Hope Haye ain't bluffing again
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.
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.
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.