions aren't really that strong, I was just trying to liven up the thread.

  • Comment number 22.

    I for one have was a Haye fan, although do believe his promotional skills dare I say it were not put to best use for the Klit fight. I think he went overboard with the whole decapitation/ delayed ring walk etc in the hope that Wlad would come out abit rash and leave himself exposed to a potential Hayemaker. However, as we all observed, Wlad is a cool customer on the biggest stage.

    I think the fact Haye came in the lightest he ever did at Heavy was abit foolish, and I understand he thought speed was his biggest weapon against Wlad, but this lack of weight was obvious in the clinches. Understandable, Wlad is the natural heavy and a bigger guy. But I can't help but feel had Haye come in around that 16 stone mark the strength differential wouldn't have been so evident.

    In fairness, Wlad was always in control of the fight. But, even at the weight Haye cam in, he had Wlad hold on once or twice because of the sting David possesses in those hands. I'm not saying it would have made a difference to the outcome of the fight, but I would have liked Haye to have come in heavier, because the reflexes and speed would still have been there. He got hit by some of Wlads biggest shots and to his credit took them very well. Let's be fair, we are not even taking about a small guy, he's 6 ft 3 solid, I'm sure he could carry 16 stone very easily in the heavyweight division. Tyson all be it a different beast was 5 ft 10, now that is a small heavyweight and he didn't do too badly with all out aggression.

  • Comment number 23.

    That’s fair enough Ben but it was the totality of the BBC coverage that bothered me rather than specifically your output. Prior to the Klitschko fight Haye was in receipt of, what seemed to me, an indecent amount of hype. One piece that particularly sticks in my mind was an opinions column where a dozen or so boxers and commentators solemnly predicted a Haye win with Frank Warren being the only hold out but there was plenty more besides, anyone with anything decent to say about Haye’s chances seemed to warrant an article. I know lots of the British media indulged in similar fripperies and if the BBC hadn’t joined in they would have been accused of lacking a properly patriotic fervour but a bit more objectivity would have been welcome.

  • Comment number 24.

    Boxing is one of the few sports where that unless you've laced on gloves, climbed through ropes and sweated then you should hold back on any criticism of any other fighter. You're not relying on team mates, or a car, you're on your own.

    As for Haye, for a brief time, he livened up the HW scene in the UK and made a HW fight (for once) worth a watch to see what happened. I rarely watch HW fights, they just don't entertain me like others, but Haye had me watching. There's little else out there atm that have me watching it again anytime soon.

  • Comment number 25.

    Haye was a decent fighter at cruiser and heavy, but he was no great. He was a maverick and left his promoters early on, therefore needing to create his own hype and buzz around himself.

    The media circus that surrounded him was of his own doing, and the media were to quick to say that he was a legend in the making.

    Fair enough with the victory over Mormeck, and a good win against a very one dimensional Valuev. Followed by an impressive performance against an "over the hill" Ruiz. None of these very really that inspirational and the plaudits he received were maybe a bit premature as I felt he hasn't really been tested yet.

    Monte Barrett, Tomasz Bonin, Ismail Abdoul? Does anyone remember these fights against weak opponents. I think the answer is no and why because neither fighter in the ring was anything special.

    He did very well to learn from the Thompson fight and come back stronger. But he came up short in the defining fight against Klitschko, and I think would have benefited more from taking out some more heavyweights on the way to Wladimir.

    I would have liked to see him defeat Povetkin, Chagaev, and maybe Helenius before taking on both Klitschkos, but he fast tracked his career for money and got found out on the big stage.

  • Comment number 26.

    Don't think that Haye is anywhere near a HOF'er - barely made a dent in either division when analysing vs. history.

    I have however, thoroughly enjoyed following his career and fights, and rather enjoyed his tasteless antics outside the ring. I don't follow boxing because they are my 'type of human beings' that's for sure.

    I think retirement is 100% the correct decision. The Vitali fight would go the same way as Wladimir in my opinion, and knocking out the best of the rest would mean nothing really.

    Thanks for the wonderful entertainment David. I'll probably skip the films though.

  • Comment number 27.

    @25 I remember the Monte Barrett fight thanks to his fall when trying to jump over the ropes - priceless.

  • Comment number 28.

    The truth is Haye couldn't really win. If he'd beaten WK, then WK would have been called a bum and when he lost Haye was called one. Apart from Lewis obviously, I reckon was as good as / better than any UK heavyweight since...well a damn long time...and that's not even taking into account what he did at Cruiser

  • Comment number 29.

    @27 Indeed, that was brilliant. I love the fact the he bounced straight back up and started strutting like it was all in the program. Defeated before the fight had started.

  • Comment number 30.

    Hye isn't a great in any division, at cruiser weight he ruled the roost because it was a poor division so he decided to move up to heavyweight to improve his money/profile and beat second rate challengers to get his way to valuev (who isn't as great as people think anyway) then his mouth got him into the Klitchko fight were he was well and truly outclassed and embarrassed beyond belief.
    Broken toe, don't make me laugh, he spend the entire fight running away, how Adam Booth can say he's a great and in the same class as holyfield is an absolute joke, do us all a favour David and stick to your word and retire, at least we won't have to listen to your constant drivvle on the tele.

  • Comment number 31.

    #4 and #5 are right (I didnt read on)

    Haye was a cruiserweiight ad showed be judged there. And he was pretty good there. However he didnt stay long enough to have built the reputation he talks of.

    I actually think Haye deeply lacks confidence which could see him want to return but I don't think he will. He knows he had his shot and the fact that he couldn't do it will haunt him. He is smart-ish though so I dont think he will be back unless the Klitschkos retire very soon and leave a gulf. But even then he'll be dismissed as opportunists.

  • Comment number 32.

    David Haye is a b-u-m he ran away from Valuev and managed to get a lucky jab whilst running past, he stole a victory against Harrison when Audley clearly had him rattled with that left hook and after all the big talk about Klitchko he didnt even throw a punch.......................loser!

  • Comment number 33.

    What does everyone think of the current trend of Golfer using Belly Putters? Ernie Els has started to use on now. I think its a disgrace.

  • Comment number 34.

    @33 I too think its a disgrace to use a putter in boxing, you lost?

  • Comment number 35.

    Enough about Haye. Mr Dirs, I demand an update on your physical status now that several months have passed since 'Mission Impossible'.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't agree with coward fighters in boxing
    and i don't agree with belly putters in golf
    i bet David Haye uses a belly putter

  • Comment number 37.

    Ok, I will do my best to make this as objective as possible.

    Despite the way that Haye has gone out on a whimper, I have throughly enjoyed his career and his fights, I admired him immensly in the early stages of his career as when compared to say Calzaghe who took 40+ fights and 11 years to become a two weight world champion, Haye's career path looked almost reckless taking on Carl Thompson in only his 9th fight and becoming undisputed champion in less than 25 fights.

    He was outspoken, blunt, and he said what a lot of us felt regarding the heavyweight division and how poor it was, I've yet to hear the K Brothers tell us how poor the division is.

    I started to go off Haye as he began to said more and more unpleasent things, it's one thing saying you are going to knock someone out, but saying "you'll be visiting your brother in hospitial" is tad overboard.

    However my biggest disappointment with Haye is not the words he used, nor the fact he is "retiring" at an age where Heavyweights usually haven't peaked yet, my disappointment comes from the fact that for all his bluster, bold statements and promises he didn't go out on his shield against WK, if he had gone down swinging, no-one would be that critical of him as at least he tried. But the manner of his defeat after how all the hype leaves me, and I'm sure others with a nasty taste in the mouth.

    When you consider how few fights he had, he has acheived a remarkable amount, and Haye strikes me as someone who doesn't love boxing, almost as if he has been using it as a platform for something else. Whether that is acting remains to be seen.

    But I have nothing for respect for the guy, he took us on a ride despite the fact it came to a disappointing end, and lets lay off Ben Dirs as Boxing fans are already getting a raw deal what with every half decent fight being Box office despite the Sky fee we all already pay.

    I'm just happy that Ben has allowed us a platform when we can comment on Hayes retirement.

  • Comment number 38.

    Haye'd wait for the Klitchsko brothers to get a few years older, and slower probably, then comes back?

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with everything post #37 has said. I'm so narked about Haye because when he burst on the scene i thought we had one to cherish, but it turns out he was a fraud in my eyes and all he was doing was raising his profile to move onto bigger and better things as he's 'done' boxing whats 'next'.
    That Klitchko fight, after everything he'd said and done beforehand, was purely embarrassing and at the end of the fight it was wrote all over his face, he knew he'd let his fans down and lost without even swinging a decent punch.
    He is retiring due to shame.

  • Comment number 40.

    David Haye fought like a scared child in his last fight. Pure embarressment. He should be ashamed of himslef and his legacy. If he was a golfer he would have 14 Belly Putters in his bag. What a loser.

  • Comment number 41.

    I wasn't a fan of either Klitchsko prior to the Haye fight with Wladimir - The way Wlad behaved in the lead up to the Haye fight (in the face of all that provocation) was an example to everyone. Both of the brothers come across as extremely decent guys with a decent amount of ability.
    I still don't agree with the fights they take/are given but you can only beat what's put in front of you.

  • Comment number 42.

    @41 I have to agree. My respect for Wlad just grew and grew as the saga went on. He was very gracious at all times. I do however, feel that he hasn't been tested properly in the last 5 years. Haye was the best person to put up a challenge but he failed to do so. I think although Wlad and Vitali haven't faced anyone of any skills for years now, they are as good as people say they are. Only Lewis has made either of them look out of their depth, and I dont think there is anyone in the division that could do that now.

  • Comment number 43.

    The only problem i have with Klitchko, is that he needs to grow a moustache to be up there with the greats

  • Comment number 44.

    haye is an insult to those greats who gave folk there money's worth and fought on til they could no more. that's real legend's

  • Comment number 45.

    22 "He has had a very good career and should be remember as a great British boxer."

    Haye was a great Cruiserweight, but not up to it as a heavyweight. As a heavyweight he will be remembered for talking a better fight than he could deliver. That and blaming his last defeat on a sore toe.

  • Comment number 46.

    Barry Mcguigan would of never blamed a sore toe for a defeat, and he also had a fine moustache.

  • Comment number 47.

    Actually Ben thats not true - he had 4 championship fights at CW ... Carl Thompson was the first when he got stopped late on. He learnt from that and trained harder to come back and unify the division. Of course he does not have the same record as Calzaghe or Froch but I put him ahead of lets say, Frank Bruno who was a serial championship loser, (apart from once), and we all loved old Frank.

  • Comment number 48.

    Usual high quality, well argued, balanced blog Ben - and the usual drivel of abuse from people who haven't even bothered to read the piece properly.

    This blog and feedback format continues to provide me with endless fascination about the canyon that exists between what is written, and what people read.

    Haye saw a commercial opportunity to make money - end of story. And who can blame him, although he chose a slightly controversial PR/promotional strategy

    From a purists' sporting perspective, the simple truth as an athlete is that your legacy as a performer is only ever as good as the quality of your opposition. It seems to me that Haye had no opponents at cruiser, hence the step up (big step) to Heavy, where the only opposition was either absolute rubbish (Harrison) or far too good (Klischkos).

    I think he did the best he could with what he had.

  • Comment number 49.

    Quick_single - what are your views on multicoloured boxing gloves? I think they should just be red or possibly blue if fighting in Russia, none of this yellow or green rubbish?

  • Comment number 50.

    Depends on whether the boxer has a moustache...

  • Comment number 51.

    I'd love to see the Klitschko brothers fight each other. Who is the harder brother? I think Vitali would win.

  • Comment number 52.

    The problem with Haye is the time limit he set himself. Wanting to retire before 31 meant he had to do things quickly. He could have been a legendary cruiser weight but wanted to step up to heavy weight, and because of the years left he had to do it quickly.

    If he didn't have the time limit he could have spent a few years at cruiser weight, dominated the division, gained experience against world class fighters and then moved up. He would then have the experience to fight world class heavy weights like WK and VK, instead he was just a boy fighting a man's game.

    The Klischkos are another example of how many boxers, especially heavy weights, reach their peaks in their 30s. Haye was too set on retiring, and all he ever cared about was making the money to retire by that age. Boxing Hall of Fame? I was shocked was he was nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

  • Comment number 53.


    ''Only Lewis has made either of them look out of their depth,''

    Hate to be picky but Lewis only fought Vitali, and while he won the fight via TKO because of a cut, Klitschko was leading 58–56 on all three judges' scorecards when the fight was stopped.

  • Comment number 54.

    @53 Arguable true, but in my recollection; Vitali got the upper hand early on by hurting Lewis in round 2. But Lewis cut him in the third, the fourth was quite even. Then Lewis took control in the fifth and sixth, and the doctor stopped it early in the seventh.

    So yes, Vitali was ahead on the scorecards but had just lost two rounds in a row, and was looking very worse for wear when the doctor ruled he could not continue.

  • Comment number 55.

    @53 And furthermore, either of them does not mean both. If I meant both of them, I would have said it.

  • Comment number 56.

    So what he is saying is, if wlad gave him a rematch with a good cheque then he would come out of retirement, well why not just take on vitali with a good cheque or does he know that vitali is different beast unlike little brother.

  • Comment number 57.

    the Lewis Vitali fight was a very very close one, Big Bro certainly did not look 'out of his depth'.

  • Comment number 58.

    Good work Ben, keep the boxing blogs coming.
    First up I feel Haye had earned the right and more importantly the cash to make this call but I do feel he should have gone on. Ok, he came up short against Wlad and will be remembered as David Hype by some but he had good options to continue. Why not re-establish as the best domestically, knock-over the likes of Chris Arreola and build up to another go at the Klits? Of course he would be un-fancied but he carries at least a puncher's chance against any heavyweight (toes permitting), which makes him dangerous.
    The other thing is, when did 31 become such a milestone? 30 yes or perhaps even 30/40/50 fights but to retire on turning 31 is all a bit bonkers to me. As for future, I can see him back on TV in a couple of years either in a bad movie, 'competing' in SCD or calling out the Klits...

  • Comment number 59.

  • Comment number 60.


    I presume you mean neither instead of either, then. Easy to miss off that 'n' I suppose.

  • Comment number 61.

    "challenged" perhaps, and i'd agree that other than Haye neither has been challenged at heavyweight really.

    Not their fault though, they are just far too talented for their era. In my opinion prime versions of both brothers could compete with the very best of any era at HW. (before people cry about this please read that I said compete, not win all of their fights in the world ever against anyone in history)

  • Comment number 62.

    @60 Also easy to patronise anonymously on the internet.

  • Comment number 63.

    On that my anonymous friend, I certainly agree. Let us not bicker. It's Friday. :)

  • Comment number 64.

    Agreed, my wording might have led some to believe that the fight was one sided. I remember it well. If anything, it was the first time Lewis or Vitali had really been rocked. Granted Rahman and McCall before that had beaten Lewis. In Rahman's case, it was a hell of a punch but thats all he could offer - a cracking punch. And the McCall win was a cracking combination, but offered little else in the short fight.

  • Comment number 65.

    Vitali had not been tested before the Lewis fight, and maybe its hindsight or maybe its bias, but I think Lewis would have won over twelve rounds. Just my opinion, and I guess we'll never know. The facts remain though, Lewis won by TKO.

  • Comment number 66.

    Indeed! I do hate it when people insinuate because Vitali was winning on points that means he was better than Lewis or would have beaten him over 12. The fact is, he lost!

    I guess we're slightly off point so to being it back I would say David Haye would not beat either.

  • Comment number 67.

    @66 Completely agree. Vitali and Lewis would be too much for Haye. Granted Haye had a broken toe, but I'm not buying it. Wladimir was supposed to have a "glass chin" and was supposedly a "knockout waiting to happen", but Haye couldn't get near him. I don't think Haye would have been or is too keen on a rematch, because I think he feels, as do I, that he wouldn't beat him in a month of Sundays.

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree, Haye had little more than a punchers chance against either Klitschko, which comes nicely back to what Ben said about Haye needing a KO within four. Knows what he's talking about sometimes, that Dirs chap.

  • Comment number 69.

    @68 Definitely, isn't it pleasant when we all agree ;)

    Haye vs Klitschko reminded me of Tua vs Lewis.

    You always felt that Lewis was going to stick it out and win if he fought his fight, but if he tried to stand toe to toe with Tua then it could have been a different night altogether. But again, we felt Tua, like Haye was always one punch away from victory, if only he could have landed it.

  • Comment number 70.

    I've heard on good authority that haye has signed a deal with WWE, to become a wrestler! He will be called the colonel and his special move will be the chicken wing.

  • Comment number 71.

    @70 Surely David "the Toebreaker" Haye would be a better nickname.... of course his special move could be "the toe-breaker" now that we know how much it hinders your ability inside a ring.....

    Kidding aside, I don't want to get to the point when I'm mocking Haye, if this is it, then he walks away from his job with millions in the bank, his health and his family.

    And lets be honest, thats the dream for all of us.

  • Comment number 72.

    Ruslan Chagaev and Kali Meehan had a WBA Eliminator to fight for Hayes belt and then he ended up defending it against Audley Harrison, how does that come about?

  • Comment number 73.

    @72 This is because Chagaev poses massive problems as he had Hepatits B and the BBBC will not sanction a fight in the UK because of his medical history.

    Therefore, the WBA would have had to have it at a neutral venue on which neither party could agree.

    There were consultations and negotiations but they continuously broke down, much like Klitschko and Haye did on a number of occasions.

  • Comment number 74.

    An arrogant, conceited loud-mouth whose embarrassing defeat against Klitschko warmed the hearts of the UK boxing public. Good Riddance Haye and don't come back.

  • Comment number 75.

    the english public are the most hypocritical of all boxing fans bar none, the guys who rip haye to pieces say they hate his trash talking and arrogance same as hamed and eubank but these are the same jokers who probably have mohammed ali posters on their walls and will never say a bad thing about him(the most arrogant fighter and the biggest trash talker in boxing history), strange

  • Comment number 76.

    Thanks adam I had been asking that question for a while

  • Comment number 77.

    @76 You're welcome. I have to agree, as it was a fight I was looking forward to, also thought a fight with Povetkin was on the cards too. And that would have been quite good too. I would also have like to see Haye vs Solis and Haye vs Peter, but Haye went for the pay day rather than the legacy.

  • Comment number 78.

    From the bottom of my heart I hope Haye stay well away from boxing. Is that a bit on the harsh side? No, I'd argue not as the man's behaviour has been appalling over the last few years. The way he lauds himself to the heavens and the manner in which he belittles his opponents gives you an insight it how arrogant at heart he is. Whenever he's interviewed he can't help himself. Even when he's giving us his predictions for the future of heavy weight boxing – a weight he made little of no impact in, he can't control his tongue. The man was totally dominated by Wladimir and yet still he can't bring himself to admit he wasn't good enough. Incidentally, he broken toe excuse was embarrassing.
    It's a real shame his talent went to his head as when I first saw him as a cruiser weight I thought 'Oh-er, he's a bit good' and I was over the moon to have such a massive, massive talent hailing from our shores. Then I got completely wrapped up in Hatton and his climb to the top and Haye disappeared left my radar for a while. Then eventually I switched back to Haye, I wish I hadn't as his endless stream self aggrandizing rhetoric made me reach for the power button.


    Ps, to those who'll defend Haye's actions and argue he was only selling his next fight; the man only ever talks about himself and is never, ever gracious regardless whether a fight is on the cards or not

  • Comment number 79.

    McGiugan had 1 championship fight against an ageing Pedroza. He lost to a relative nobody, Steve Cruz, in his first defence and after that was shot. Agree he had some good fights before but if you compare Championship record to record it does not stack up against Haye. That said, I hope Haye stays retires. The fights I am looking forward to are Froch-Ward .... if Froch fights like he did vs Arthur Abraham then he will be Super 6 champ. After that, Khan-Mayweather. That would be a cracker.

  • Comment number 80.

    As a man of strong morals, I find it hard to focus on Haye's boxing career highs and lows when I am just so distracted by what a classless man he really is. Im surprised the manner of his defeat was not mentioned in this article Ben i.e. the "Broken Toe" scandal and that not only did he lose in his overhyped apparently final performance, but he did it in such a shameful way possible, robbing the public of what he promised them.

    He was clearly rattled after the bout and his chat with the media was like nails on a chalk board but I gave him a degree of the benefit of the doubt having been put on the spot and thoroughly stunned.

    Instead in the post fight press conference he actually went as far as to wear flip flops to make sure everyone saw his broken toe.

    Putting aside the lies he put on for the punters about how he would murder Vladamir which turned out to be just that given his toe revelations he admitted had been a concern for weeks, to have such little honour as to basiaclly blame everything on that was beyond words.

    In short, I think he's a joke of a man with absolutely no moral fibre or care about anything but money and fame. The fact he sees himself as an actor now only puts more weight to the stereotype I have for people like him that he never really was a boxer, but just an attention seeker and fighting happened to be the way he got it.

    Mark my words, you will see him prancing about like Gavin Henson on Strictly Come Dancing sometime soon, clining on to some form of fame at any price.

    Thats the make up of the man and I for one would love him to come back to get absolutely humiliated by Vitali Klitschko.

  • Comment number 81.

    I have to say all this talk of "lies to the punters" and "just fought for a pay day" is soooo boring..get a life guys, nobody forced anyone to watch Haye's fights, the so called hype is all a bit of fun.

    Haye probably believed he had a chance, maybe a small chance, but at least he put himself out there, Wlad was the classier boxer on the night, simple as and both deserve the money they got because they promised a fight night and that is what people got.

    As for the Harrison fight, there is no way Haye was to know that Harrison would only land one punch, Harrison was in with bigger British heavies such as Williams and Sprott and did better in those fights.

    I for one would welcome the chance to watch and support Haye against Vitali, and even though Vitali would be odds on favourite, Haye would have an outside chance as Sport does throw up shocks from time to time.

    Haye was a decent Cruiserweight and held a Heavy Weight Title, not a bad career, he himself will now he hasn't achieved what say Calzaghe/Hatton achieved or what Khan will probably do, but then it isn't necessarily over.

  • Comment number 82.

    I agree the Wlad - Lewis was close. I had Wlad leading and it was clear from RD2/3 that Lewis hadnt trained for this. His heart wasn't in it. He made the right decision retiring.

    And I second the request for a Ben Dirs physical update?

  • Comment number 83.

    I'll add this; Haye is known beyond boxing which is a lot more than the SKY based boxers are. Unfortunately he might not be known for the best things. I hope his 'acting career' goes well. I doubt it will. Though he could find a career in the profession of his first TV girl if anyone remembers that......;)

  • Comment number 84.

    I'm wondering if I was a touch hard on Haye. He's just a bloke like all of us - women excluded, obviously, and we all make mistakes. As much as it grated on my nerves when he would refer to himself as an athlete rather than a boxer, as if being an athlete made him somehow better than his peers and that he was a touch too much in love with his media image and the pursuit of fame, he did and still does possess an enormous amount of talent.

    I've said it before in blogs that Wladimir is the better boxer than his brother, but Vitali is the much better fighter. With Vlad's defensive skills, long reach and knock out power, David wouldn't be able to make much of a dent and I fear he'd be bullied for eight to ten rounds before being ultimately beaten. Well, if Vlad did what he promised, which was to knock out Haye, and came in looking to stop Haye quickly rather than softening him up, then it'd be over within four rounds.


  • Comment number 85.

    @78 Haye vs Adamek was the fight I was hoping for but I knew it was never going to happen

  • Comment number 86.

    What a rubbish blog, tabloid journalism at it's worse.

    Haye was disappointing in his last fight but anyone expecting him to go toe to toe in that fight is bonkers.

    Haye will be remembered as very good fighter that wasn't quite big enough to beat the very best heavyweights, there's no shame in that.

  • Comment number 87.

    It is professional boxing, money talks, as Tyson said he could sell out Madison Square Garden doing 'something unmentionable' to himself, this statement made when Tyson was being paid mega dollars even when consistently losing.

    Haye was a World Champion at 2 weights, he was not a small Heavyweight if compared to past Heavyweight Champions, be it Fitzsimmons weighing less than 12 stones, to Burns who was only 5ft7 tall, Ali only weighed the same as Haye or less when he won the title, and Marciano, Dempsey, Johnson etc all were much smaller.
    it is only in comparison to the present crop of behemoths that size differential is evident.

    Verbosity sells fights, without the 'Louisville Lip' the interest in Heavyweight boxing and the money would not have been in the Heavy division to level it was.

    Hayes actions did not match his words when he actually entered the squared circle with Wladimir, but same can be said of many boxers but that did not stop them making a lot of money in later bouts.

    Haye still would bring too much to the table for most of the present crop of Heavyweights, so if he fights on then fair play to him.

    A loss to a 'K' brother does not stop other fighters continuing so IF Haye continues there is still lot of money to be made.

  • Comment number 88.

    Haye has stated that he's not renewing his boxing licence - to me that's about as final as it gets, and he's merely keeping faith with his earlier statements on retirement. Although he was a bit older, when Lennox Lewis retired he retired for good, and there were no comebacks. Haye clearly doesn't see himself as another Evander Holyfield or Bernard Hopkins, who continue to fight because that's just what they do and what they have always wanted to do.

    Despite all of the hype that accompanied Haye once he reached championship level, he was one of the best British fighters in recent years, and I saw him box in the early days when he appeared at Reading, Bracknell and Brentford. As a consequence of his high media profile he also guaranteed a certain level of coverage for the heavyweight division and good paydays for his opponents...

  • Comment number 89.

    Curious thing with Haye is his abillity to retire at 31 is largely down to his Audleyesque ability to sell a fight (while delivering a lot more it should be said. This can of course mean that people only remember his career for one significant moment (in this case the Klitschko fight) rather than in its totality, but if one looks at the speed with which Haye took on all comers (contrast that with Hatton, who was something like 40-0 before he fought Kosta - thanks a bunch Frank Warren) there's a lot to like about his attitude.

    Thompson in his 9th fight, guys like Gurov and Frogomeni - no safe WBO route for Haye, was there?

    Mormeck in France was a quality win against the linear champion after being decked. Enzo was over-rated, no argument there. Getting the nod against a German based fighter over there is never easy, especially when he's a foot taller and seven stone heavier than you. Ruiz was a mandatory and Haye took him out. God knows what we make of the Harrison fight, but methinks that might have damaged his credibility more than anything else. Would be interested in knowing if how many on here think it was fixed (not saying that it was by the way, in case the legal people are anxious).

    There was a lot of feeling after that fight that BOTH men had ripped off the public, though since Audley-bashing is a national sport, the spotlight fell on him. Ultimately he wasn't seasoned or experienced enough for Wladimir and may ultimately never have been good enough, but I hope history does his real achievements the justice they deserve. By no means a great fighter, but certainly a very good one.

  • Comment number 90.

    I have only recently become interested in boxing, say the last 4 or 5 years. I have always had a passing interest but now I watch it whenever I can and david haye has been a big part of this. You cannot criticise the way he has brought interest back to the heavyweight division which unfortunately has no challenges apart from the 2 klitschko brothers. I would like to see tyson fury take on one of the klitschos as he may stand a genuine chance, haye never did.

    My knowledge may not be as good as some of you but I am led to believe a 2 stone weight disadvantage is just too much and is the main reason why haye lost. I felt let down by him as I am one of thoose who did believe all his hype. I think he is very clever, he managed to convince people he had a real chance, many so called experts even saying he would win. I think he will return to the ring to face vitali, it makes so much sense for both as it will be a massive payday. The bad part is i can't make any case for haye to win I think the only difference will be a knockout.

    Talking about the haye-harrison fight I think it suited both fighters. Harrison made a reported 1.5 milion for just taking a few hard punches. Haye on the other hand was able to show klitscho how much money he could make from british box office even against someone who should have retired 5 years ago. Haye used this fight to get wlad to agree to a 50-50 split and I think this retirement is just a way to try and force vitali into a similar agreement.

  • Comment number 91.

    It speaks volumes about Haye the man, that he is happily willing to walk away from the sport after such a diabolical performance in the biggest fight of his career that he had talked up for 2 years.

    Haye just ran or fell over all night, he was so scared of taking a punch, which obviously proved what the Carl Thompson defeat did to him.

    Haye duped the British public, including me.

    He is way below Bruno, Naz, Khan, Calzaghe and Hatton as a modern Britsh great. He is in the league of Witter, Clinton Woods, and Johnny Nelson. How he duped us is pretty unbelievable.

    He will be forever known as the Great British Hype.

  • Comment number 92.

    My final thought on Haye announcing his retirement is that he will leave quite a hole to fill in the heavyweight division at both domestic and world level. I'm aware of Derek Chisora and Tyson Fury, but am not sure who else there is coming through without picking up a magazine.

    At world level there are many relatively obscure contenders competing for a shot at the Klitschko brothers, but many have already had their turn and lack the box-office potential of Haye...


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