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Haye v Harrison makes perfect sense

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Ben Dirs | 15:25 UK time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

There are those who think a boxer's primary consideration is to appear credible in the eyes of the public, whereas in fact a boxer's primary consideration is to make as much money as possible before getting out, hopefully with all their faculties intact.

That's a boxer's prerogative - they're the ones putting their lives on the line in the ring.

It just so happens the big-money fights are usually the big-risk fights - and therefore the fights the fans want to see. But, occasionally, a boxer will be offered the chance to make a stack of cash at what he deems to be a reduced risk. And, frankly, he would be mad not to take it, regardless of what some of the fans might think.

Which is why David Haye's decision to defend his WBA heavyweight crown against Audley Harrison made perfect sense. There is little point fighting top-10 but little-known fighters such as Ruslan Chagaev or Alexander Povetkin when you know you can pack out a 20,000-seat arena and make millions via pay-per-view instead.

"It won't do anything for my credibility but it will bring a lot of people on board," Haye, who is making the second defence of his title on Saturday, told BBC Sport. Added Harrison: "We're both high-profile fighters, it's two British guys fighting for the heavyweight world championship, the biggest fight in Britain since Frank Bruno-Lennox Lewis."

David Haye and Audley Harrison


Haye realises he is not everybody's cup of tea. There are those who think he is a cocky so-and-so and there are those who feel betrayed he is fighting Harrison instead of Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko, although Haye claims the Klitschkos are to blame. Still, he is savvy enough to embrace - and make a mint from - the negativity.

"I actually like it [the criticism from fans], it makes me laugh," said the 30-year-old Haye. "I'd rather there are people out there who hate me than don't care at all. If someone doesn't care either way, they're not going to watch you fight. People used to pay to see Chris Eubank lose and he was laughing all the way to the bank.

"Some people hate Audley and some people like him but people want to see him fight one way or the other. People will pay hard-earned money to see either one of us get a beating."

Harrison, just turned 39, is not so self-aware, claiming he is winning the British public over, that his story is "building to a crescendo" and that it "resonates with the people". A cursory glance at various boxing messageboards reveals this to be wishful thinking: 'Fraudley' or 'Audrey' or 'A-Farce' - or whatever his detractors are calling him on any given day - may have landed a world title shot but he remains a figure of fun to many.

While it is sad to see a former Olympic champion lampooned in this way, it is understandable. There have been too many unfulfilled promises, too many false dawns. Witness his boast after beating Danny Williams in 2006: "In 2007, I will win the world title, In 2008, I will be undisputed. I have definitely got the skills." Two months later, he was knocked out by Reading's Michael Sprott. When Harrison says he will "school Haye in the art of boxing", it is no wonder people don't believe him.

Harrison, who has lost four of his 31 fights, is also fond of contrasting what he perceives to be his hard-won humility with the ego of Haye. "I've got compassion for David Haye," said Harrison, "because his ego is way out there like mine was back in the day." Yet there is nothing humble about turning up an hour late for a media engagement, as Harrison did last week, particularly when you turn up with a six-man entourage in tow.

And there is nothing humble in claiming, as he frequently does, he has God in his corner, that everything that has happened in his career to date - the four devastating defeats, his career-salvaging victory in last year's Prizefighter tournament - was pre-ordained by some higher force. "I don't think God gets too involved in boxing matches," sniffs Haye, "not unless he's got a bet on it."

What Harrison forgets is that, whether fans find it edifying or not, Haye has reason to be bombastic. He is, after all, the owner of the WBA belt and a former undisputed cruiserweight champion. Harrison, in contrast, took nine years to secure his first pro title of any value, the European belt he won with a last-gasp knockout of Sprott in a rematch in April, having been behind on all three judges' scorecards.

All of which helps explain why Haye is hated by some and Harrison is pitied by many - that's the difference between perceived arrogance and delusion.

Add the hate and pity to plenty of genuine respect for anyone who climbs into a ring and it all amounts to a fight an awful lot of people will pay to see - and that's the bottom line.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out, as well as when I'm about, at http://twitter.com/bendirs1 

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Testing, testing, one-two, one-two...

  • Comment number 2.

    I've been telling my mates this for weeks

  • Comment number 3.

    Ben you feeling neglected?

    As for the fight, on paper should be a Haye win comfortably by KO prob in early to mid rounds 4,5,6 but boxing can be a cruel mistress.

    Harrision has the potential to cause an upset, he's tall, has power but he needs to be mentally in the right place, is he? Doubt it seems to enjoy the trash talk more than the training.

    The sooner Harrison in finished off the better, IMO Haye has made a mistake taking this fight, lose lose for him (except ££) win and everyone will say he was expected to, lose and he has no creditbility.

    As long as Harrison keep throwing punches he has a chance esp with Hayes glass chin.

  • Comment number 4.

    It is an interesting fight, but as you say Ben, it is all about the money and the hype.

    I want to see the K-bros beaten, but purely because they are so boring. The fight game is where sport and entertainment come very close, Haye likens boxing to WWF (or whatever it calls itself now). I like Haye, because despite the stupid hype, he's self-aware and moments of transparency is able to laugh at himself and the game.

    This fight will only be remembered if Fraudley pulls out a shock,
    not gonna happen tho.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good blog Ben.

    Having been born in the eighties I feel hugely cheated that this is what passes for a big fight these days. One average boxer who has fought no-one of note and one absolute joke whose claim to faim is an Olympic gold many years ago.

    It doesn't stand up to the exceptional heavyweight contests of the sixties and seventies.

    Anyone know where and when this decline began?

    Although Ben's point stands as, of course, I'll be watching.

  • Comment number 6.

    Bedford's Michael Sprott? wires crossed i think...although Skelton and Sprott are probably as bad as each other!

  • Comment number 7.

    When this fight was first announced I think everyday thought it was a bad move on Haye's part for the simple fact that it not only doesn't help his credibility it actually damages it, certainly to US fight fans who don't know much about Harrison and assume he is a complete bum.

    These same fans have already started to question Haye's legitimacy following his withdrawal from negotiations from the Klitschko fights and the longer he goes without facing a genuine challenge in their eyes the more he becomes a protected champion cherrypicking his opponents on his way to an early retirement.

    I don't share this view. For my money, Haye beats every Heavyweight on the planet right now with the exception of the Klitschkos - and I do give him a shot against them. That said, there will always be an air of vulnerability about Haye and this is one of the reasons why he's one of the most exciting fighters on the planet.

    Amir Khan is the same. You can't watch his fights without being on the edge of your seat because even when he's dominating there's always the chance he could walk into something and get hurt. I don't think Haye has a particular problem with his chin, but he's a naturally lighter guy than Harrison or any of the top 10 heavyweights and if gets hit clean he's likely to hit the canvas.

    Haye's defensive strength is his speed, conditioning and head movement. Carl Froch said Haye is extremely difficult to hit cleanly when they used to spar so just imagine the difficulties Harrison, who's not exactly quick, could have catching Haye. Haye's offensive strength on the other hand is his explosive power and quick hands, which he is capable of unleashing from a variety of angles. A little bit like Manny Pacquiao, Haye will hit you with that KO shot you just don't see coming.

    As good as Haye can be on his day, the reality of this fight is quite different from how it appears. US fans have derided it as an easy fight for Haye while Sky and the UK press are pitching it more and more as a 50/50 contest in order to sell tickets and PPVs.

    The reality is somewhere in between. It certainly isn't an easy fight. Harrison is bigger, stronger, heavier, has a longer reach, and a better amateur background. His left hand has KO power (when he uses it) and he has an excellent jab (when he uses it).

    If he's aggressive and puts it all on the line (this would pretty much be the first time in his career) then he can give Haye problems, but it's a big if. Harrison has to show a warrior's heart and has to be prepared to go into the trenches with Haye.

    Haye will be elusive and will use head movement and speed to prevent Harrison from landing cleanly. I expect he will start fast, but then spend a round or two fighting quite cagily. Once Harrison starts to tire, Haye will start throwing bombs and it will all depend on how Harrison reacts. If Harrison behaves as he always has done, Haye should overwhelm him eventually catching him on the chin and putting him down.

    There's been a lot of talk about Haye's chin, but Harrison has never been in the ring with as hard a puncher as Haye and if Haye lands clean on Harrison's chin it is lights out. I think we'll see 5-6 reasonably close rounds with Haye being the aggressor, but Harrison having his moments. However, I think Haye will catch Harrison and finish it around round 6-7.

    As for whether it should be happening...it's sold out the MEN arena, it will no doubt result in massive PPV buys for Sky, it's been in every newspaper in the UK, it's got boxing websites and magazines talking, it's got the fans buzzing, it's brought mainstream sports fans back into boxing, and it's generating more hype about the sport since the last Ricky Hatton fight.

    YES, it should be happening. What's more I think it will be an exciting, reasonably competitive fight too for as long as it lasts.

    Looking forward, I do believe Haye will fight one or both of the Klitschko and I believe he 'has' to if he wants to have any sort of lasting legacy beyond being a very good fighter.

    He says it isn't important to him to be considered an all time great, but if he takes on the Klitschko and wins (or even if he loses in close, competitive fights) it will put him up there with Lewis in terms of best British heavyweights and I'm sure in his heart of hearts he would love to achieve that before he retires.

    Good luck David. I'll definitely be among the millions watching you on Saturday! Good luck to Audley too. Not to win, but to get through the fight healthy and to enjoy the experience. I certainly wish the man no ill will and hope he puts in the performance of his career albeit in defeat. Finally, good luck George Groves who has a tough, exciting fight on his hands against Kenny Anderson. That will be a cracking undercard scrap.

    And let's not forget we've got Pacquiao v Margarito on the same night. What a weekend for boxing! Great stuff!

  • Comment number 8.

    To be fair to Haye on this fight this fight makes sense in many ways and as you mention why take a fight you can't sell for a greater risk?

    A big point that seems to have been missed though is that Audleys size and style although vastly inferior to teh K's isn't exactly a million miles away.

    It will give Haye experience in the ring with a big guy with decent enough skills and try and execute a plan to nuillify him (and KO him). Audley always had boxing talent, balls and stamina were missing but he has/had talent which is why it was such a shame to see him waste it and freeze so often.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good blog Ben, it's the very nature of boxing.

    Panda1983, I take it your knowledge of boxing is about as good as your spelling! Haye is a class fighter you don't become undisputed in any division by being average, he has travelled to France to fight Momeck, Germany to fight Valuev I wonder how many people were queing up for those fights!!!

    I also believe he is exciting to watch and is much needed for the heavywieght division... best of all he's British!

    And I don't agree about his class chin I think its yet to be tested at heavyweight, one thing we do know is his speed an power at heavyweight is better than anybodies! which im sure Audinary will find out on Sat!

  • Comment number 10.

    richiebrew23 - Good spot, always did get those boys mixed up!

  • Comment number 11.

    Fame, obviously.

    Chris, I'm not entirely sure what a, "class chin" is or what, "anybodies" are so I can't really respond to that.

    As for Momek and Valuev, they clearly don't stand comparison to top fighters of previous generations, of which there are too many to list here.

    With regards to Haye being valued because of his nationality, I don't know what that has to do with ability, reputation or skill.

  • Comment number 12.

    Good blog indeed Ben. Points out what everyone seems to be missing and that is Haye is aware of exactly what this fight is - minimal risk for the greatest financial reward.

    Think about it everyone is saying if Haye loses then he's finished, realistically if Haye lost to anyone other than the Klitschkos then surely its the same deal. So why not get paid more to fight someone less dangerous than Chagaev or Povetkin. Yes this will offend the purists but I have no issues with this so long as he does fight one or both of the Klitschkos in the near future - after finally ridding sports media of Fraudley A-Farce Harmlesson of course!

  • Comment number 13.

    Enjoyed the blog Ben and you're spot on.
    Looking forward to this immensley.
    Like most I think it will be a relatively easy win for Haye. With a knockout coming in the middle rounds.

    But one this I don't understand is the antipathy and hostility to Haye.
    He's always been honest with the public, and quite obviously does what he has to, to promote any given fight. He runs his mouth to achieve this. This is boxing after all...

  • Comment number 14.

    Another point I wanted to make (or question for the reading public) - don't you think that Audley provides good practice/sparring (thats all I'm willing to put to this theory) for a fight against a Vitali Klitschko for example?

    The man has a huge reach and good jab - admittedly it would probabaly be harder to spar with Vitali than actually fight Harrison but I'd give Haye and Booth the benefit of the doubt if they called this prep for a fight with Klitschko....just ;)

  • Comment number 15.

    Good blog Ben.

    Should be a cake walk for Haye, but as you say, risk is still present and inherent in the heavyweight division. If the Sprott rematch shows anything, it is that Harrison has the artillery.

    Don't understand anyone who dislikes Haye, he is playing the publicity game, and has got people in this country interested in this division again.

    How many times has this been asked, will a loss finally be the end of Harrison? - The most disappointing thing about Harrison for fans is that, when he is behind, he doesn't go all-in, but boxing is to some degree about self preservation (as again you say in the blog Ben).

  • Comment number 16.

    "As long as Harrison keep throwing punches he has a chance esp with Hayes glass chin."

    Ok seriously, what glass chin? he was stopped by Carl Thompson when he was younger, but this was after he had given Carl a beating and instead of pacing himself, completely blew himself out. Thats not a 'glass chin', thats just arrogance and inexperience causing a guy to tire himsefl out and leaving himself open to being stopped late on

  • Comment number 17.

    You may be right about the cash, but why should that be a justification to warrant boxing fans tuning in?
    It's quite simply, a shocking fight, and the hype machine has been on red alert for weeks now trying to milk as much money from this as they can.
    He's making the best of the situation put in front of him maybe, but genuine fight fans see this for what it is. The sad thing is, they'll still be tuning in, and simply justifying this type of fight being billed in the first place.

  • Comment number 18.

    Great blog Ben, I hate to be a nit pick but I think the image of the two boxer's statistics is wrong, Haye's record is 24(22)-1, he didn't knock out Abdoul or Valuev.

    But other than me being pedantic I love reading this blog, its a shame boxing doesn't have more coverage in the UK...

    Chris

    p.s. What are your predictions on the night? and for the Pacquiao- Margarito fight?

  • Comment number 19.

    Haye vs Harrison is that rarest of things - a boxing match that's receiving mainstream coverage and generating a lot of interest. Despite jibes about Haye's credibility suffering by taking this fight, I couldn't see a bout against either Klitschko generate this much publicity. I hear that the brothers have a German fanbase but they mean next to nothing in the UK or US. Plus, Haye has been candid about the inequalities of contract offers coming from the Klitschko camp - better for him to build up his PPV-drawing power and force them to come to the table on his terms.

    However, I won't be buying this. It goes up against UFC 122 on free TV - ironically that is a card for purists with no "big name" fighters but several bouts that should be thrilling. In that respect, the card is the exact opposite of Haye vs Harrison.

  • Comment number 20.

    Harrison has to use his huge reach advantage if hes going to have any chance. I think Haye will use a slightly more aggresive style of counter punching unlike the passive way he fought Valuev.

    Michael Sprott did the same thing in the first fight. Waited for his chance and then BAM, left hook in round 3, game over. Haye should watch that fight.

  • Comment number 21.

    This fight will be great for all the boxing fans in the UK as it promotes 2 British fighters with a great pedigree. Haye on one hand is quick and posesses knockout power however, I believe he is too small and lacks the chin and stamina to take on the worlds best. If Heavyweight world fights were still 15 rounds he would have no chance. His heavyweight fights so far have been against 2 has-beens in Ruiz and Barret and a giant who posessed little boxing skill. Audley on the other hand was a fantastic amateur and won a gold medal which is no mean feat and although his professional career has not continued in that manner he will be the toughest heavyweight Haye has fought. Audley's problem in the pros has been the fact he has not been agressive enough and not worked hard enough to get in shape and want to put on a performance. The fight against Michael Sprott was a turning point imo as he showed heart, determination and tht explosive power we know he possesses. As such, this is not an easy fight to script if Audley is at his best in terms of mind, body and spirit I believe he has a great chance in walking away with the Gold once again. Haye will get a test no matter what and if he comes through the Klitschkos need to be next on his hit list however, I believe they are too big and strong for Haye and thts why Haye delays the fight happening. Haye has everything to lose but hopefully if he does lose he will come back a better fighter for it. This is not a walkover and Haye is treating it like one ao come on Audley live upto your promise and potential. Audley in 8.

  • Comment number 22.

    "I actually like it [the criticism from fans, it makes me laugh," said the 30-year-old Haye. "I'd rather there are people out there who hate me than don't care at all. If someone doesn't care either way, they're not going to watch you fight."


    Well by the time this fight is done and dusted, I get the feeling Haye will be met with over whelming indifference. Some may feign anger after the event, but after reflecting upon how eagerly they swallowed the shiny image being reflected to them, I doubt it will last for long when embarrassment kicks in. I am amazed that this has got as big as it has, but for the boxers it makes complete sense, but surprised the punters have swallowed this so well. Boxing will be the loser here and I doubt I will go out of the way to watch highlights even. When you pump a fight up like this and draw in so many, it will have an effect down the line for Haye. You can't blame either fighter, just an indication at the state of boxing at present in the heavyweight division, the crown jewels.

    I was going to say that Haye will just play the percentages without taking any risks. But when your purpose is mainly financial, a loss for Haye would maximise the rematch to allow the cynical within me to consider that any such risk may have a silver lining.

  • Comment number 23.

    Ben - Are you for real? How does Haye vs Harrison make perfect sense?

    I wouldn't pay £16 for a pay per view for this non event. Whats the point - we already know whos going to win. I really hope that this fight gets low viewing figures.

    And as for david haye who said he was going to bring entertainment to the heavyweight division - well im still waiting. If you call haye's fight against valuev entertaining then your living on cloud cuckoo land. Haye is clearly taking the easy way out with this fight. Im sure Haye is waiting for vitali to get too old or call it a day so that he only has to beat the younger klitschko who is not as good as Vitali. Vitali would KO haye in my opinion - and haye knows this which is why he is buying time with this joke of a fight.

    How can this be taken as a serious fight? What has Audley Harrison ever done in the professional ranks to justify a world title fight?

  • Comment number 24.

    Hi Ben,

    Long time no see, hope things are going well at BBC Towers!

    Personally I think Haye should win this comfortably and I would predict a stoppage in the 4th. However I won’t be completely writing off Harrison’s chances, it only takes one punch after all.

    We all I’m sure remember Hasim Rahman shocking the boxing world by beating Lennox Lewis in a fight said to be similarly one sided. If it goes to points Haye will almost certainly win, so Harrison will need to land that one big blow.

    As for the big two, I think Haye is good enough to beat Wladimir but Vitali might just be a step too far.

    So as much as I’m sure it won’t happen I’d love to see him in against Wladimir next and if successful in that one, then trying to unify the division by facing Vitali.

    It could be two massive pay days for Haye and even if he wasn’t successful he would get massive credit for taking on the best opposition presently in the division.

    Lastly there has been lots of talk about Haye’s “arrogance”, I leave you with this question, with the poor standard of the heavyweight scene at present and a lack of any other real characters in this division, don’t Haye’s antics at least get people talking about a division which otherwise may get little attention right now?

  • Comment number 25.

    I think its a relatively clever move by Haye.
    1) Whilst Harrison is no great boxer, it is another big bloke that Haye will have been in the ring with, and thus a bit more experience at that weight to progress on to one of the Klitsckos(sp).
    2) Taking that extra fight for experience at the heavyweight grade in to account he has also managed to sell out the MEN and has thus landed a huge payday in to the bargain
    3) On top of all this I(/We......depending on your viewpoint) finally get to see Harrison put to bed. Like someone above said I wish him no ill will and hope he enjoys his payday and retirement with all faculties intact, but lets be fair.....boxing needs harrison like people need a dose of the clap.
    Il say round 3. Back foot defence from Harrison for the whole duration of that time and Haye with a huge right to the bearded cranium of A-Farce mid way through that round

  • Comment number 26.

  • Comment number 27.

    Haye has made no excuses as to why he's fighting Harrison and Hearn was right when he said Audley is probably better known in the general public than Haye. It makes perfect sense for Haye and I agree with comments that they see this as a warm up for the Klitchko's long ranging jab followed by striaght right or left in audley's case, afterwards we will see if he is ready for them!

  • Comment number 28.

    "As long as Harrison keep throwing punches he has a chance esp with Hayes glass chin."

    Ok seriously, what glass chin? he was stopped by Carl Thompson when he was younger, but this was after he had given Carl a beating and instead of pacing himself, completely blew himself out. Thats not a 'glass chin', thats just arrogance and inexperience causing a guy to tire himsefl out and leaving himself open to being stopped late on

    ----------
    watch the fights Haye has been knocked down in or wobbled, i think he can take a shot, but each time, e.g. the cat and Mormeck (but there are more) he takes a shot on the temple, that seems to be his weak spot from what i have seen, same goes for that Lolenga Mock fight...its the shot across the temple that really wobbles him, saying this, Haye seems to show pretty good form in holding and finding some time to ecover (excluding the cat. have a look for yourself on YouTube :-)

  • Comment number 29.

    Good article, I can see the points but I'm still personally choosing to boycott this fight. Doesn't matter if I'm the only one, and it sounds like they'll make good coin from this, but personally I refuse to support it. And I'm someone that sneakily had a bit of a soft spot for poor deluded Audley at times.

    The problem is that, for the second fight in a row for Haye following the Ruiz thrashing, I see it as a lose/lose. If Haye wins even with a big KO it's expected, if he loses his credibility is destroyed without trace. And given the colourless and undeserving nature of too many contenders out there, that would be a massive tragedy to the division in general.

  • Comment number 30.

    This blog is brilliant, very insightful. Especially like the bit about Harrison being an hour late for a media gig. Sums him up beautifully.

    And the hilarious quote from Haye, shooting down Harrison's supposed alliance with God: sums him up just as well.

    The best thing about this fight is the build-up - and we'll probably be saying that after the event as well.

  • Comment number 31.

    Interesting character observations for Haye and Harrison in this Ben Blog, and would agree with both. The perceived arrogance of Haye has mainly come about as a result of the build up to this fight, after a couple of ill-advised, and widely reported comments directed at Harrison. In the weeks post the Valuev fight things were a bit different.
    Audley himself is definitely deluded. And if convincing people he can win a fight was a title in itself, he would be the undisputed heavyweight talker of the world for the last ten years. Just how convincing he is can be seen from how many boxing experts are now tipping him to have a 50/50 chance, have they forgotten the last 5 year's form?!
    Haye by a stoppage/knock out by round 3 or 4 latest, Audley having frozen in the lights.

  • Comment number 32.

    As I have said before, Haye has unified a division stepped up to HW and won a world title in under 30 fights! He is also the only person to give away 7 stone and win a fight. He is massively underrated and I think he will knock Audley out in 2.
    His only loss was also not a true KO, his corner rightly pulled him out of a fight which could have been stopped in his favour in the first round. Just before the fight was stopped he was calling Thompson in for a toe to toe battle.
    Ben Dirs – Can you explain why he is not even in the top 10 pound for pound whereas you have some fighters in there that have lost 10% of their fights.

  • Comment number 33.

    hi ben, good blog as always.... i was wondering if anyone on the bbc will start blogging or anything about the UFC/MMA anytime soon? I hear david haye is a big fan and wants to retire from boxing young so he can take on mixed martial arts.... what would you think of this? i think it would be great for both sports to have some cross over action. think haye is gonna have an easy time with fraudley unfortunately but as we all know in the fight game one punch can change the game so lets hope harrison can at least make haye work for the win before he goes off to get the klitschkos!

  • Comment number 34.

    Your blog is spot on Ben. This fight is a foregone conclusion yet I'll be tuning in. Its a shame boxers look for the easy £££s before retiring. That's why Haye has already announced plans to retire when his Heavyweight career is still in its infancy, thats also why he'll never go down in history as a great fighter. Not interested in dominating the division for a decade like Lennox. Money will come if your good enough, but few warriors remain like Benn, Gatti + Calzaghe ... that's why boxing is no longer the great sport it once was. Doubt Haye will care when he's counting his money.

  • Comment number 35.

    Haye wins by KO in 3 rounds.

    "As long as Harrison keep throwing punches he has a chance esp with Hayes glass chin."

    Harrison has no chance. Note that it is perfectly reasonable for these two sentences to co-exist. Work it out... :)

  • Comment number 36.

    Ben, whilst i'm not a Harrison fan, you have to admit that Haye won the WBA belt from a freak show in Valuev (Holyfield was robbed of a desision in Zurich 2years ago against Valuev), Haye beat Ruiz who should've retired 5 years ago, and almost got dropped against journeyman Barret, so lets be honest, Haye has lots to prove before he's considered a proper Heavyweight. Also, Haye was never the "undisputed cruiserweight champion", please give due respect to Steve Cunningham (at that time, the IBF champion) I don't recall the BBC disregarding the IBF belt held by Clinton Woods when he was champ. Finally, Harrison had a well documented shoulder injury for almost 6 rounds when he fought Sprott, so the "behind on points" argument is void in my book. Typical of the BBC not giving a correct perspective on boxing, the million pound contract given to Harrison must still rankle with the BBC.

  • Comment number 37.

    Good blog, Ben.

    Agree that Haye made a sensible decision in taking a low risk fight for bigger money than he'd have been looking at elsewhere (bar the Klitschkos), and I also wonder if you think this has further reaching implications along those lines.

    First off, I'm assuming that Haye isn't fighting the Klitschkos now for 2 reasons -

    1. The Klitschkos hold all the cards in negotiating the terms of the fight. Despite Haye's notoriety in the UK, he's still relatively unknown to the rest of the world and the Klitschkos can still boast a bigger fan/interest base. Haye would have to agree to something like 2 mandatory rematches against one or other of the brothers should he win (much like Shannon Briggs) as well as of course having to fight in their adopted backyard of Germany.

    2. Haye realises he needs more experience in the heavyweight division before challenging them.

    Do you think Haye is hoping to build up a bigger fanbase (or at least generate more interest in his career) in order to wrest some control back from the Klitschkos when it comes to negotiating that deal? I doubt he could get one of them over to the UK for the first fight, but perhaps he could negotiate for just one mandatory rematch and for that rematch to be in the UK.

    I doubt Harrison will be able to give him the heavyweight experience he probably needs, but then who knows? Harrison had something once, maybe he's worked his butt off and rediscovered a little of that early promise.

  • Comment number 38.

    Enjoyable blog Ben, keep them coming.
    Not sure the fight makes perfect sense for Haye though, finances aside. If he wins by a comfortable/early knockout, surely people will say Audley's just a fraud. On the other side, if the fight goes deep into the latter rounds, will people not ask why Haye didn't bomb Audley out early doors? And then you have Audley, who's in a taxi on the way home from the last chance saloon, fighting perhaps without fear and possessing a punchers chance - providing he actually throws some.
    An early to mid-term victory for Haye seems the popular choice and is perhaps the only way of Haye coming out with his reputation enhanced, especially if it's a dynamic yet controlled display with a spectacular ending.
    Haye in 3 for me, perhaps having been wobbled.
    Then propose a one off with a Klitschko at Wembley, 50/50 all round…
    http://scottssportsandsocial.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 39.

    I will be the first to admit I don't know much about boxing. I will be watching the fight, but along with 95% of those viewing will be expecting a Haye win.

    Ben comments on the money factor of it. A fight vs Klitschko is make or break for Haye. With Harrison he is putting in a banker, almost like an insurance policy, against losing to Klitschko, as he relaises he could possibly fail to attract much attention thereafter.

    I understand some boxing fans see it as a fraud and pointless, but they can afford to be pre-occupied with his legacy and reputation. David Haye has not that luxuary - these are his earning days, and he has to make Hay (ahem) while the sun shines.

    I also think its possible that the promoters are still trying to fan the flames of Haye v Kitschko as much as possible, which is what the 'will they won't they' nonsense is in aid of. Whether this fight was a miscalculation in that strategy is another matter. But does anyone else think this is what they were trying to achieve?

  • Comment number 40.

    Haye is a joke, Harrison is a bigger joke. i think my nan could batter both of em at same time. hopefully no one shows up, and no one buys it on PPV. haye in 2, with the use of his handbag. zzz off hayemaker you clown!!

  • Comment number 41.

    feckunited30, i would love to see your nan in the ring with haye after that comment. Haye is king, heavyweight boxing would be that boring without him, i think the Klitcho's are better but they will never be legends, they just dominated the division when it's at it's worst. Lewis, Tyson, Hollyfield, Bowe etc would have all destroyed them in their prime. I can't see how anyone dislike's Haye, he's a British world champion and he's got charisma, we should be proud if you ask me

  • Comment number 42.

    It is obviously well within Haye's right to take easy money laden options - he's the WBA champ and he should get paid as such. However faint heart never won fair maiden.

    Haye needs to build financial clout to simplify the negotiations with Sauerland. He clearly doesn't want to get contracted to a 4-5 twin Klitschko double rematch series largely in Germany, and Kalle Sauerland himself has intimated that Haye brings contractual baggage to the table too in terms of pre-existing financial commitments. If this fight is to use up options to clear the way for the Klitschko bros then great.

    Knocking out Harrison inside 3 rounds won't help Haye's credibility in the eyes of Ring Magazine, but it will give him more chips to play with at the Sauerland table if he can pull decent PPV numbers for a domestic mis-match.

  • Comment number 43.

    No matter how we all grained that Haye was taking this fight I can't help but thinking I am googling more info on this fight than I would if Haye were fighting a Klitschko. Haye has SO much to lose here it's frightening. That said, even if Audley did manage to unfreeze and throw a KO punch at Haye, I am sure Haye would bounce back and climb to the top. Am I the only one who still thinks Haye has the good to KO Wladimar and beat Vitali on points?

    No. First round KO victory for Haye. Audley simply hasn't got what it takes at this level unless he has found some magic anti-freeze and pumped into his cooling system.

  • Comment number 44.

    Haven't watched that much boxing lately. I know who these two guys are though. I am wondering if Haye is taking it too lately and if Harrison even by fluke manages to knock him down, what will it mean for Audley and boxing?

    I think your blog is pointing out why a lot of people have left boxing over the years..........too much hype not enough class. The 2 or 3 fights a year of Tyson and Eubanks were clearly against lesser oppostion and were not good in the long term for the sport. Eubanks probably fought 3 or 4 fights too many, especially those against Collins... and Tyson? Buster Douglas was in good shape when he beat him but for the return looked like the Michelen Man. It didn't take the public long to catch on. There was a time when the arena for these two could have been 50 000 or 80 000 , but not anymore. I reckon most of the pay per views are local bars rather than people in their own homes watching the fights..

  • Comment number 45.

    sorry should have said, Haye taking it too lightly* not lately.

  • Comment number 46.

    Leon,

    Since 1988 the criteria for being undisputed champion was to hold 3 of the 4 major titles.

    Haye held WBC, WBA and WBO. Therefore he was undisputed.

    So Ben is correct.

  • Comment number 47.

    I wont be watching the fight but I can't wait for Haye to shut Fraudley up once and for all. He is a joke to boxing and has achieved nothing. He has spent too much time running his mouth claiming that he will be World Champion, and hopefully come Saturday Night we wont have to listen to it anymore.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    Am I the only one who thinks this fight will stink out the MEN?!

    Audley talks of throwing caution to the wind but he just doesn't have a fighting heart, whatever he says. I'd be very surprised if he doesn't have his eyes on a points win. He has been talking of being the 'master' in the build-up so expect cagey-Audley (again) jabbing and holding.

    Haye will want to put on a show but he too will surely be slightly cautious given the carrot of the Klitschko's after this fight. Harrison is the bigger man so can boss the clinches, which could be crucial. It will be interesting to see how Haye handles that.

    I don't have a favourite to support here - I slightly lean towards Haye, just because none of us want a re-match (which must surely be in the smallprint somewhere should Haye lose).

  • Comment number 50.

    @collie21
    That is nonsense. Haye is a legitimate world champ and this is a grudge match. The facts are that people ARE interested in this fight. In addition year in year out we hear people with no interest in boxing lamenting "yesteryear". There have been many great fights in the past years. And like it or not, the Klitschkos have resurrected it in Germany if not elsewhere. But thinking of Super 6, Mannie, ODLH, PBF, Calzaghe, Khan etc etc there has been a lot of interest and good fights happening.

    This old "its dying" chestnut is normally only spouted by people who have no interest in boxing and only remember some super fight, like the Thriller in Manila, from the halcyon days of their youth.

    Look around : there are oodles of column inches devoted to this fight. And that is only good for boxing.

  • Comment number 51.

    I dont get all the hate on this fight. Harrison is ranked 13 by the WBA and is as good as the majority guys ranked in their top 15 contenders (taking out Haye/K Bros). Povetkin, Boytsov or Adamek might be tougher fights but only Chagaev has done anything to prove he deserves a shot significantly more than Harrison.

    In the end Harrison is a tool for Haye to use in order to get his fight with the Klitschkos, a loss and it's all over (that's the case whoever he fights) but a decent win will give him an even bigger profile. It's not about proving himself in the ring, he has already done that, no fight is going to increase his standing there other than one of the Ks. This is about proving his rawing ability, proving his showmanship and providing an argument that the Klitchkos can no longer avoid.

  • Comment number 52.

    Alex Dudgon wrote:
    I can't see how anyone dislike's Haye, he's a British world champion and he's got charisma, we should be proud if you ask me
    ...................................................................

    I don't dislike Haye, but do believe this fight will load yet more apathy onto boxing from a very low base. My main disappointment is with Harrison, given all the physical attributes to become a boxing legend, but sadly God decided not to give him a pair of cajonas to make anything from those talents. Harrison is a proven paper tiger, which only devalues Haye from accepting this fight for money alone.

  • Comment number 53.

    @kopiteking

    Butterbean not enough cross over for you? Hahaha

    Love them or loath them this fight will generate huge interest in the UK, an all British heavyweight fight always will no matter who is competing. I would love to believe the hype and buy into Harrison having a chance but I just cant see it. I remember being very young and naive when Audley won his gold and took his rhetoric at face value.....you could say that I am now a little sceptical!

    Lets just all hope that Audley finally comes out swinging with good controlled aggression and makes a proper fight of it. After all he has most of the attributes to be a top heavyweight, however I suspect like many others that this will simply result in an inauspicious exit from boxing from our much lamented Olympic hero!

    I will however enjoy watching a bit of boxing in the boozer, Groves v Anderson could be, in the words of Danny Dyer- 'a bit tasty!'.

    Also for those that are against the fight at least you can console yourself with the fact no matter who wins we will still have a British champ. Although the thought of Harrison winning and then taking on one of the brothers grim does bring me out in a cold sweat!

  • Comment number 54.

    Audley Harrison- World Heavyweight Champion

    Unbelievable, the guy has been rubbish for 10 years, seriously people, stop writing he has a chance because he can throw a punch, I can throw a punch but Im not going to become the heavyweight champ either. I dont rate Haye that much but he could beat with one hand tied behind his back.

    Good blog, I will be watching though.....just in case.

    Now Im off to run my mouth off at Usain Bolt and get my shot at the Olympics in 2012, my PB is 14.21 secs for the 100m but Audley has shown me that it doesnt matter if your useless, everyone gets their shot if you just talk enough rubbish

  • Comment number 55.

    It's easy to say boxing's gone down the pan....but it really has. This fight is a total mismatch. Harrison could get seriously hurt. The 1st time Haye lands cleanly it's over. If this fight lasts more than two rounds I'll be surprised.

  • Comment number 56.

    @Richard R, I think you misunderstand the point I am trying to make. Or at least you are avoiding it completely. Let me try again, and I may be wrong, there was a yesterday when the heavy weight champ was that. There was no way there could be 4 champs at once. To be Brief boxing split left right and centre and with the advent of King, others, and pay per view, the purses got bigger but in general...the quality diminished. I don't remember the rumble in the jungle but I remember Cassius Clay, I do remember McGuigan and was it Pedrosa? I do remember Nigel Benn fights and I do remember watching Tyson and Eubanks fight journey ad nauseum. I remember seeing a 40+ George Foreman come out of retirement... I like watching Sugar Ray leonard, Roberto Duran, Hagler and i don't believe the current crop of Heavyweights are a patch on them. I think more and more fights happen to justify the existence of pay per view rather than for any sporting merit. So forgive me If I hark back to the olden days... The only people intereseted in the outcome of this fight are in England and Germany probably...

  • Comment number 57.

    Yes, of course it makes sense. Get a shedload of cash for putting on a sham of a fight. Drumming up interest? I won't be watching this, however I will be watching UFC 122. Boxing needs to realise that there now is a viable alternative and stop putting on pointless fights, though that's about as likely as Mayweather v Pacquiao.

  • Comment number 58.

    It doesn't make sense at £14.95 a pop, half the price Sky, plenty more will sign up (me, for a start)

  • Comment number 59.

    58. At 2:52pm on 10 Nov 2010, Joshua_Libby wrote:

    It doesn't make sense at £14.95 a pop, half the price Sky, plenty more will sign up (me, for a start)
    ------------------
    You really think twice as many will sign up at half the price? Don't be a numpty.

  • Comment number 60.

    Well written Ben, as for the guy watching UFC 122 is that one in Germany? I'm not sure because it has received almost zero coverage.

  • Comment number 61.

    60. At 3:14pm on 10 Nov 2010, Tofu wrote:

    Well written Ben, as for the guy watching UFC 122 is that one in Germany? I'm not sure because it has received almost zero coverage
    ---------
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UFC_122

    Not exactly difficult to find out is it?

  • Comment number 62.

    I really don't understand why Haye is getting so much criticism for taking this fight. I've said it before and I'll say it again - not only is this the best deal out there for Haye at the moment, but it is the only deal out there.

    Like most, I fully expect this will be one-sided. I give Harrison no more than a slim puncher's chance, based solely on the basis that he might dredge up a blockbuster similar to the one against Sprott. But just ask yourselves how many of the Klitschkos' fights have been dull, one-sided affairs against fighters who have stood in front of them and posed no challenge? Vitali's win over Shannon Briggs was the last such example. How do they get away with it so much?

    It is quite clear to me that the Klitschkos are only interested in facing Haye on their terms. Why? They know he poses a greater threat than anyone they've fought in recent times because he's a different sort of fighter. Understandable, perhaps, but it's they who are stopping those fights happening, not Haye.

  • Comment number 63.

    "It is quite clear to me that the Klitschkos are only interested in facing Haye on their terms. Why? They know he poses a greater threat than anyone they've fought in recent times because he's a different sort of fighter. Understandable, perhaps, but it's they who are stopping those fights happening, not Haye."

    Spot on.

  • Comment number 64.

    brooklynbrawler - "You may be right about the cash, but why should that be a justification to warrant boxing fans tuning in?" I'm not saying it that should be a justification, but for whatever reason the fight has caught the public's imagination and they will be tuning in.

    diesel1984 - It makes perfect sense for the reasons I've pointed out: both men are making stacks of cash and loads of people will be watching. Whether you want to watch it or not is rather a moot point.

    DaveGavrilovic - Hello mate, hope you're well! Well, quite, Haye's chat does get people talking, and I'm not sure he's that arrogant to be honest, I think he plays the game and is fundamentally a pretty decent bloke.

    Timthejab - Always beware boxing 'experts' giving their predictions on a fight, they may want you to believe something they don't really believe...

    Stuart Bennett - We took down our world top-10 last week, although Haye wouldn't be in it even if they were still up. Not sure win/loss percentages really tell a whole fighters story - Pacquiao has lost more fights than Haye.

    kopiteking - No plans to start covering MMA, but those decisions are made by people far higher in the food chain than me...

    Right, I've got to go, hopefully be back on here again tomorrow!


  • Comment number 65.

    I hope Haye knocks his block off. Yes he is arrogant, but Audley is on another planet.

    Good ol' Dirsy, you can always trust him to tell it like it is.

    Funny Sky PPV story - my mate was desperate to order the Khan v Salita match. I told him that like most SKY PPVs, it was a farcical waste of money (this coming from someone who has Sky Sports and ESPN). He said he would pay for it etc so I booked it. He arrived 2 minutes after the match started, by which time Khan had knocked the other guy out. So basically my mate paid £15 for a fight he never saw. Sky need to reduce the price. If they did, I would order it. Otherwise I'm going to the local who have ordered it. They are shooting themselves in the foot.

    PPl like to badmouth Haye, but I saw his fight V Mormeck - bloody good scrap, he showed bags of heart, V Macca - totally pulverised him, and V Valuev - no one gave him a prayer but he won convincingly. The guy can only beat whats in front of him, which he has done with no small amount of courage and flair.

  • Comment number 66.

    "It is quite clear to me that the Klitschkos are only interested in facing Haye on their terms. Why? They know he poses a greater threat than anyone they've fought in recent times because he's a different sort of fighter. Understandable, perhaps, but it's they who are stopping those fights happening, not Haye."


    Really? So who was it that pulled out of the Wlad Klitschko-Haye fight, claiming a back injury as the reason, after continuously mocking his opponent (who had signed and was ready to fight) of being scared to face him?

  • Comment number 67.

    Nice blog ben,

    agreed.

  • Comment number 68.

    If the argument that he is fighting Harrison for a big paycheck is true then the same would apply for a fight with Bernard Hopkins. A lot of people were against a Haye - Hopkins fight on the basis that it would be too one sided in favour of Haye but if he genuinely believes there is little chance of losing then the money will be worth it. No other heavyweight (bar the Klitschkos) will offer the same amount of cash as a Hopkins fight would.

    I actually think there is a more important aspect to fighting Harrison that i haven't seen mentioned. Haye's heart is set on fighting and beating Wlad Klitschko and I firmly believe his best chance is by KO. Klitschko's technique is rock solid and he hasn't been close to losing on points (even against Sam Peter who knocked him down 4 times). But to score a KO against someone of Klitschko's size he's gonna need a bit of practice, enter Audley Harrison. For this reason, I've got high hopes for an entertaining fight this weekend.

  • Comment number 69.

    Harrison, just turned 39, is not so self-aware, claiming he is winning the British public over, that his story is "building to a crescendo" and that it "resonates with the people". A cursory glance at various boxing messageboards reveals this to be wishful thinking.

    To be fair Ben, I think there are two demographs of people when it comes to boxing and I think Harrison was referring to the one you did'nt mention, the general public.

    People on message boards (boxing ones in particular) tend to be aggressively over opinionated and very argumentative (I guess its something to do with the anonymity of the web, personally I would never say anything to anyone on the web that I wouldnt say to someone's face, but that does'nt fly for many), so I dont think you can look at messageboards as a balanced view of how others see this fight.

    Personally I feel he was referring to the general public when he talks about winning people back round. And to be fair, I think he's right.
    (and I should point out at this moment that I am not an Audley fan).

  • Comment number 70.

    not a boxer fan but find Audley interesting. plus he has an Olympic gold medal, which is always nice. As for his achievement since. We will never know if the way he wanted to do it his way is one of the reason he never reached the high we could have expected.
    As for Hay... jut another brash boxer like many others. For all it matters, he is big in UK but not much outside.

    Will I watch? nope but might tune on if awake.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ben, you say:

    'There are those who think a boxer's primary consideration is to appear credible in the eyes of the public, whereas in fact a boxer's primary consideration is to make as much money as possible before getting out, hopefully with all their faculties intact.'

    That sums up why boxing (particularly at the heavweight level) is now in such disrepute. Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson and many before them weren't just fighting for money - there were more important things on their minds. What's sad is that boxing has allowed itself to be dragged into a pitiful level of prize-fighting - although saying that, a lot of the lighter divisions still provide fruitful and entertaining fare.




  • Comment number 72.

    Ben, I feel there is a middle ground here that you arent really giving adequate coverage to. Unfortunately it apears that you have simply fallen in line with the hype merchants and are simply going out of your way to justify and promote this fight without really exploring the whole picture. We dont all have to be Hayes accountants or pr guys. I disagree with you on what a boxers "primary consideration" is as the over-riding justification for taking on sub standard opposition as a bit weak. Many boxers, especially world champions care about their legacy and have a desire to be the best. Do you think Hopkins is still fighting (against the number 1 lightheavy next) because hes short a few quid? Oscar de la Hoya could have made millions fighting nobodies if he wanted to but look at his c.v.

    I think everyone realises that this fight is just an easy option for Haye to try and line his pockets while avoiding a serious challenge. There probably isnt much need to continually point out the financial sense of it. I think many avid fight fans are disappointed in Haye for this contest but are willing to give him time in the hope he will deliver the big fights down the line. Its really for this reason alone I am supporting Haye as I hope after this he can finally start living up to his reputation.

    I think if you are going to down the road of justifying this fight as a spectacle and a money maker then you should query where the credibility line is drawn? Is it simply a case of the money justifies the opponent regardless? Maybe Haye could try coax Mike Tyson out of retirement which Im sure would also have the public tuning in in droves? How about Lennox Lewis? Look at Audleys situation - hes a 39 year old fighter coming off a serious shoulder injury that has never even fought,let alone beat a world class opponent. And this is at a time where it probably hasnt been easier to get to world level in the heavyweight division. His recent record outside prizefighter is very poor. Other than his apparent limitless self belief, his knack for drawing atention to himself and the publics perverse facination with him he brings next to nothing in boxing terms.

    You also dont really touch on Hayes attitude. Haye generated alot of publicity, goodwill and fans (myself included) for his proactive talk 3 years ago. His claims that he was going to put it all on the line, try and unify the division and bring in excitement and create a legacy were pretty convincing. But what has transpired since then? Hes pulled out of a fight with Wlad Klitschko, stalled negotiations to suit himself and gone down the easy route in terms of claiming a title and selecting opposition. All the while having the temerity to badmouth virtually every other heavy. Hayes heavyweight career so far has been the definition of manufactured and moneymaking while at the same time trying to convince everyone the big fights are just around the corner and that hes the saviour of heavyweight boxing. If you are going to style yourself as the saviour of heavyweight boxing and this breath of fresh air then you deserve criticism for fighting Audley regardless of how much financial sense it makes. Hes bascally just an alphabet holder at present whos doing nothing to stake a claim for being the best in his division. Isnt this what people are constantly complaining about in boxing? Yet because Haye is British the public and media prefer to turn a blind eye it seems and applaud Haye for his ability to make money rather than deliver good fights.

    The equaliser is that Haye still has time to change all this and all will be forgotten if he deals with Audley as expected and then sets up the real mouthwatering fights next year. I would have no problem with him facing Audley if this is his intention as I can sympathise with his desire to make some good money before tking on what would be a massive challenge against one of the Klitschko brothers.

    This has been a rather negative take on the fight but its just an attempt to draw some balance to your blog. As someone working in the media I dont realistically expect you to come out and start pouring cold water over the fight, especially as it involves two British guys. But it would be nice to see the fight looked at from several angles rather than what appears to be an attempt to gloss over its shortcomings for financial reasons and give three cheers to David Haye for milking the British public and making lots of money.

  • Comment number 73.

    This symbolizes everything that is wrong with boxing. David Haye will only be recognized as one of the greats when he fights the Klitschko brothers. He won't do that because it's much easier to make money by beating no hopers like Harrison. Harrison has been all hype and no substance since he was signed up by the BBC - remember that ?

  • Comment number 74.

    74 comments and counting proves why it makes sense to boxing promoters.

  • Comment number 75.

    1-0 Haye ! EASY !

  • Comment number 76.

    Boardley Lameison

  • Comment number 77.

    mohibulalam.blogspot.com

    Audley is the comback king! game on

  • Comment number 78.

    Sky need to reduce the price. If they did, I would order it. Otherwise I'm going to the local who have ordered it. They are shooting themselves in the foot.
    ----------
    Reducing the price means they need to attract at least enough extra viewers to compensate. How much reduction would you need? 10%, 20%, 50%?

    They have done their research and know which price pays the best overall for them.

  • Comment number 79.

    Really? So who was it that pulled out of the Wlad Klitschko-Haye fight, claiming a back injury as the reason, after continuously mocking his opponent (who had signed and was ready to fight) of being scared to face him?
    -----------
    It WAS a back injury, Wlad then said no to rescheduling the fight to a later date on the same terms. No idea why though.

  • Comment number 80.

    If the argument that he is fighting Harrison for a big paycheck is true then the same would apply for a fight with Bernard Hopkins. A lot of people were against a Haye - Hopkins fight on the basis that it would be too one sided in favour of Haye but if he genuinely believes there is little chance of losing then the money will be worth it. No other heavyweight (bar the Klitschkos) will offer the same amount of cash as a Hopkins fight would.
    -----------
    It's not just about money, it's about profile too. Hopkins may be box office still but he is not a heavyweight, Haye needs to fight and beat heavyweights in order to raise his profile.

  • Comment number 81.

    That sums up why boxing (particularly at the heavweight level) is now in such disrepute. Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Tyson and many before them weren't just fighting for money - there were more important things on their minds.
    ----------------
    Sorry but that is desperate nostalgia.

    Most boxers in all eras got into it for the money, many of them because it was the only way they had of earning a wage. Tyson especially from that list.

  • Comment number 82.

    79. At 08:12am on 11 Nov 2010, hackerjack wrote:
    Really? So who was it that pulled out of the Wlad Klitschko-Haye fight, claiming a back injury as the reason, after continuously mocking his opponent (who had signed and was ready to fight) of being scared to face him?
    -----------
    It WAS a back injury, Wlad then said no to rescheduling the fight to a later date on the same terms. No idea why though.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    No it wasnt a back injury. It was the fact that he had signed a deal a deal with Setanta to show his fights and they went belly up ths hitting him in the pocket. Wlad couldnt agree to a "rescheduling" since Haye couldnt give him an accurate timeframe for when his "back injury" would heal.

  • Comment number 83.

    "Klitschko's technique is rock solid and he hasn't been close to losing on points (even against Sam Peter who knocked him down 4 times).."

    =========================================================================

    Not wishing to be pedantic here, but Klitschko hit the canvass 3 times, not 4, in the first Peter fight, and of those 2 were slips and only one a genuine knock down.

  • Comment number 84.

    I just do not understand why this is the case. There is nothing interesting about this fight. Harrison has proved time and time again that he can barely operate at european level so why the interest against a proven world class fighter?

    The reason this fight will get PPV buys is because casual boxing fans are led to believe that it is a credible fight by silly media articles. These are the same uneducated boxing folk that thought The Beast from the East was favorite against Haye because he was 7ft tall.

    I disagree with the money arguement for this reason;

    - If you prove your the best then you have a better chance of fighting in bigger fights. Pacquiao and Floyd beat everyone in their way now they are the biggest draws in boxing. Vlad and Vitali beat everyone in sight and draw 50,000 everytime they step in the ring.

    Haye should stop fighting the 'bums' he said he wouldn't and fight someone, anyone with some talent. Harrison (39), Ruiz (38), Valuev (36), Barrett (37) and Bonin (34)...not exactly a who's who of heavyweight boxing even by today's poor standards.

  • Comment number 85.

    "The reason this fight will get PPV buys is because casual boxing fans are led to believe that it is a credible fight by silly media articles."

    Nonsense. People are interested in this fight, as you clearly are since you came here read a blog and contributed, because Harrison is all mouth and Haye a proven world performer. Don't follow the hype. I haven't met one single person who is on Fraudley's side. Not one. Everyone I know will be watching this fight to see (a) If there will be a huge upset (b) To see Harrison put out to pasture.

  • Comment number 86.

    There is no way Harrison will win this fight as he is not good enough. Haye will win this in the second round.
    Ben Dirs - Agree that win percentage is not everything but when you have only lost one fight and won 4 genuine world titles at 2 different weight levels, I don't care if you have only had 10 fights, there is no way that there are 10 better fighters in the world than you.

    Haye is still massively under-rated.

  • Comment number 87.

    StevenCP - Nope, I think there are an awful lot of people (ie most of the people on here) who think it could be over very quickly...

    TheRBman - "I don't dislike Haye, but do believe this fight will load yet more apathy onto boxing". I'm struggling to understand this viewpoint - how can that be when it's a fight an awful lot of people are talking about?

    wycombew2001 - Not sure I agree with your Hopkins argument, he didn't do great ppv figures when he was in his prime.


    Riggadon - I think you're right to a certain extent, people on messageboards do tend to be quite extreme in their views. However, I haven't seen or heard any evidence of the public coming round to Harrison. My mate was at Arsenal at the weekend and he came on at half-time and I'm told he wasn't booed - it was worse than that, he was pretty much ignored.

    Manos_de_Piedra - I have to disagree. First, not sure how you can say I've fallen in with the "hype machine" simply by pointing out the practicalities of the fight. At no point have I said it's going to be a good fight, even a worhtwhile fight, in fact I think it could be over very soon. "I think everyone realises that this fight is just an easy option for Haye to try and line his pockets while avoiding a serious challenge." Well, yes, and that's exactly what I said in my opening paragraph!

    I have to say that I find all this talk of fighters from yesteryear boxing to enhance "legacies" a little bit naive. They fought for money, just as fighters from any era fought for money. It just so happens that for Oscar de la Hoya to make the BEST money he had to fight some pretty tasty fighters. Haye doesn't have to - he can take on Harrison now, keep his powder dry, then have a go at the Klitschkos next year.

    "You also dont really touch on Hayes attitude. Haye generated alot of publicity, goodwill and fans (myself included) for his proactive talk 3 years ago. His claims that he was going to put it all on the line, try and unify the division and bring in excitement and create a legacy were pretty convincing." First, you don't actually believe anything a boxer says do you? Second, he won the title in his first heavyweight fight (against a bloke god knows how much bigger) and has defended it once against a former two-time world champ. Now he's fighting Harrison - if he fights one of the Klitschkos next, I really don't see a problem.

  • Comment number 88.

    I really think this is a warm up for the Klitschkos. I would not be surprised to learn that they are all in it together. Haye v Wlad (he should stay away from Vitali IMO) could be one of THE biggest pay days in sporting history. Everyone wants to see that happen. And boxing a big large HW like Audley under huge pressure to perform is good preperation for Haye. I, for one, can't wait. We'll know the truth by looking into Audley's eyes as he approaches the ring. All the axes, entourage and big talk won't help him when he sees the ripped skin and blood on the canvas and ropes. He will freeze. He will get knocked out. He will then probably try again. God help him. And I hope to hell he doesn't get too hurt.

  • Comment number 89.

    @collie21. I dont think I am missing any points. We all know the division split. That is immaterial. Fights still happen. Harping on about the past is easy fodder. Hindsight and halcyon memories of long summer days are all too easy to conjure up from our dim and distant pasts. The facts are that people ARE interested in these fights. Size of the crowds? The Klitschkos fill out stadiums in Germany. Calzaghe and Hatten did it in the UK. Sure some might be down but the big fights still exist and people are still interested. Stuff like UFC is still a minority fringe sport - and a damn ugly one at that in my opinion. The Sweet Science is still strong. Cherry picking a few cases to support your stance and ignoring the bigger picture is easy enough to do. But if you look around you will see HUGE interest in this. HUGE interest in Haye going on to fight a Klitschko. Hatten fights were HUGE affairs. Khan fighting generates a lot of interest. And the main man Pacquiao almost everyone know. No, its not Frazier v Ali or Ali v Foreman - but guess what. Neither were the other thousands of fights, mismatches and generally "non interest" bouts that occurred in those eras.

  • Comment number 90.

    The bottom line is Haye is a much, much, much better boxer than Harrison. Haye has a better boxing brain, better technique and the bigger heart. He always looks as if he has a game plan, sticks to it and pulls off a pretty impressive win.

    I always find Audley on the other hand very difficult to watch, he always looks so awkward but in his last couple of fights has just managed to pull the right shot at the right time. Against Barrett in the Prizefighter final he looked sloppy and lost the first round quite decisively. Then in the second he caught him (with a very nice punch if I am honest) and that was that. It was similar story in the Sprott fight. I dont doubt that Harrison has power and the skill, its just that he doesn't seem to use it. He has wasted his potential since he won the gold medal at the Olympics. In a way I wonder if that was the worst thing for him. I think it created the egotistical 'A-Force' that we have today, and as high regard as I hold an Olympic gold medal, a boxers peak is surely a professional world title.

    How he can be so arrogant makes me laugh when it has took him 9 years to win his first major belt in the professional ranks, especially when the guy he is facing is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion and current heavyweight champion.

    I know Haye isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for the sake of boxing please let him knock Harrison into retirement!!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    Can't believe I've only just seen this hidden away.

    Ben, maybe people took a long time to respond because you've summed it up perfectly. There is nothing more to add - I completely agree with everything you've written above.

    But then pretty much all your blogs are well researched and on the money.

  • Comment number 92.

    Ben - "I don't dislike Haye, but do believe this fight will load yet more apathy onto boxing". I'm struggling to understand this viewpoint - how can that be when it's a fight an awful lot of people are talking about?"

    I think you've fallen into the trap of thinking all publicity is good publicity. Just because people are talking about it doesn't mean many people are going to watch it. A lot of the attention the fight has received has been incredibly negative. A fighter's prerogative might be to make as much money as possible, but fans watch sport to see competition. I'd argue that it is the view of many fans that this is another pointless purse-fight.

  • Comment number 93.

    I could have bought the "I don't blame Haye" line, the "all boxers must look after their purses" schtick, if Haye had not presented himself as the ultimate heavyweight throwback, the man to clear up the Augean stable of heavyweight boxing and herald a new Golden Age. If you make such high-falutin claims, you can't be surprised if you cop a great heap of ordure in response.

    He may say that he prefers this to indifference. This is obviously subjective, but I can easily combine the two. A growing contempt for Haye's bombast is merging nicely with a massive shrug about this fight, for which I shan't be shelling out the required amount, I fear. I may not be in the majority there, but I'm far from alone.

    The whole shambles merely accentuates the laughable state of the division. Fortunately the old axiom of "as go the heavies, so goes boxing" has never been more than a lazy pile of drivel. The heavyweights, with the exception of about two decades, have never been the reference point for the great things in the game. That is never more true than today - take the Klitschkos out, and we have an era where Carnera, Sharkey and Schmeling or Tubbs, Thomas and Weaver might have reigned for an eternity. No, thank God for every weight division from 108 to 175, but as for Haye and Harrison? I'll be enjoying my Sunday mornning lie-in far too much to care.

  • Comment number 94.

    The reason why Harrison is a laughing stock is because he is all talk!! He got a lucky punch against an average heavyweight in Sprott!!

    Audley has no warriors heart. Not like Haye, Haye was born a warrior and shows it in his fights!! Haye throws bombs faster than the eye can see!! Audley won't see the end of his career until he wakes up flat on his back!!

    People that harp on about The golden age of Heavyweights are living in the past, Unfortunately we will never have great heavyweight blockbusters again!! But at present Haye is the best Heavyweight out there! Forget the Klitschos, Id rather watch paint dry!!!

    Its a shame Haye will be retired in 12 months time, cos he is the most exciting heavyweight since Tyson in his pomp!!!

  • Comment number 95.

    87. At 2:14pm on 11 Nov 2010, Ben Dirs - BBC Sport wrote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well Ben my issue is that you havent really touched on the legetimacy of the fight. Youve opened up your blog basically justifying the fight on financial grounds and from there just given a brief summary about where the two fighters stand with the public.

    The fact that the title of the blog is Haye v Harrison makes "perfect sense" would apear to me to be a vote in favour of the fight happening. The title should be Haye v Harrison makes financial sense.

    I can think of several reasons this fight doesnt make sense for Haye - it doesnt raise his profile any where outside Britain, it hurts his credibility in the boxing mainstream, it doesnt add any weight to his claim to be the best heavyweight, it adds nothing to his legacy etc. These things are all worthy of consideration in my view and you by simply patting Haye on the back for being able to make millions off a dud fight it appears that you dont consider these issues worthy of importance. This fight represents one step forward and two steps back for Haye and at the risk of repeating what others have said before, if you are going to criticise every other fighter in the division, claim that you alone can breath new life into it and that your primary concern is to unify the division and put heavyweight boxing back on the map in order to drum up self publicity then I think its only fair you are measured against the backdrop of these comments. Far from actually doing any of these things Haye has simply become part of the problem and not the solution. Ever since he won his title hes been stalling a fight with a genuine heavy in order to take on this kind of dud fight.

    All of this appears to have been swept under the carpet though with this "financial sense" argument used to paper over the cracks and avoid applying some real scrutiny. I understand you dont want to come across as too negative on a British champion but I do feel this blog represents essentially a free pass to Haye for taking a dud fight without really looking at the whole story.

  • Comment number 96.

    is the fight on 5live? doesn't look like it as the website has been changed... another example of the BBCs commitment to boxing?

  • Comment number 97.

    I am quietly amazed at any real and positive suppoprt for Audley. In Boxing terms he has failed - his self proclaimed best wins have been against, at best, journey men British Fighters and some of his losses against total novices. Martin Rogan being the classic example. He was losing to Sprott when he threw his lucky punch. Audley talks big and fights small, throwing few punches and often it seems 'boxing scared' - throwing 'don't hit me jabs' and failing to use what is an imposing southpaw stance and definite pedigree skills.

    He freezes and falls at the highest hurdle and he as yet has not fought a single genuine world class fighter. His wins of note, Prizefighter for example was against novices. So, in Boxing terms Audley posseses nothing more than the punches chance, if he get brave and wings over a big left hand he might get lucky... that is no more likely for Audley than for any other fighter.

    In Haye we have a genuine world class fighter (at todays level at least, for those with permanent rose tinted spectacles) he has beaten world champions (Mormeck, Macrinelli, Valuev) and top ten rated contenders (Gurov, Ruiz) and ex world champs. His only loss was a massive learning curve agianst the former world title holder Carl Thompson - lest we forget Hayes was a novice whern he took it. He has fought better opponents and been more impressive with each step up in class. He took a Valuev fight when no other fighter would, he needlessly took the Macrinelli fight - he had the world title and was set for Heavyweight stardom, but he took it, made a lot of money and destroyed the Swansea bombers career.

    Is it me or does the Audley fight echo that. He has no need to fight Harrisson but for the cash and to shut him up...

    Haye inside 5.

  • Comment number 98.

    There are so many miserable killjoys out there. Lighten up, sport is there for your enjoyment, not to torment and antagonize you. Ok so this isn't the greatest fight ever. So what? Are you honestly trying to tell me it's not going to be entertaining, watching Audley get destroyed? Haye's fights are always entertaining, and I can't think of a more entertaining person to watch him batter than Audley Harrison. There are more legitimate contenders out there for him to beat, but really, is anyone more deserving of Haye's glovepower than Harrison? Haye is actually doing a great public service here. I doubt there is a humann living that hasn't thought at some point, about Audley 'Will someone please shut this wretched fool up'. Well Haye is about to oblige. Please show some appreciation!!

  • Comment number 99.

    You cant blame Haye for not taking the Klitschko's at this moment because like he says he will be trapped for the next two years.

    Like the deal Chisora has signed if he beats Vladamir he then has to fight Vitali, then if he beats Vitali he has to fight Vladamir again. Fair enough for Chisora to take this because he is a few years away from reaching that level, if he does at all, but why would Haye lock himself in like that??

  • Comment number 100.

    Unfortunately I think this division is still devoid of any real talent and Hayes is making the best of a bad situation in promoting this fight as important. Don't get me wrong it is for him as a loss would be disastrous but I don't think either of the K bros will be more inclined to sign for a fight with him on the basis of this result.

    It has seemed to me for some time that AH is really just going through the motions for this one and is expecting to get beat but looking forward to the payday.

    Anyway the better fight is on later from Vegas with Manny taking on Magarito at middleweight.

 

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