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The Cat hopes Haye has learnt his lesson

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Ben Dirs | 19:28 UK time, Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Pain is relative, so when Carl Thompson tells you David Haye hasn't been tested since he beat Britain's current heavyweight world champion back in 2004, it would be foolish not to take into account Thompson's stratospheric threshold.

There were times when watching a Thompson bout was like watching a sculptor working with a set of children's tools, his opponent's blows ricocheting off all parts until the tools were bent and broken and pretty much useless.

"I was thinking, 'I'm going to knock him out'," says Haye of the night he suffered his only professional defeat to date. "And it didn't happen." "I was a very hard person to fight," explains Thompson. "To David that fight was hard, to me it was just an everyday thing."

Six years earlier Thompson had brought Chris Eubank's career to a juddering halt, and only a few months before his fight with Haye, Thompson was pulverised for nine rounds by South African Sebastiaan Rothmann before dredging up a huge right hand and turning the fight on its head. Unlike the cricketer Phil Tufnell, Thompson was nicknamed 'The Cat' for his infinite lives rather than his ad hoc sleeping habits.

haye_cat595.jpgCarl Thompson (right) stopped Haye in five rounds when they met at Wembley in 2004

In his fight against Haye he was very nearly stopped in the first, before Haye blew himself out and Thompson blew him away. "I learned my lesson not to be complacent a long time ago," says Haye, "but it's still fresh in my mind." Fresh as a gale force wind.

On Saturday in Manchester, Haye makes the first defence of his WBA heavyweight crown against two-time world champion John Ruiz, but Thompson, still dreaming of a comeback at the age of 45, is yet to be convinced of his old rival's credentials, uncertain the lessons have been learnt.

"David needs to show me a little bit more to prove to me he has learnt because the people he has fought since me haven't really tested him," says the former cruiserweight world champion.

"Even when he beat Nikolay Valuev for the world title, that big guy, 7ft 2in, never used his height or weight advantage, he didn't use anything, he just let David take the belt off him.

"I'm a very hard person to please, but if John Ruiz can test him a bit more and David can beat him, then that would go some way to proving I at least taught him something."

While Thompson was 40 when he defeated Haye, the grizzly Ruiz is 38 and a veteran of 53 pro fights (44 wins, eight defeats and one draw), 10 of them with a world title at stake. His clinch and grab style has made him perhaps the most maligned fighter of his generation, yet the truth is he has one of the most impressive resumes of any heavyweight fighting today (which, critics would argue, only goes to show how far the division has fallen).

In a career stretching back to 1992, Ruiz has been in with Tony Tucker (won), Evander Holyfield (one loss, one win, one draw), Roy Jones Jr (lost), Hasim Rahman (won), Andrew Golota (won, despite being down twice) and Valuev (losing narrowly twice). Win, lose or draw, even his harshest critics would have to admit 'The Quiet Man' brings a tremendous amount of experience to the party.

ruiz595.jpgRuiz has trimmed down to 16st and hopes 50 punches a round will make him a blur for Haye

"There are similarities," says Thompson. "I knew I could beat David because I knew he had never been in hard fights like I'd been. When he came up against me, he must have been shocked, and Ruiz will be hoping for the same."

Ruiz's new trainer, the venerable Argentine Miguel Diaz, says his charge will be boxing rather than wrestling at the MEN Arena, while Ruiz himself, who has been whittled down to 16st, has spoken of taking Haye out of his comfort zone by throwing 50 punches a round. It is a tactic Thompson approves of, but he is not convinced Ruiz has what it takes to follow it through.

"John Ruiz is similar to my style in that he will come forward," says Thompson, "but coming forward is not necessarily the same as applying pressure. I applied a lot of pressure, even when David came at me I still came at him.

"How you fight David is you let him steam at you, try to blast you out, and then you've got to attack him straightaway, so that you're forcing him to work when he doesn't want to work.

"That's the key for John Ruiz, but I don't know if John is capable of doing that, making David fight when he doesn't want to fight. It's a bit too late for changing things now, and I'm not sure John ever had what it took in the first place."

"He'll be thinking that, coming forward, getting through the early onslaught, he'll try to get me in the second half of the fight," says Haye. "But he doesn't realise that early onslaught is going to be so extensive he'll be lucky to be there for the second half of the fight.

"I have to see John Ruiz as the toughest fight of my life, simply because he is. If I lost to John Ruiz, it would be catastrophic. All that hard work, the win against Valuev, would mean nothing.

"I've got to produce the same performance as I did against Valuev, pure class, pure skills, and I'm positive I will get the knockout. I'm going to have to produce something special to get him out of there, but I will do it."

There's a great line from BBC commentator Jim Neilly, just as Haye is starting to wane against Thompson: "Is he going to get a lesson from an old fella whom everybody has just about written off?" He could have been speaking about Ruiz - we'll find out on Saturday whether The Cat's lesson has been learnt or not.

As well as my blogs, you can follow me when I'm out and about in Manchester at


  • Comment number 1.

    If he keeps his boxing together, I think Haye will be the first man to stop Ruiz. And I am no Haye fan in general. But he has the power with his speed to run rings around Ruiz like Jones did.

  • Comment number 2.

    Haye can beat Ruiz. I just hope he hasn't been burtn by people questioning how he fought Valuev, making him go for a big knockout and gassing.

  • Comment number 3.

    boils you might want to check out tua vs ruiz on you tube and adjust your comments. Easy nights work for Haye this. Ko within 3.

  • Comment number 4.

    David Tua beat John Ruiz with a 1st round knock-out, but AFAIK that was the only time he has been KO`d. I think Haye might stop him inside the distance, but I think a UD is more likely.

  • Comment number 5.

    To be fair, Thompson was as durable an opponent as Haye could have faced at the time. Haye beat himself that night with his arrogance in underestimating his opponent, not getting himself into proper shape and he showed incredible stupidity in blowing himself out so early against someone so experienced. But the fight was always meant to be a learning curve and on Saturday we'll see whether Haye has learned.

    FAO Ben Dirs; Just wondered when are we going to see Boxing back on the BBC? It's a national disgrace that over £100 million of our license fees are being spent on a middle-class sport like Formula 1, which in my opinion also contravenes the BBCs regulations with all the uber-advertising present, while no money is spent on promoting boxing (particularly when we have the most exciting batch of young talent coming through for decades).

  • Comment number 6.

    I think in these desolate times for heavyweight boxing, a man like John Ruiz can be world champion. David Tua disposed of him in 19 seconds, the same David Tua who couldn't land a worthwhile punch on Lennox Lewis in 12 round of boxing.... If David Haye really think he can be a good heavyweight, then he needs to take out Ruiz by the halfway stage of the bout.

  • Comment number 7.

    Haye to win by a stoppage for me! I feel he will have quicker foot work than Ruiz, which will enable Haye to get in close where it hurts.

  • Comment number 8.

    Yeh, what a sickening knockout that Tua one was, caught Ruiz stone cold - but it's only ever happened to him the once.

    superstardk - It's a fair question, and one I'm often asked on here. To that end, I've asked for a definitive answer from the people up on high, so I hope they will get back to me later today and I can fill you in.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ben's already stated that he holds very little sway when it comes to determining whether or not the BBC will dip their toe back into boxing waters and, given the relatively small number of boxing blogs, updates and reports of boxing on the BBC Website (World HW title fight, the Champ is British and yet very little written about it?), it's clear that Ben's paymasters couldn't give a hoot about the sport.

    As for Haye v Thompson, I've said all along that this defeat was the best thing that could have happened to Haye (although, like many, I wouldn't have argued if the fight had been stopped within two rounds - Thompson took an awful battering). At the time Haye was a bit of a flash Harry wannabe playboy who relied far too heavily on his power and lacked the real focus that is required to get to the top. After the loss to Thompson, Haye took a long had look at himself and really dedicated himself to the sport. You only have to look at his physical conditioning to see that he's put in the hard work over the years and it's paid off in spades.

    Haye should get Ruiz out of there before the halfway stage unless he decides to use him to try out a few new tricks or, God Forbid, his hand breaks again. I'm hoping for a clear cut, emphatic win to set up a clash with Wladimir Klitchko later this year.

  • Comment number 10.

    @boils: Ruiz has been stopped before, by David Tua.

    While it is true that Haye punched himself out of the bout with Thompson, if you go back and look at the first two rounds again, Thompson was nowhere.

    He was very lucky to be in the ring and all he has now is the bravado of 'claiming' a victory of a vastly superior fighter.

    The commentator states repeatedly that "Haye'e career is in tatters" - well, he was wrong wasnt he and Thompson is not even a has been, he is a never was.

  • Comment number 11.

    norfolk enchants - "Thompson is a never was". Very naughty that - when was the last time you won a world title, or beat Chris Eubank or David Haye for that matter? Remarkable...

  • Comment number 12.

    Fair comment Ben. Anyone who beats Eubank has to have a modicum of respect. I thought Thompson's comments were well rounded myself.

  • Comment number 13.

    3. At 12:17pm on 01 Apr 2010, Yeti16 wrote:

    boils you might want to check out tua vs ruiz on you tube and adjust your comments. Easy nights work for Haye this. Ko within 3.


    Cheers man, Forgot that. But then again that is Tua back when he mattered abit.

  • Comment number 14.

    I watched Roy Jones' fight against Ruiz last night, and I think that if Haye can demonstrate good footwork and mobility against Ruiz, then he should win this fight quite comfortably. Before we all get excited about Ruiz's durability and the fact that he's been around the block, let's not forget that he was comprehensively beaten by Jones, who started out as a middleweight! Admittedly, Jones was an exceptional fighter, but it also demonstrates that Ruiz is nothing special. Provided Haye doesn't blow himself out, or take stupid chances, I can see a TKO or a UD for Haye. The Thompson fight was a classic, and Thompson showed incredible durability - as has been pointed out earlier, it wouldn't have been surpising if the fight had been stopped earlier in Haye's favour.

  • Comment number 15.

    Ben, Haye was in all of his 11th professional fight when taking on Thompson. He's not one for hanging around, trying to pad his record to 30-0... the same has rubbed off on his young protege George Groves who's fighting the dangerous Commonwealth champ Charles Adamy on the undercard.

    Haye has been decked before, but if you want to point fingers and call him chinny then you may as well aim the same at Cotto (for instance, who got decked by pitt patt punchers in comparison.

    It's the same old same old, once Ruiz gets tagged he's going to revert to the same style he's used for the last 10 years - lean in and clinch. Fancy Haye to catch him on his way in, and even if Ruiz stands there he does take punches and if you let Haye unload he's going to cause damage. The Thompson fight was a blip due to him gassing horrendously, as he said it's the best thing that could've happened to him as he learnt from it - the same won't happen again, trust me.

    Haye in 6.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think Carl's being too harsh, the Mormeck fight as one example is a fight Haye's had that tested his mettle strongely. Haye also doesn't fight these days like the way he fought Carl - he waits for his spots and counter punches a lot more than the bombs'away 'bulldozer' type he used to be. Almost to the point of losing that Valuev fight because he wasn't busy enough, you could argue.

    But Ruiz is a crafty old fox with a big box of tricks, a good consistant jab when he uses it and a sneaky right hand. If his chin isn't solid granite, it's pretty decent and more importantly he's very good at protecting himself when hurt.

    I don't think Haye will be looking to do what Tua did, which may be impossible to do any against a Ruiz that seemed to have learnt his defensive lessons from that loss. But speed's a killer, and if Haye keeps sharp he can get the heavy shots in to pick Ruiz to pieces.

  • Comment number 17.

    Haye should win simply because if he can't motivate himself for this fight which will pretty much put an end to any klitschko ambitions should he lose then he has no business boxing.

    On the boxing on the BBC debate, the BBC can only buy what the boxers are willing to sell, when even a lowish profile champ like Froch elects to go the Sky/PPV route, I'm not sure what the BBC can do. Since the demise of Sportsnight/Midweek Sports Special the days of seeing a decent domestic card have long gone.

  • Comment number 18.

    @superstardk - Ben will come back and say that there are alot of criteria for the BBC covering sports or even giving them a mention on their website. I would even lay odds on the response involving the words 'A BBC Sport' and/or "Olympic/London 2012 Sports".
    I also expect something along the following lines to be thrown in for good measure: "In the case of Formula 1, we are talking about a sport with a huge global profile and fan base and that would be enough to ensure we carried coverage of the races even if they weren't being screened on BBC TV. We have, however, scaled back our motor sport coverage in other areas."

    Regarding 'uber-advertising' though when referencing F1, what also happens when the BBC covers football, rugby, cricket, horse racing etc etc? Do those sports not have any companies or products sponsoring events/participants then?

  • Comment number 19.

    Incertus - I agree with your post, if Thompson is the blueprint for beating Haye then surely Jones Jr is the blueprint for beating Ruiz.

    Dave669 - You say Ben "already stated he holds very little sway"; that's written like I'm supposed to know? I haven't read every article and post written by or about Mr Dirs.

    My point is that someone at the BBC should be held accountable for the criminal lack of coverage of what essentially is one of the most popular sports in the UK. (It's actually one we're quite good at!!!) I agree, it appears that the paymasters don't give "two hoots" but why not? Who makes the decisions? Why the blanket on boxing coverage? If the decision is financial, how can so much of OUR money be justified bringing an elitist, heavily advertised motorsport to the BBC? Does it simply come down to the fact that the sport does not have enough middle-class white faces to justify the costs to middle England license payers?

    I would genuinely like answers to the above Mr Dirs if possible.

  • Comment number 20.

    superstardk - As I say, I understand where you're coming from and I have put a request in with one of our big guns.

    Ryushinku - I agree, Thompson was being overly critical, but then he admitted he's a hard man to please - and as I said, Thompson has a different definition of "being tested" than most boxers.

    coxy0001 - Yeh, I think you're right, I don't think Haye will make the same mistake again, although I'm not sure he's going to get Ruiz out of there early, he's one horrible, tough nugget of a man.

  • Comment number 21.

    @Ben - Okay, maybe that was slightly harsh comment. However, to again claim a victory against an over-the-hill Eubanks, who stepped up to Cruiserweight and managed to floor Thompson in the fourth without being able to finish him off (ala Haye) - does seem to lend weight to my argument.

    There is clearly no doubt about Thompsons ability to sustain punishment, as he showed against Eubanks and an underprepared Haye... does that make one an exceptional boxer? It helps I suppose.

  • Comment number 22.

    Very naughty that - when was the last time you won a world title, or beat Chris Eubank or David Haye for that matter? Remarkable...

    I dont suppose Norfolk Enchants is a boxer though Ben? are we saying Thompson's ever been a player on the world scene here....national journeyman at best in my 30 years of watching boxing oppinion.... the fight's not even on BBC so let's not hype it up too much!

  • Comment number 23.

    Ben you're by far the best blogger on the BBC website. You don't just make obvious statements about the hear and now, you offer historical context and your knowledge of the sports you are passionate about, such as boxing, come through. Well done mate.

  • Comment number 24.

    bestoftherest - Depends what you mean by a 'player on the world scene'. He was a world champion, of a fringe belt admittedly, and he beat Chris Eubank twice, however over the hill Eubank was. World-class? Of course not. An incredibly brave boxer, yes, so not worthy of derision. Oh, and the fight is on the BBC - 5 live commentary with Mike Costello! Gather round your radios!

  • Comment number 25.

    Hi Ben,

    Great article as ever - I was beginning to wonder where you had gone, such a long time it's been since you last wrote a boxing blog! Personally, I don't think Haye will have many problems on Saturday night; as was mentioned above, he does seem to be a lot less 'gung ho' since he has moved up a division and a much better counter puncher. Having said that, I still fear for his chin, which wasn't tested against Valuev at all. It will be interesting to see how it holds up should Ruiz connect with a big right.

    I know you only tend to respond to people either writing nonsense or abuse, but I'd be really interested to hear what you think of the Mayweather - Mosley fight? Are we likely to see a blog on this or the Khan - Malignaggi bout, both of which I think should be great fights?



  • Comment number 26.

    Ruiz is a horrible fighter and has never been better than moderate. This just goes to show how bad Hayes is if this is the best opponent he can find. As usual though, our boxers manage to get tremendous amounts of hype which in most cases dwarfs their actual talent.

  • Comment number 27.

    Ruari - I think there will probably be a blog on Mayweather-Mosley, and certainly a couple of blogs on Malignaggi-Khan. I only disappeared because there wasn't a great deal to write about - I also spoke to Froch a couple of weeks ago, so will be doing something on him, and hopefully I've got Kessler in the bag, and he hardly ever talks to anybody. The one I'm really looking forward to though is Mitchell-Katsidis. I think Mosley could be a real handful for Mayweather, could be very interesting. I'm a big Mosley fan, but Mayweather should have enough.

    Fred - Your comment doesn't really make sense, if you don't mind me saying. It's not really Haye's fault the heavyweight division is so poor. As it is, Ruiz is a two-time world champion who's fought just about everyone, I think Haye could be in for a tough night.

  • Comment number 28.

    Dave669 - You say Ben "already stated he holds very little sway"; that's written like I'm supposed to know? I haven't read every article and post written by or about Mr Dirs.
    You seem to have an incredible knack of reading criticism into posts that simply isn't there fella. Apologies for any offence caused (due to swollen sensitivity glands methinks). Anyway, Ben used to go onto the 606 Boxing Forum but doesn't do it much these days (can't for the life of me think why...ahem), but way back when, we had a thread re the BBC's lack of boxing coverage and Mr Dirs kindly came on to explain a few things.
    It was perhaps quite tongue-in-cheek but he inferred that he was simply asked to write a few lines now and again by an editor who wasn't overly interested in boxing and was more concerned with proper sport but didn't want to upset a few cry babies by not having any boxing coverage....this prior to aforementioned Editor smearing himself in goose fat and asking his secretary to twang elastic bands at his bare haunches (probably)

  • Comment number 29.

    Isnt Ruiz the mandatory challenger anyway?

  • Comment number 30.

    Haye's loss to Cral Thompson is a deifnite blot on his otherwise decent record, however as we are seeing from Amir Kahn at the moment, sometimes it takes a defeat to allow a young boxer to mature and learn from. It is difficult for them to keep motivated and level headed when they cruise through the early parts of their pro careers KO'ing everyone in their way.

    I believe that Haye has demonstrated this maturity since the Thompson fight (he got himself up off the canvas to KO Mormeck). He also fought very tactically and conservatively to outclass Valuev. People say that fight was boring, but Haye was never gonna be the first man in 50 odd bouts to knock him out. Boxing is about fighting to your strengths, and Haye did that by out-manoevering and out-pointing Valuev.

    Yes Haye is chinny, but he has the speed and power to match most in the HW division currently, and certainly enough to get Ruiz out of there. Klitschko's are a different kettle of fish however, and I think he may come unstuck against either of them. The Ruiz fight is a great opportunity for David to prove to everyone that he is a true HW. KO Ruiz in style, and people will start to think differently about him.

  • Comment number 31.

    canary - "People say that fight was boring, but Haye was never gonna be the first man in 50 odd bouts to knock him out." Totally agree, and that fight reminded me of a great George Foreman quote: "Boxing is like jazz, the better it is, the less people understand it." Not that I really like jazz that much...

  • Comment number 32.

    On the debate about the lack of boxing on the BBC, I can only agree with earlier comments. Surely their is a public service point here given that there is a lack of coverage, and therefore access to the sport, on other terrestrial channels (only ITV4 has v occasional coverage) - with other coverage restricted to Sky Sports, which you have to pay for. On top of that many of the top fights on Sky sports are on PPV (an additional payment) and at unsociable hours.

    I'm not expecting the BBC to compete with Sky Sports, but I can't see why it couldn't televise fights involving British fighters which aren't being shown else. Fighters such as Mathew Macklin or Carl Froch spring to mind. Also some sort of highlights programme (similar to match of the day) providing highlights and comment from boxing around the world might be an idea - I can't imagine that would be beyond the BBC's budget???

  • Comment number 33.

    Reply to Ben Dirs:

    I hear what you're saying in that it's not Haye's fault that the heavyweight division is poor. However, 'World Champions' are ten-a-penny these days in boxing and have been for many years and, even at his peak, John Ruiz was always a second rate fighter. I'm sorry but that is my opinion. I mean, he lost to Roy Jones. Now, Roy Jones was a great fighter but he should never have been able to trouble a top heavyweight, let alone beat him. And as Ruiz is now a little long in the tooth, he is likely to be past his best, however mediocre that might have been.

    Onto Haye, he is a heavily hyped loudmouth and he is typical of many British fighters who get levels of fame above and beyond their levels of ability. I would also put the likes of Nigel Benn and Eubanks into this category. I simply don't consider any of that group (there are of course others) to be in (or to have been in) the top echelon on their respective divisions. I would use the David Beckham analogy here, a player who is the most famous footballer in the world and who hasn't ever been world class. Maybe it's our media who manage to do this but we consistently overrate many our sports stars. And finally, back to the paucity of talent in the heavyweight division I touched upon earlier, Haye is part of the problem, not of the solution. If he can win a world title, it's a weak division by definition. He might prove me wrong but I somehow doubt it.

  • Comment number 34.

    Thanks for the reply Ben.

    I agree that Mitchell Katsidis should be a cracker with a great atmosphere in the East End. It's a very difficult one to call.

    I hope I'm wrong but I can't see Froch getting a result in Denmark. Surely there are so many times you can catch someone unawares in the later rounds?

  • Comment number 35.

    On the state of Heavyweight boxing when would John Ruiz been a two time Champion ?? or even a Champion.

  • Comment number 36.

    Fred: It's very easy to pass judgement on professionals from the comfort of your armchair, with no thought to the work that professionals put in.

    Beckham, Eubank (no 's', shows how much you know about the man) and Benn have operated at the highest levels of their choses disciplines. Beckham is worldclass: Champs League winner, 100+ national caps, Domestic title winner, cup winner, played for some of the biggest teams on the planet. You don't get there without being world class.

    Eubank was possibly one of the best fighters of his generation. Badly affected by tragic circumstances in the ring, yet Calzaghe still maintains that Eubank (albeit past his prime) was still his toughest opponent. The fact Benn held his own in that company is enough to qualify his status.

    Haye has it all. Power, speed, skill and a fighters brain. He also has the charisma to promote a fight. He gets the world talking about his exploits. The Valuev fight showed he can deliver a mature, measured and WORLD CLASS performance, even with a broken hand.

    The K brothers are wary of him for good reason.

    Perhaps you should show a little more respect before thoughtlessly writing such rubbish.

  • Comment number 37.

    norfolk enchants - "Thompson is a never was". Very naughty that - when was the last time you won a world title, or beat Chris Eubank or David Haye for that matter? Remarkable...


    Astonishingly poor reposte by Ben Dirs.
    So, Mr Dirs, have you fought Eubank or Haye? Did you win a world title? No? Neither did I, and nor has norfolk enchants. But he is still still entitled to his opinion on boxing, as you are, and I am too, with which others may agree, or disagree.

    Am I musician? No. I am still entitled to my opinion on whether a song is good or not.
    Am I an actor/ film director? No. I am still entitled to my opinion on whether a film is good or not.
    You'll find that most World War 2 historians were not to be seen at Stalingrad, Pearl Harbour, Hiroshima or Dunkirk, but yet they still publish reams of tomes on these subjects.

  • Comment number 38.

    PeterBerlin - There is offering your opinion and there is being disrespectful and, to be frank, a little bit unpleasant. To dismiss a fighter as courageous and successful as Carl Thompson as a "never was" isn't really in the spirit of boxing, however poe-faced that might sound. These are blokes who put their lives at risk whenever they enter the ring, partly for the entertainment of the public. And you will notice that when writers on this website (and, to be fair, most of those who leave comments on blogs) give their opinion on sportsmen, they take care to be a bit more measured in their criticism.

  • Comment number 39.

    Mr Dirs - you're missing my point. Norfolk enchants ought to be engaged on the merits of his argument - i.e. you agree/disagree that Carl Thompson was a poor/great fighter because of reasons x/y/z, a/b/c. And that is precisely what you go on to do in a later post.

    My gripe is this - you attack/demean norfolk enchants opinion for his never having been a professional boxer. If being a professional boxer were a mandatory prerequisite for expressing an opinion on this forum, then none of us would be allowed to post our opinion, now would we.....

  • Comment number 40.

    An utterly worthless article.

    Asking any boxer wanting to make a comeback what he thinks of a former opponent who has gone on to bigger and better things - well what do you expect?

    BBCi Boxing coverage is dire and articles like this bear no relevance to the sport, pay it no service whatsoever and do little than fill ether based column inches.

    Boxing commentary for the real fans is provided by Eastside. Boxing on the BBC website is like going to Dixons for a top quality sound system. Musings for the masses, little quality.

  • Comment number 41.


    You must read comments on here sometimes and wonder why you bother. As Fabregastian says earlier on, you clearly love boxing and that shines through in your writing, just as your love of sarcasm and banter shines through in your cricket commentaries! I also bloody love all of those things, keep up the good work mate.

    Anyway, onto the big fight. Haye has been a regular on the showbiz circuit since his win over Valuev; not a criticism, but it makes me wonder if he's cut any corners in preparation for this fight. Ruiz has mixed it with some class fighters over the years and will be a tough nut to crack.

    Hope Haye wins it anyway, he's seems a top bloke.

  • Comment number 42.

    WhitleyBayWonTheVase - Yeh, I don't think he's actually going to make a comeback, and he certainly wouldn't be fighting Haye if he did, seeing as they are no longer in the same weight division. I like Eastside, it's a good boxing site, very much for the hardcore fans, but it is currently carrying an article in which Audley Harrison says some not very nice things about Haye - funny, that - and another article in which Frank Warren - who Haye has repeatedly refused to do business with - says he doesn't think Haye is particularly good. Again, funny that...

    PeterBerlin - No, you're missing my point. Anyone can voice an opinion about anything, but it's just preferable to do it in a polite and constructive manner - some people choose not to do that hidden behind the cloak of anonymity that the internet provides.

  • Comment number 43.

    Indeed I have read those articles Ben.

    However, does anyone in the world listen to anything said by Fraudley Harrison or Frank (I resisted the temptation to change a couple of letters in his name) Warren?


  • Comment number 44.

    Great article ben, I reckon david haye will just about edge ruiz im saying that because everytime ruiz has challenged for the heavyweight title he somehow fails to impress yet he has some much experience in the ring and fought some tough oppents but the home advantage i reckon gives haye a head start.

    You mentioned about thompson and how he knocked haye and eubenk i mean to be honest thompson was in his prime we he thought both opponents. Haye wasnt that good six or five years ago he didnt have the technicaly ablitiy to match thompsons experience and punches in the ring. Eubenk was basically already past his prime and ready to give up his gloves so i mean to be honest thats not really amazing.

    I think haye since he has become the wba heavyweight champion hes been a bit cocky and played on the ali act 'im gunna knock him'' sort of role but ali could say those things because he actually beat his opponents but haye on the other hand still has alot to prove wheither he can an undipusted heavyweight champion.

    And do you think haye is ready to fight any of the klistchos brothers because they have certainly held on to those heavyweight titles for a long time i mean there really hasnt been any major big name challengers in the heavyweight division since the days of tyson,lewis and james tony. Can david haye change all this depending if he manages to keep hold of his WBA belt.

    And also final question why on earth is roy jones jr and benard hopkins still hitting the rings i mean seriously what have they got to fight for ? pride and reputation . I mean they have got to be kidding themselves if they still think there good enough for a last ditch challenge for any of the heavyweights belts i mean they are grandads nowadays and wouldnt imagine them throwing hooks at any of the klishchos bros or haye even!.

  • Comment number 45.

    Carl Thompson's first fight with Eubank at the MEN Arena was brutal and both fighters rightly got a standing ovation for their courage. Eubank had been criticised for taking a series of "easy" fights, then was beaten by Calzaghe not long before. Yet here he went up in weight to fight Thompson. His eye injury looked horrific at the end while Thompson's face was also badly swollen. Great fight.

    I also think Thompson was shafted when he lost to Johnny Nelson. His style of feigning hurt to draw in an opponent wasn't ideal but the referee stopped that fight way too quickly.

    While his world title may have been a fringe one, it was the WBO - the belt Calzaghe held at super-middleweight at the same time. So not to be sniffed at. And five years later Thompson was still able to come back and knock out David Haye.

    Thompson was never a legend but he was a one-off and anyone slagging off him hasn't a clue, in my opinion.

  • Comment number 46.

    To Shearers Deluded Receding Hairline: So, who rattled your cage then?

    These forums are there for people to give there opinions. A bit like you did. To criticise someone because they give no credence to the hard work professionals put in and that they do it from the comfort of their own armchairs is utter nonsense. Should I be sending in my posts from a gym? We could be comparing 2, 50 or even 100 different boxers and all of them might be as dedicated as each other. I just don't rate Haye as yet. As I said, he might prove me wrong. If you do rate him highly, then good for you. As for saying he is charismatic though - that really did make be laugh. He's a loudmouth who's already made a fool of himself on numerous occasion and he has no class whatsoever.

    Eubank (sorry, putting an errant 's' certainly shows I know nothing about him as opposed to your good self) and Benn were never, in my opinion, at the very top of their divisions. I'm not saying they were bad fighters. Just not amongst the best. And because Beckham has won 100+ caps in what have been mainly moderate England sides, a Champions League medal, league titles etc etc doesn't automatically make him world class. He was and is the most marketable footballer around and that's all. If you look at the real world class players in this or any other generation, then Beckham is miles away from that level and always has been. Again, it's my opinion.

  • Comment number 47.

    "Eubank (sorry, putting an errant 's' certainly shows I know nothing about him as opposed to your good self) and Benn were never, in my opinion, at the very top of their divisions. I'm not saying they were bad fighters. Just not amongst the best."

    Both 2-weight world champions and numerous title defences in perhaps one of the most competitive eras in super middleweight boxing? And still not considered "among the best?" You're a hard man to please.

  • Comment number 48.

    very good article!!

  • Comment number 49.

    superstardk - The point here is that there are World Champions and there are World Champions. Boxing World Champions are everywhere but only a handful are what I would term true champions in their respective weight divisions.

    I didn't intend to pick on Nigel Benn or Chris Eubank, merely to use them as examples to make my point. To my mind, Nigel Benn, for example, ducked, whether accidentally or on purpose, the very best middleweights (or fighters from primarily other weight classes who fought as middleweights) of his era. Hearns, Nunn, Kalambay, Duran, McCallum, Leonard etc. So, I don't care how many 'world titles' Benn won. If he didn't fight any of the aforementioned gentlemen, he can hardly claim to be the world's best.

    What I remember seeing was a little British merry-go-round of boxers who fought each other numerous times (Benn, Eubank & Watson and, to a lesser extent, Steve Collins) for minor titles and who were each proclaimed to be world champions at various times. All 4 were good fighters and all 4 were very brave and talented. None of them were in the top echelons of their eras.

    In my opinion, the WBO or the WBC International titles do not usually give someone the right to claim to be a world champion. Similarly, the super middleweight division is an inferior weight division.


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