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Haye-Harrison business as usual

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Ben Dirs | 07:20 UK time, Wednesday, 8 September 2010

"Don't care who wins this fight just that it ends in a brutal KO. If it's Haye on the deck he'll deserve to be for fighting this bum. If Harrison ends up on the deck at least it will shut him up forever." ChrisBarnes on the 606 boxing messageboard

In June 1939 the great Joe Louis defended his world heavyweight crown against a fighter called 'Two Ton' Tony Galento, a man who trained on cigars, meatballs and grog and who was described by one reporter as looking like an "ambulatory beer barrel". Although presumably not to his face.

A crude, vicious brawler, in and out of the ring, the 5ft 9in, 230lb Galento wrestled an octopus, boxed a bear and once, for a bet, consumed 52 hot dogs directly before a fight, prior to knocking his opponent bandy. A character, certainly, but a character described by another contemporary sports writer as an "uncouth, unfunny, unskilled, unethical, and unspeakable braggart".

For the record, the near-bald, generously-girthed Galento, of whom former heavyweight world champion and sworn enemy Max Baer said "his appearance alone is a detriment to boxing", managed to floor Louis in the third but was stopped in the following round.

The unlikely Galento sprang to mind as I perused the 606 boxing messageboard following the announcement of David Haye's world title defence against fellow Londoner Audley Harrison, for an awful lot of people seem to be of the opinion that the 13 November bout represents boxing's ground zero. That's the thing about some boxing fans, they romanticise the past but manage to combine their romanticism with short, or selective, memories.

Were British boxing fans as dismayed, I wondered, when Yorkshire's Richard Dunn challenged Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight crown back in 1976? Not according to BBC 5 live commentator Mike Costello, who recalls everyone saying "what a wonderful opportunity" it was for Dunn because he was "likeable, cuddly and got on well with the media".

While Dunn was likeable and cuddly, Harrison is difficult to warm to and has for some time now been a figure of fun. However, just like Dunn when he fought Ali, Harrison is at least a European champion (although he has since vacated the title), and surely that still counts for something.

And to those who might argue that Dunn's European crown counted for more because he fought in the "good ol' days", I would point out that this was a man who was beaten by, among others, George Dulaire, who at the time had won only eight of 30 fights; and a certain Ngozika Ekwelum, who at the time had won two out of five.

Even Haye is saying former Olympic champion Harrison is undeserving of a shot at his WBA heavyweight crown, but Haye knows his history and is fully aware that boxing has always been a business first and foremost, and never a truly meritocratic one.

Which is why Charley Burley - said to be too cagey for most promoters' tastes and so slick even Sugar Ray Robinson didn't want a piece of him - never fought for a world title and Galento - mafia-connected and nasty, but a New York folk hero who could have filled Yankee Stadium twice over - did.

One 606 contributor perfectly summed up the ambivalence towards the Haye-Harrison match when he wrote: "Oh dear, the heavyweight division has sunk to a new low! I will be intrigued to see it though." So disgusted he won't be able to keep himself from watching, and millions more will feel the same.

So perverse is boxing that it is perhaps the only sport whose fans will pay good money specifically to see someone lose. For that reason plenty of people will be shelling out for tickets or pay-per-view - either to see Harrison, who they deem to be unworthy of a shot, hammered, or Haye, who they feel has demeaned boxing by handing Harrison a shot, humiliated. It could be boos all round - but they'll still be watching.

Haye's mistake, if indeed he made one, was to make promises he couldn't be sure of keeping. "I'd like to fight who the fans want me to fight," he said after his first world title defence against John Ruiz in April. They wanted him to fight one of the Klitschko brothers and they've been served up Harrison instead.

Only those within the Haye and Klitschko camps know for sure why negotiations foundered and why a unification fight is yet to be made. But it is quite conceivable the Englishman simply realised he was being too hasty, that the Klitschkos could wait and that far easier money could be made. And bundles of it.

Far more than could have been made against Tomasz Adamek or Alexander Povetkin or Denis Boytsov - and if you're wondering who they are, well that's exactly my point.

With Haye driving the hype machine and the increasingly eccentric Harrison ably supporting, the next two months should be plenty of fun. The press will lap it up, the public will too and, whatever the naysayers may say, Manchester's MEN Arena will be jumping when the day of reckoning comes.

Whether the fight lives up to the hype is almost incidental. Hype is integral to boxing like it is to no other sport - not an add-on, rather an essential part of the package - so that if the fight is a let down, you can at least savour what came before it.

And to those who find it vulgar and unseemly, I would argue it has always been the case - stretching right back to Bob Fitzsimmons, who once threatened to "kill an opponent stone dead", through to Ali, who delighted in belittling Joe Frazier, labelling his rival a gorilla and an Uncle Tom, through to Haye, a modern master of what he likes to call 'smack'.

'Undeserving' title challengers, broken promises, outraged fans over-romanticising the past, trash-talk by the barrow-load, all part of the business of boxing - just as it always has been and just as it always will be.

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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm surprised at all this negativity over the forthcoming Haye v Harrison fight. REMEMBER a puncher always has a chance in any fight and there has been many upsets in years gone-by. I'm thinking away back to the 1950's when Joe Walcott, a massive underdog, who had lost to Ezzard Charles about 10 times, suddenly exploded a left hook on his chin one night and took the heavyweight title. I would prefer to see Harrison/Haye than the highly over-rated and over-ranked Lucien Bute fight Jesse Brinkley in Montreal. As they say, Brinkley, who not so long ago lost 4 out of 5, cannot 'knock the skin of a rice pudding' but the Canadians would turn up in their thousands even to see Bute fight my 10-year old tom cat, Tom!
    Harrison has a knockout punch and he's about 4 inches taller than Haye so this gives him an outside chance, only that, but to dismiss this as a 'mis-match' so soon is a little risky.

  • Comment number 2.

    2 rounds max-haye will rock him in the first and finish him in the second,i will pay to watch the end of audreys career,his scare dof being punched!

  • Comment number 3.

    Totally agree Ben and have been saying as much since the fight was muted a month or so ago. There aren't that many fights out there for Haye at the moment, and this will not only be a decent payday for Haye but a chance for Boxing to grab a bit of the sporting limelight in Britain for a change.

    I do feel that Audley has a decent chance of upsetting the Haye bandwagon. We have seen him box negatively and keep out of harms way in the past - this cost him the fight in the first Danny Williams encounter - however we have seen his power in recent fights and a late stoppage isn't unfathomable given Haye's suspect chin and stamina.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good Blog Ben, you've summed up the atmosphere well there. My first instinct was that it was a no win situation for Haye other than money of course. On reflection however, if he does knock him out he can laud it up as the man who finally shut Harrison up and ended his career. My concern is that Audley will land a lucky punch, knock Haye out and you will never witness the Klitchko's move as fast as trying to take on Audley to win another belt.

    Hopefully Haye will dance around the first two rounds, tire him out and then take him apart for the next few rounds before knocking him out

  • Comment number 5.

    Good piece Ben, although I would take issue with one para:

    "Haye's mistake, if indeed he made one, was to make promises he couldn't be sure of keeping. "I'd like to fight who the fans want me to fight," he said after his first world title defence against John Ruiz in April. They wanted him to fight one of the Klitschko brothers and they've been served up Harrison instead."

    That's not actually a promise, but Haye's wish, and surely he and his people behind the scenes would have tried to make that happen. There must be a reason why the the fight hasn't been agreed, be it the Klitschko brothers not wanting to fight him, not enough money, or another reason.

    Surely the various boxing associations could wade in to make the unification fight happen. Or maybe that is exactly what they DON'T want?

  • Comment number 6.

    Not watching. I will not waste my money on this.

    This is not some weak "I'll change my mind when the hype builds in the last few days" stance. I refuse to warrant this farce with my money.

  • Comment number 7.

    I read through the 606 comments yesterday and there was alot of angry people posting, saying they were nolonger a haye fan, of course everyone wants to see the fight between the K brothers and Im sure it will happen, (hopefully next summer)
    But for what ever reason the deal couldnt be made, so haye needed to make a new fight, these days the HW divison is very poor, that is no surprise and Harrison is very well know in the UK. Everyone knows its a miss-match and Haye will win within 4 rounds, but all the greats faught guys who were way below them, When was the last time the K brother faught anyone decent.
    Their last few fights I feel asleep watching, at least this fight will keep me awake, interested and still cheering on David Haye.

  • Comment number 8.


    I am not sure if this peice is justification for the fight or simply an attempt to put it in perspective. Either way there is plenty in there I would dispute.

    Boxers like Louis, Ali and Robinson may indeed have taken on some questionable fights. But lets remember a few things first. For the most part these guys fought much more regularly and simply couldnt serve up a top class opponent every month or two. Haye on the other hand fights every 9 months and this is the best he can serve up? The other great fighters you mentioned also fought many top level guys and had won the champpionship outright. Can Haye say this? No. He cant claim to be the best heavyweight. Had he unified the titles or at least attempted to I think most people would be happy to allow him the odd easy defence. But at the moment its pretty inexcusable.

    Then look at his opponent. Harrison was on prizefighter not long ago and beaten by a guy like Rogan who is a million miles away from world level. He was losing to Sprott (granted injury played a part) another journeyman until finding a last gasp knockout. In short, he has done nothing to show he can compete on world level. The fight looks every bit the mismatch however much you want to let hype cloud your mind.

    Then there is Haye himself who has come up wit so many excuses and talked so much bs so far that I find it unbelievable so many people are so willing to believe his every word. If the Klitschkos dont want to fight him then why did they sign up to only for Haye to pull out. Since then Haye has pulled out of every negotiation. Haye claims that he was here to reignite the division, yet his heavyweight fights have been boring or pointless. Haye claims Audley is the one most people want to see him fight - this is nonsense. The vast majority of people wanted a unification fight, and failing that at least a competitive one. Surely the overwhelming negative feedback on this fight is proof. If Haye was serious about being the top heavyweight he would be taking challenges on and not this kind of fight. Instead of saving the heavyweight divison he is contributing to its circus act.

    Lastly, and something that bugs me, is how much people go out of their way to justify this on financial grounds. Fine if your his promoter or bank manager, but if you are a boxing fan then its pretty hard to. As a fan I want to see the best possible fights, not a circus act and hype job of a complete mismatch. Haye seems to get special treatment for taking easy money fights and a heck of a lot of concern over his financial well being (hes already a multi millionaire people) whereas if any other top star like Mayweather, Pacquiao or even a guy like Khan were to pull a stunt like this then they would be massacred.

  • Comment number 9.

    And people ask why more and more fans are turning away from boxing and following the UFC and other MMA. The sad thing about boxing these days is it is all about the money and the promoters are bleeding the sport dry, in the end it is just going to spoil the sport for future generations, as more and more turn away from the sport the money will no longer be there and sport will fade into the background while other sports take the limelight.

  • Comment number 10.

    Why is Haye even entertaining this bum ? The way i look at it is all the risk is being taken by Haye. Audley has nothing to lose and as we know in boxing,(especially at HW)one lucky punch can cause an upset. Look at when Hasim rahmen (excuse my spelling pls) ko'd lennox lewis a few years back.

    The K fights are not happening for what i suspect is around the purse splits, but surely there is something better than Harrison who, as far as i can see, has fought nobody to justify his massive jump up to a world title shot.

    i like haye. he's my type of fighter who, despite maybe having a suspect chin still takes risks by putting it out there when he's throwing shots. he's also got lightning hands and is powerful. that brings entertainment.

    i still can't work out rationally why haye took this fight. if he had just come out and dismissed harrison's challenge as nothing short of somebody talking themselves into getting a nice pay bump before he retires (arrr, we are getting somewhere now!). that is what everyone thinks and he has disappointed alot of people by being talked into it.

    i won't be getting this fight unless the undercards are extremely good

  • Comment number 11.

    I cant help but have a small amount of respect for Audley Harrison. For someone with such a mediocre record over a ten year professional career, he has been written off quite rightly on countless occasions. For him and his promoters to have managed to get a world title shot is really quite remarkable.
    Lets not forget however that in recent years boxers of a similar or worse standard, Skelton and Williams have both been handed world title shots. Harrison in many ways only has himself to blame for losing fights where he appeared unwilling to take the initiative, and then coming out and afterwards insisting it was his destiny to become 'champion of the world'.
    Come the 13th of November, if he comes into the ring looking his normal petrified state, terrified of getting hit, his largely unsuccessful career will come to a halt. Its near on impossible to imagine anything other than a Haye KO, but as his last round with Sprott showed and if Haye is careless, the unthinkable could become reality.

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree completely with comment 9. UFC usually offer 2-4 exciting, competitive matches on each of there shows, and the cheapest tickets at £50 I believe. Anybody know how much tickets for this fight are going to be? I've heard cheapest are £150 from a friend but do not know where he got quoted this from...?

    I just hope for those that pay to go will be treated to a decent undercard, as I cant see this fight lasting more than 4 rounds. As comment number 8 said, Harrison was losing to Sprott, okay he landed a brilliant punch, but if Harrison was in the ring with any half decent Heavyweight that night than I imagine the fight would have already been over.

    Please David Haye make quick work of this and take a meaningful fight!

  • Comment number 13.

    Haye obviously goes in as a big favourite as Harrison is scared to death of getting hit and it really does show. But he has a big shot and Haye's chin is hardly granite. I still don't see it lasting long though, Haye is a considerable step up compared to Harrison's last few opponents.

    Good summmary of the mood yesterday Dirsy, I was one of those disappointed by this announcement yesterday. But I think you're right when you say Haye's biggest problem was offering up promises he couldn't keep. He vowed to go after the biggest and best fights and try to unify the division and this fight is far from that. But hopefully he can score a quick and convincing KO, his reputation then increases slightly, at least his ability to talk up his exploits do anyway. Plus it really will be the final nail in the coffin for Audley's career. And hopefully if it is a quick one Haye can get back in the ring within a few months with either of the Klitschko's or at least with a top ten fighter.

  • Comment number 14.

    Firstly i agree with many of you that Harrison has been a major disappointment in his professional career to date. He seemed to start well but lose heart and direction and he got beaten by opponents that he should have beaten himself. He is not a terrible boxer he has a good left hand but on many occassions he seems to lack tactical nous and ring craft.

    Secondly am i the only person who thinks that the Klitschko's have been fighting a string of boxers who you could argue were undeserving of a title shot themselves. If Haye had signed up to fight Shannon Briggs, who i hope proves me wrong, but is an old boxer turned movie bad guy, we would all have been saying the same thing 'why is he fighting him'. At least Harrison is a european champion and quite frankly im quite looking forward to Haye putting an end to his career once and for all. The guy is a weeble, every time he takes an embarassing loss he just pops back up. I hope he loses and finally retires as im tired of hearing about his destiny at becoming world champion. Come on the Hayemaker finish his career!

  • Comment number 15.

    I do hope Haye gets KO'd after the way he acted since becoming a HW. He is waiting till the Klits get too old and slow before he fights them. He has cancelled fights and ducked them because he knows he is not good enough to fight them. He refused 50/50 when he doesn't even deserve even money from Wlad.

  • Comment number 16.

    The past may well be romanticised by many boxing fans, myself included. However in the past heavyweight boxing also served up plenty of decent fights which sadly has not been the case for many years. When Haye won the title he declared that was going to revolutionise heavyweight boxing and fight the best, sadly as I expected he has been shown to be all talk.
    Admittedly I would love to see Harrison get finished once and for all but I certainly wouldn't pay for the privilege.
    It's fights like these that have driven people away from heavyweight boxing.

  • Comment number 17.

    #14's a good point, the Klitschko's are hardly fighting stellar opposition on a regular basis. And I guess that's the problem with the heavyweight division, there are no real credible opponents out there other than the champions. That's why it's so frustrating when you've got 2 brothers who clearly won't fight each other holding the majority of the belts. They know they can keep jabbing away the same old boxers and retire soon as champions as they will always offer too little to the people wanting to fight them who have a chance of winning. One thing's for certain though, although they have ruled the division over the past 5 years or so, they've ruled in a time of mediocrity. And against less-than-able opponents they've still failed to light up the place, preferring instead to spend 12 hours jabbing and keeping their opponents as far away as possible instead of trying to provide any sort of excitement.

  • Comment number 18.

    Lee Fett i totally agree - and why would Haye want to fight the Klitschkos in Germany where he will lose a 12 round decision to partisan judges who basically award the fight to 'home' fighters as was proven when Sven Ottke managed to retire unbeaten as a german legend without fighting outside Germany. The only fight anyone wants to see is either of the boring brothers fighting Haye. Surely a fight like this would deserve a packed Madison Square Garden which would be unbiased. Short of this you could list credible opponents on one hand. So why not support a British tear up and hope to god Audley doesnt win and that a unification bout happens in the spring next year.

  • Comment number 19.

    Brilliant blog Ben. Insightful, interesting, full of imagination and nostalgia. Please ask Bond and McNutly to have a gander before they post their next efforts.

    Boxing has a habbit of building you up only to let you down. What happened to pacquiao vs mayweather? Too much self-interest and not enough regard for the fans (I too however, will be watching the fight with interest, whilst thinking it's all a bit of a sham!)

  • Comment number 20.

    The odds in this fight are crazy, a lot of Haye bandwagoners can't see the wood for the trees.

    Harrison has been beat a few times yes but only Knocked out once, he was caught cold by Sprott (in a fight were Sprott was getting killed in, Much like the rematch only the opposite happened)

    Sure Rogan beat him on points but who has Haye fought at heavyweight?
    Monty 'water guns' Barret (who put him down), Valuev (did he really win that fight? Holyfield did better against him), and a washed up Ruiz.

    Haye is going to get a shock, its like FA cup Rd 3. Audley has a chance of winning one of the most prestigious titles in the sport, He'll be coming to fight. With odds as wild as 3-1 for Harrison I might have a flutter. Haye has been knocked out by smaller men and Harrison has stayed standing against much bigger men.

    If Haye comes out swinging it will play right into Fraudley hands..
    I like Haye and Hated Harrison for many many years but this a bad fight for Haye.

  • Comment number 21.

    18. At 11:03am on 08 Sep 2010, GAMBLE2510 wrote:

    Are you forgetting that Haye won the title over in Germany in a pretty close fight? I didnt see Haye getting shafed by the judges that time and lets be honest he gave them every reason to if they so wanted.

    If you also look at the KO ratio of both Haye and the Klitschkos it would be highly unlikely the fight would go to the cards anyhow.

  • Comment number 22.

    Look,i am disappointed that Haye doesnt get to fight the klitschkos,but britisch and boxing fans shud learn to love and respect this guy....for falling that giant valuev....had valuev beaten him,we wudnt be talking of him now,so lets just appreciate wat he has done so this harrison i dont know,but his name alone sounds lame,dont see him doing anything other than having his people throw in the towel when blows after blows start raining down on him(i love english).maybe after that fight,klitschko bros will be next.i never look at haye as the next Tyson,but he brought something to boxing which the Klitschkos dont,he brought back some excitment....and for u haters,i dont see him losing to either of the Klitschkos,mark my words.

  • Comment number 23.

    Great blog again Ben, One of the best writers on this website.

    Interesting piece with good points made. I can't see it lasting more than 5 or 6 rounds with 'Fraudley' being too afraid to get hit and backing off allowing big hits from the Hayemaker.

    Surely this fight just sums up boxings state at the moment. I was against UFC a while back but can't help but admire how the best fighters fight the best fighters with no care given to records they just want to face the best and prove themselves. Not to mention other sensible attributes such as several good fights on one card and only one belt per weight.
    Do you think this will change the more money involved with mma?

  • Comment number 24.

    What are the chances of one of the terrestrial TV stations getting involved with the fight? Or has it already been sold to Sky?

    This is a great chance to bring boxing back into the conciousness of the general public, to shout about a British world championship bout, and to engage new fans in the sport.

    Remember Benn vs Eubank? Big time boxing, with a massive audience. Regardless of the outcome of the bout, the winner should be British boxing.

  • Comment number 25.

    You can't really blame the Klitschko brothers for giving title shots to people who don't deserve it, there aren't many Heavy weights that do and the fact both brothers fight fairly regularly (Vitali is averaging 4 fights a year, which for a HW champ is a lot!)means they've beaten most of the top ranked fighters in the division.

    Eddie Chambers was meant to give Wladimir trouble with his hand speed and defensive prowess; Wlad demolished him for 11 and a half rounds before knocking him out. Likewise, Chris Arreola got destroyed by Vitali. Povtekin's trainer pulled him out a fight with Vitali as he realised the rising star was far from ready for a fight against the older brother, so who else could Vitali fight? Briggs is a former "World Champion" and he's american, which is always a huge selling point.

    Back to Haye, I think its fair enough if he fights Audley Harrison. It'll bring a reasonable payday and allows him further opportunity to delay fighting one of the K bros. Perfect!

  • Comment number 26.


    Seems its already done, probably signed up for a few fights. I expect it to last as long as the fight with Enzo Maccarinelli did and with the same result, Haye KO win.

  • Comment number 27.

    So whats your point!

    That boxing should become like the WWF- a showcase event where everything is based on hype and selling tickets and not on true ability. True boxing fans should accept this. Horrible! I have lost all my respect for David Haye for signing up to fight a complete washed up Audley Harrisson. But as you pointed out, money talks- and you can blame the consumers for tuning in, to watch two mediocre boxers getting at each other- just because...... emmmmmm they are British.

  • Comment number 28.

    This fight shouldn't have gone on, Its very very typical of David Haye to fight a Un-successful Challenger like Audley Harrison.
    Haye is running scared from Klitschko brothers, why not try and gain more titles within the Heavyweight division, as Haye said, he wants to Dominate the division, but fighting Harrison (ranked 13th) is not going to help him.
    I'm hoping for Harrison to knock Haye out, just to prove a point, and to show that Haye is being to cocky to fight lower ranked boxers for the payouts.
    No dis-respect to Harrison, he doesn't deserve this Title shot, but I'm going to be in his corner on the night!

  • Comment number 29.

    This bout is a disgrace & an insult to boxing. There is no good reason for Haye not to have arranged a fight with one of the Klitschko's by now. Both parties have said how they want it. Clearly one side is not telling the truth.
    Harrison is a joke & is not even ranked in the top 30. Haye is ranked no.3. Therefore this fight shouldn't be taking place. I've lost any respect I had for Haye, & I've never had any for Harrison.
    Whoever put this together needs shooting & never allowed to work in boxing again.

  • Comment number 30.

    That this fight was even entertained by Haye is a detriment to boxing and typical of a moribund and stagnant heavyweight division.

    I have been a boxing fan both amateur and professional for about 20 years and used to love the heavyweight division but since Lewis retired there has not been ONE worthwhile heavyweight fight or fighter out there and I haven't purchased a single Pay Per View fight in years (Heavyweight). This travesty will not change that fact. Unless he follows this by fighting both of the Klitschko brothers then boxing's' "premier blue ribbon" division will die and boxing along with it. It already started as HBO the Pay Per View channel across the pond has also categorically stated that it will not be showing anymore heavyweight fights, obviously this is where the money is and how long before showtime pull out, followed by Vegas.

    As a sport we are witnessing the death throws of giant Haye by agreeing to this fight has just hastened the end and once Pacquiao and Mayweather retire there will be nothing left in the sport to interest any but the die-hard fans.

  • Comment number 31.

    Will the MEN sell out for this, or course it will. Will fight fans tune in by the millions on pay per view, of course they will. This fight isn't in the same league of the late 80's/early 90's super middlewight fights that featured Benn, Eubank, Collins etc, but it is two British fighters slugging for the world crown & as such it does deserve the rocognition.

    Ok, Harrison may not deserve the shot, but he has somehow managed to engineer it thru the backdoor of Prizefighter. Haye is still a blown up cruiserweight, but with a punch & has had the ability to dodge the punches thrown at him by the heavyweights he has fought so far.

    Haye should win after softening Ordinary up for a few rounds, KO in the 3rd or 4th, but never forget Tyson/Douglas the unthinkable can happen, but for British boxing let's hope not.

    I don't think that Haye is running scared of the Klitschko brothers, this is boxing after all and as much as the fighters/promoters think they run it, don't forget the WBA/WBO/WBC etc, what good would it do them to have a single champion??

    I think it will be a while until we even get near a unification bout, and for a laugh the punching Traveller Tyson Fury could be the best of the british heavyweights by then!!!

  • Comment number 32.

    Mr Dirs is missing the point : Ali was entitled to a soft defence as was the Brown Bomber from time to time (bum of the month) because when it came time to rumble Clay shouted his mouth off then whupped Sonny Liston etc, Haye would cry like a girl at the sight a Sonny Liston. Haye coming off a soft defence against Ruiz after mouthing off about the Klits takes another even softer option against Audley. It might sell but it hurts the credibility of Haye, hurts the credibility of boxing, and the fact its on PPV is a JOKE. OK take Audley but give it to the masses on the BBC or summat. Mr Dirs seems to be saying boxing is essentially a circus which is true but no true fan wants to revels in that fact and I certainly wouldnt want to add to pantomime.

    *Burley was a murderous puncher, and not all that cagey nowhere near as slick as SRR (try Holman Williams for cagey/slick)*

  • Comment number 33.

    As scathing as a lot of these comments appear to be, guranteed we'll all watch the fight as you have to admit that it is very intriguing. True, Haye should be pursuing the best but don't we all have a morbid curiosity to see how things pan out? Common sense dictates an easy win for Haye but what will happen if Harrison does land his big left flush on Haye's suspect whiskers?
    Have to admit that I'm looking forward to the fight and just hope that one of those all to common training related injuries don't happen.

  • Comment number 34.

    Brilliant Blog Ben, and I for one applaud Haye for the way he builds his fights up and sells tickets. If I were a "successful" boxer and was basically being paid for how much I could hype up a fight I would do exactly what he does. The way he sees it the more he trash talks the more money he earns cos people will either love him or loathe for it, but either way will buy the tickets. Having people feel indifferently about you doesn't make them reach in their pockets to watch you fight.
    I am a fair weather boxing fan and haven't dipped into my pocket since the days of Lennox Lewis, mainly cos nothing has got me remotely excited since those days (not even Ricky Hatton who I respect massively - but most of his fights were foregone conclusions). The vulnerability of both Haye and Harrison makes this a fight I will definitely buy (even though I have funny feeling I'll be spending somewhere in the region of £1 per second if Haye connects inside 20 seconds!)

  • Comment number 35.

    Wouldn't be expecting world wide viewing figures to be high for this (non) event.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't get half of the belly aching regaring boxing dying as a sport. I love boxing but don't love all boxers, and surely it's just a matter of taste? Just because the heavy weight div hasn't got a many skilled fighters isn't a reason to give up on boxing as a whole? Really if you cut to the chase the middle weight, super middle weight catagories is historically where the real action has taken place.

    Regarding the Klitschko brothers. Both are good boxers and would easily hold there own in any era.

    Regarding the Haye and Audley press conference - what a joke. Both acted like kids and some of the edited comments should land Haye in trouble. Haye is a walking knock out waiting to happen and Audley barely makes sence.

    Some may like the whole panto that comes with boxing, i can't stand it. But it's good to see boxing maintains its usual high standards regarding wit, etc.


  • Comment number 37.

    I hope haye gets knocked out, hes got such a big mouth but keeps taking easy fights, if he really wanted the Klitschkos he could have fought them both already but he just doesnt want to lose and knows that a fight against either of them could end that way, i hope he gets floored then forced to retire through embarrasment.

  • Comment number 38.


  • Comment number 39.

    Hello all, and many thanks for all your comments, most interesting to guage the mood...

    Blogcabin - Yeh, I'll give you that, probably doesn't count as a promise as such, although many fans will still feel let down, whether they have a right to feel that way or not.

    Manos_de_Piedra - Totally agree that old-timers fought far more regularly, but I think the biggest problem is not of Haye's making, namely that it is not his fault that there is such a dearth of decent names in the heavyweight division. Sadly, three of the names being bandied about as opponents he might have fought instead are, as I say, Adameck, Povetkin and Boytsov - and what would have happened if he'd signed up to fight them? People would have been saying "who the hell are they". Also, I don't think the Harrison fight should be judged in isolation - if he goes on to fight the Klitschkos next and wins, then we'll look back at the Harrison fight as a money-making marking time fight, and that would be fair enough.

    pogo-stick - "The sad thing about boxing these days is it is all about the money". But when has boxing not been about the money? As I've already said, it's not Haye's fault there is a chronic shortage of marquee names to fight. In lower divisions there is evidence to suggest the bigger names are increasingly willing to fight each other.

    chopper - "i still can't work out rationally why haye took this fight". It seems a very rational decision to me - a big money-making fight before he has to get in the ring and face the Klitschkos. Makes perfect sense.

    diddyt01 - I agree boxing can learn a lot from UFC, and I also agree I hope there's a decent undercard, es[ecially when you consider no-one's expecting Haye-Harrison to go on too long. At too many shows these days the fans are royally ripped off - the Froch-Dirrell card earlier this year was a disgrace.

    Right, I've got a meeting to go to, be back to take up more of your points a little bit late...

  • Comment number 40.

    If this was a fight no-one wanted to see, why is so much media and public interest evident?

    Maybe people just want the outcome to be closing the chapter that is Audley Harrison, but boxing is definitely a long way from where it once was, that's for sure.......

  • Comment number 41.

    I think Haye has brought the critisism on himself.

    Not by his actions but by his prior promises.

    If he'd have done this, and said this is what he wanted to do before going for the big unifications, people wouldn't have minded and could see the sense and case for doing so, imo.

    I mean a couple of defences - money making - not fight Audley.

    But, Haye's brash talk and no action (thus far, with pulling out once etc), have led to a lot of people wondering whether he is the real deal or all mouth and no trousers at Heavyweight.

    Personally, I don't mind this fight as long as he does look to face one or both next.

    The Klits are getting on and Vitali for sure is already well past his prime.

    Even though he is head shoulders above everyone bar his brother and Haye.

    The longer Haye leaves it the less respect he'll be given for the wins.

    I'm not entirely sure that Haye didn't taste Ruiz's power and realise how hard and powerful heavy's hit and thought, if he can hurt me, then what can those two monsters do.

    I'm not saying for one second that Haye looked like he was going to be knocked out, but he definately had a look of shock and looked a little rattled when Ruiz landed.

    Haye's defence was poor in that fight and with Wlad's size and reach, again, I'm not sure if Haye thought - I'm not so sure now.

    Factor in that Wlad was prepared to fight Haye and Haye pulled out and that as soon as the Ruiz fight was over Wlad was calling Haye out.

    This would lead you to think that Wlad did not see anything that he was worried about in that fight and maybe mentally, this has got to Haye - unless Wlad is pulling a double bluff, which is very unlikely.

    I'm not certain of this, but it has crossed my mind.

    Of course, I could be completely wrong and Haye could sign to fight Wlad straight after Audley.

    Finally, a question for you Ben, if you have any idea.

    They have Haye down as 6'3 and Audley down as 6'4/5

    Now, when you look at the picture of the face off, there seems to be a lot more than an inch and a half in height.

    What is the actual difference in height in inches from looking at the picture? I'm assuming you've met and stood next to them both at somepoint and either know or possibly can estimate.

    Also, wdo you know which is correct - is Audley a lot taller than 6'4 or is Haye.
    shorter than 6'3.

    Be interesting to know the weight difference as well, as Audley looks a lot broader too.


  • Comment number 42.

    Also, this is a very risky fight for Haye in that, the only plus for him is the money.

    He gets very little respect for the win and his reputation will be absolutely shot to bits, embaressingly so, should he lose.

    When one punch at heavyweight can end the fight, that has to bring some pressure.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to justify this fight for Haye, there are without a doubt, far more credible opponents he could have faced.

    Audley really hasn't done anything to deserve the shot and when you look at his recent performances against domestic level guys, then..........

    I don't want to knock Audley, all the best to him, he wins either way and wins the lottery if he can knock Haye out.

    However, I can't see it. I have never seen a boxer look so scared of taking a shot, he also appears gun shy.

    The only chance he has to beat Haye is to land big first, so he better come out swinging. Head down and windmills wouldn't be a bad idea.

  • Comment number 43.

    Although I was at ringside for the previous bouts of both Haye and Harrison, I will not be putting my hand in my pocket this time around. Whilst upsets occasionally happen, there is no reason to expect this will be a competitive bout. Haye is a top-five fighter at heavyweight; Harrison is barely on the fringes of world class. Given that so many people on this and other boxing websites have been condemning this fight, I wonder who will be paying the hundreds of pounds ringside ticket price to make this a 'big-money fight'.

  • Comment number 44.

    My take on this fight is that, whilst its not the matchup the purists want to see, its a fight the casual fan wants to see. This in itself makes the fight good for boxing in the UK. As I've said on 606, I could care less about the concerns of boxing's snobs. The fact is, boxing is currently taking a whipping from UFC and has been on the wane for a while. Any fight that gets fans talking about boxing is a fight thats good for boxing. Full stop.

    Stop the snobbery. Some people are only happy when they are unhappy and some are acting like this fight is the end of the world just because......well....just because.

  • Comment number 45.

    Furthermore, I will repeat another point I made on 606. People have been moaning for ages that the HW div is messed up and weak. Then they moan that Haye cant get a fight with either of the K Bro's. This I dont understand, it's almost as if people think that Haye vs Any K Bro, will suddenly revitalise the HW and make it interesting, whilst Haye vs Harrison is devasasting and something to get outraged about.


    If Haye fights a K Bro, what then? The HW division suddenly gets exciting? Nope. The HW division remains messed up and weak, as it has been for ages. One fight will not solve that problem.

    But like I say, this is a fight thats got people talking. Boxing is now getting (and is increasingly going to get) more coverage in this country because of this fight.

    Yhea thats really devastating for the sport. (sarcasm).

  • Comment number 46.

    Like David Haye says, Audley Harrison does not deserve a title shot.
    I would have liked to see him give him a shot at the belt, but with a clause that if Harrison looses he doesn't fight again and isn't allowed to mentioning fulfilling his destiny of being World Heavyweight Champion.

    I can't see Haye losing, and I'm a big fan of his... but I hope more than ever he does the business in this fight. In fact, I hope he doesn't just win but that he makes a complete mokery of Harrison. This will make a suitable change to Harrison making a mokery of himself.

  • Comment number 47.

    Furthermore, I will repeat another point I made on 606. People have been moaning for ages that the HW div is messed up and weak. Then they moan that Haye cant get a fight with either of the K Bro's. This I dont understand, it's almost as if people think that Haye vs Any K Bro, will suddenly revitalise the HW and make it interesting, whilst Haye vs Harrison is devasasting and something to get outraged about.


    If Haye fights a K Bro, what then? The HW division suddenly gets exciting? Nope. The HW division remains messed up and weak, as it has been for ages. One fight will not solve that problem.

    But like I say, this is a fight thats got people talking. Boxing is now getting (and is increasingly going to get) more coverage in this country because of this fight.


    I understand and agree to a point with what you're saying. Now whilst Haye v Klit might be shortlived it does bring the potential of two marquee fights that would bring Worldwide mass media for both and not just in the UK.

    Which is better for boxing Worldwide because believe me, nobody outside of boxing purists gives a hoot for Haye Harrison outside of the UK.

    It'll make little if no impact on promting boxing in the heavyweight divison around the world.

    Haye v either Klit does so, if only for two fights. Worldwide it gets people interested and talking about heavyweight boxing again.

    The heavyweight divison has gotten so bad that aside from a Haye Klit fight, HBO have dropped heavyweight boxing, in it's entirety.

    So yes, boxing getting coverage in the UK is a good thing but ultimately if Haye doesn't fight a Klit - it will be a major blow for getting any promotion or excitement back into the heavyweight divison, even if it is shortlived.

  • Comment number 48.

    tommycfc4ever wrote:
    his scare dof being punched!

    Please tell me you're joking Tommy!

  • Comment number 49.

    Actually I disagree with the piece. This isn't hype, There is a real grudge between these two. They are rubbish actors and cannot hide their true distain for each other. I think harrison will be hammered, so badly it will become his new boxing name. Audley Hammered Harrison. There is real hate here, not the 'right lads make it look serious' of many press conferences, so much disdane they couldn't even be bothered to stand up and throw a punch. But since the days of Don King's entry to scene who really takes any of it seriously anymore?

  • Comment number 50.

    Interesting point from someone, why are the press even interested in this fight?

    Easy. Two British fighters, so-called 'former friends', a waste of space like Harrison and Haye's mouth. Add to that a Boxing public starved of decent World level fights since Hattons decline, Calzaghe retiring and the ghost of Lennox Lewis over any British Heavyweight, they'll lap it up. Especially the casual boxing fan who only really liked Frank Bruno and thought Lennox was Canadian.

    It's been incredibly promoted already. Ben Dirs is advocating the fight even despite he is a Boxing aficionado and I really believe he's as exasperated as the vast majority. No producing evidence from the 30s can cover that.

    It's the usual fare, good guy Haye vs everyone-hates-Audley.

    It's box office, no doubt, but quality and what we really wanted to see - it ain't.

  • Comment number 51.

    It's the usual fare, good guy Haye vs everyone-hates-Audley.

    Maybe in the promotion but if you look at the posts from the Haye fans and I mean boxing fans that regually post on 606 (not including) the staunch and resolute regurdless of who he fights, the large majority are deeply disapointed with this fight with many so much so that they have turned their back on Haye.

  • Comment number 52.

    I can run faster than you !!! Now there's some hype for a fight

  • Comment number 53.

    Right, where was I...

    collie21 - Yes, I think you're right, they don't like each other, but the point is people don't like each other all the time in other sports but that aspect isn't necessarily magnified - in boxing it is, which is what makes it hype.

    AJ_WFC - You're right, I am exasperated by the heavyweight division, and I'm exasperated that Harrison is anywhere near a world heavyweight title - but it's about making the best of what you've got - and Haye doesn't have too many options - and at least it should be plenty of fun!

    SteviebeeJ - Agreed - while a Haye-Klitschko fight would perhaps regenerate the division short-term, the problems are far more deep-seated than that.

    Lawerguy - My guess is that the people condemning the fight on various boxing messageboards are, by the very fact they're on boxing messageboards in the first place, boxing enthusiasts. I suspect the tickets will be snapped up by more general sports fans.

    five-star-reds - "I hope haye gets knocked out, hes got such a big mouth but keeps taking easy fights". But does he keep taking easy fights? he fought a bloke who's 7ft to win the title before defending it against a two-time world champion. Taken in isolation the fight against Harrison might suggest he's taking easy fights, but we can only say he's making a habit of it if he doesn't manage to nail down a fight against one of the Klitschkos next.

    Boston-Tar-Baby - Yes, but the thing about Ali and Louis is there were plenty of marquee names about for them to fight, that simply isn't the case any more, and that is no fault of Haye's. Who should he have fought instead of Harrison as a filler before he meets the Klitschkos? Adameck? Povetkin? What kind of cache do they bring to the ring? You call Ruiz a soft defence but he was a two-time world champion - over the hill, yes, but capable of still mixing it with anyone in the division. You say the fact it's on PPV is a joke, but surely it's only a joke if people don't buy it - and they will, no doubt about it. And yes, boxing is a circus, no doubt about it - but when was it not?

    desertwalker - No, my point isn't that boxing should become like the WWF, but the idea that 'personality' fights, or whatever you want to call them, of this kind are a new thing is wide of the mark - they've been a staple of boxing for hundreds of years.

  • Comment number 54.

    Ben - thanks for the response.

    Can you help with my question reguarding height and weight?


  • Comment number 55.

    I'm not sure what is more embarassing, the fight or the fact that fellow English people are always gunning for Harrison and Haye to lose against foreign opponents. Saying that, most people in the UK love a loser - see Eddie T Eagle for example.

    Regarding the fight;

    Haye has gone down in my estimation for not taking on one of the Klitchkos after all the talk, although I still want him to emerge victorious in this one. He is still a breath of fresh air in an otherwise boring weight division with the Klitchkos continuously fighting bums.

    I agree that it's a risky fight for Haye because Harrison can actually box when he wants to. Ok he hasn't earned the right to fight for the title based on any of his previous fights but there's no doubting his ability - he just never seems to want to get stuck in in the ring. Maybe things will change but I can only see him freezing up more than has in the past.

    As for Haye, he whooped Barratt and that one was never in doubt despite the slip, he blatantly did a job on Valuev who did absolutely nothing in the ring against a man half his size and then Haye whooped Ruiz who had good pedigree. Anyone who says otherwise is either stupid or Barry Mcguigan - which pretty much amounts to the same thing.

    All in all, I hope the fight is a good one and Haye knocks Harrison out and then goes on to destroy Wladimir.

    Either way this contest is good for English boxing and lets hopes its not over too quickly.

  • Comment number 56.

    #14's a good point, the Klitschko's are hardly fighting stellar opposition on a regular basis
    that's one way of putting it. another would be to say neither of them have beaten a top-class fighter in their entire careers. Vitali K's best win could well have been against Danny Williams. Nuff said....

  • Comment number 57.

    An good assesment from Vivek Wallace who boxing fans will be aware of.

    He seems to sum up the genral mood of boxing fans and is as objective as they come.

    I think the negativity around this fight is that fans aren't sure if Haye will fight either Klit after this, especially Wlad who is the live one.

    If they new for certain that Haye would then I doubt their would be the negitive response there has been to this fight.

    If Haye beats Audley and then steps in with Wlad, the Harrison fight will be academic and Haye will be lauded for the saviour he claimed to be, win or lose.

  • Comment number 58.

  • Comment number 59.

    Steviebee - I agree with that - if we all knew Haye would definitely be fighting one of the Klitschko's next then I think there would be far less negativity. As it is, there's a suspicion that Haye might hang them up before fighting either of them. Let's hope not...

  • Comment number 60.

    Dunn was certainly useless, quite possibly worse than Audley, although he at least seemed to regard taking a punch as an occupational hazard. Brian London was useless too, but got two shots at a title that he had no hope of winning. The fact is, though, that these men had at least put themselves at the head of the class in Britain and/or Europe. Harrison has not - his claim to fight for a world belt rests on winning a made for TV round robin of three-rounders, plus a come from behind KO of a boxer even more limited than London or Dunn.

    Where in everything he has accomplished in the professional ring is Harrison's entitlement to a shot at a title, however tainted and unreal? Even Pete Rademacher, who fought Patterson for the world title in his first pro bout, didn't wait for ten year's dust to settle on his Olympic gold medal before being granted a go at the big one.

    The fact that Audley has a better chance of winning than Rademacher, London or Dunn is neither here nor there. He has done nothing to earn his shot, even with the heavyweight division at the lowest ebb in its history. Strangely enough, I shall probably find something else to do on the night in question. If all else fails, watching wood warp will have to do.

  • Comment number 61.

    captaincarrantuohil - To be fair, I'm not sure he qualified to fight Haye by winning Prizefighter, he also won the European title, just like Dunn. Good shout on Pete Rademacher though.

  • Comment number 62.

    The comparison with Dunn is rather missing the point. By the time Ali fought Dunn he had cleaned out the division, beating all the top Heavyweights. He didn't turn down a fight with Frazier or Foreman or Norton in order to fight Dunn instead. And he never gave weak excuses for refusing to fight the top fighters in the division. He fought them all.

  • Comment number 63.

    And as for him qualifying by winning the European title, he beat a man who was ranked around #50 in the world by boxrec, and he himself, even now, is ranked #42 in the world. Winning the European title does not make you the best fighter in Europe. What matters is the standard of opposition you've beaten.

    Dunn got his shot because Ali had already beaten all the top Heavyweights. It was more of an exhibition fight than anything, a bit like Joe Louis's "bum of the month" series.

  • Comment number 64.


    I notice much of your argument in defence of Haye taking on Harrison centres on the idea that there is simply no better alternative.

    I would genuinly dispute this. I know you have argued that the likes of Chambers, Adamek, Arreola, Povetkin etc are not household names in Britain but fights with these guys would have far more of a global appeal. Granted the armchair sports fan in Britain may be underwhelmed but fighting one of the above names would be a global fight rather than a British side show. Nobody outside Britain will care about this fight. More people in Britain have heard of Tyson Fury than Tomas Adamek in all probability but would this fight also be justified then? What about a rags to riches Rocky story by giving Martin Rogan (who beat Audley!) a fight. That might get the average joe excited too and would be massive in Ireland. Where do you draw the line is what I am really saying. We need to keep in mind this is a heavyweight world title fight.

    My other point in relation to your argument that there are no other valid opponents is this - why did Haye wait so long and leave himself in this scenario? Hes had 6 months to try find an opponent better than Audley. Now I am aware hes had a new kid recently and may have wanted soe time off but this hardly explains his disappearing act over the Summer. He was sunning himself in Barbados amongst other things. I dont begrudge the man taking a break but I find it hard to accept him turning up after 6 months and then claiming Audley was the best on offer. He pays a manager to deal with these things. Its like Daniel Craig going on holiday and then coming back to find his agent had lined him up for an episode of Eastenders (albeit a well paid).

    Finally, and Im not sure if you are restricted in what you can say about the fight, but in your own view as a boxing fan do you think this was a good fight for Haye to take? I understand your reasons as to why Haye would take it which is in essence what you peice is about, but just as a fan of boxing yourself what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to it or do you think its a waste of time etc?

    I think this fight just has all the hallmarks of a Haye looking to make a quick buck and trying to convince the casual British sports fan that this fight is a big deal.

  • Comment number 65.

    I'd quite forgotten that his second bout with Sprott was for the vacant European title. I'd be interested to know why that fight was for such a prestigious belt, but that's perhaps beside the point. Poor old Richard Dunn, though. At least he'd beaten men like Bunny Johnson and Neville Meade (the latter became champ after he fought Dunn, amazingly).

    I'm probably terminally prejudiced about Audley Harrison. Here was a man in whom the Beeb invested long-hoped for capital to kickstart terrestrial boxing coverage. As a result of his dislike of getting hit, not to mention a set of results at odds with everything he was promising, Audley failed to persuade Auntie that boxing coverage was money well spent. He has a great deal to answer for, in my view.

  • Comment number 66.

    There seems to be some debate about whether Haye could have got a better opponent than Audley. Is no one aware of the fact that Haye turned down a firm offer this year to fight Wlad Klitschko, and was offered a 50/50 purse split and no rematch clauses? Is no one aware of the fact that in his explanation for why he turned down the fight he admitted he was offered 50/50 (which given his resume at heavyweight is a better deal than he had any right to expect), and gave the excuse that the size of the pot wasn't big enough?

  • Comment number 67.

    I love the English romanticism about fights. Sure Haye - the most exciting heavyweight since Tyson - could fight either Klitchko. He doesn't particularly want to fight Fraudley, but it's a money maker and boxing is all about the MONEY.
    If you are so disgusted about the match up, don't watch it - simple.
    Ben, your piece is spot on and has many of the British fight fans "up in arms" about the over hyped mismatch. It's always been this way and always will.
    Anyhow, how much do you want ? Chisora v Sexton seems as close a call as I can remember.
    Bring it all on.

  • Comment number 68.

    Dave Rado - Yes, but according to who? The Klitschkos? Who knows what goes on in these negotiations. As for the comment on Ali, that's very true, but I could also point out that he fought Brian London in 1966, and London wasn't in possession of any of the three major domestic belts at the time. The Harrison fight can't be viewed in isolation - if he fights another long-shot next, then something's wrong, but if he goes on to fight both Klitschkos in his next two fights, then who's going to look back and say the Harrison fight was wrong?

    captaincarrantuohil - Believe me, I'm not trying to defend Harrison in any way, shape or form, I think he's a very ordinary fighter, but he did, after all, win the European title.

    Manos_de_Piedra - Haye and Booth have obviously done their maths and worked out that they can make more money against Harrison than against any of those names you mentioned. It's a business decision, purely and simply, they're not bothered about global appeal.

    "I think this fight just has all the hallmarks of a Haye looking to make a quick buck and trying to convince the casual British sports fan that this fight is a big deal." Spot on - and it's working. Personally, I think the fact Audley Harrison is fighting for a world title is pretty grim, and if he were to win it would be disastrous. For that reason I hope he doesn't. That said, I'll enjoy the build-up and I can totally understand why Haye set it up - he's not doing it to increase his cred, he's doing it to make a lot of money, simple as that.

  • Comment number 69.

    Ben Dirs - according to Haye. He admits he was offered 50/50 and no rematch clauses.

  • Comment number 70.

    Ben Dirs - regarding London, by the time he fought London, Ali had already beaten the #1 Heavyweight, Liston, twice, the #2 Heavyweight, Patterson, and another top 5 Heavyweight, Chuvalo.

    Haye has so far beaten Barrett, who was ranked outside the top 20 at the time; Valuev, who was generally ranked around #6, and Ruiz, who while admittedly being his mandatory, was generally ranked outside the top 20 and whose last win against a ranked opponent was in 2004.

    The two situations are simply not comparable.

  • Comment number 71.

    Dave Rado - you make a lot of valid points.

    Captain - apart from your slight oversight of the second Harrison Sprott fight being for the Euro stap, sincerly, your boxing knowldege always blows me away.

    More contributions from yourself would be very welcome on 606 boxing, however, I don't blame you, as the majority of articles are mainly bias pro or anti nonsense.

    Manos - you and I see things pretty much the same way, as you know from are earlier convo on the forum. If Haye steps up after this, then it's all good, but worried he won't.

    Ben - your placed in a diificult position. Write a blog and give your opinion and you're there to get shot down, rightly or wrongly from every angle. I don't envy it.

    So fair play - I know you get paid for it, but you come out give responses.

    Also, I'm guessing you can't help with the height and weight question :-)

  • Comment number 72.


    In regard to Haye and Booth doing the maths - well its really only true if you consider the risk element. We both know he would make far more money from fighting the Klitschkos than he would against Audley. The same could be true of several other opponents like Adamek - who has fought in the States against Dawson and Arreola and also has a decent fan base in mainland Europe. The key factor is though that Adamek poses a significantly higher risk to Haye. Otherwise I would really question if Haye couldnt make more money against another fighter. I believe the fight will sell remarkably well for what it is but given the overwhelming negativity towards the fight it could be possible that projections might have been optimistic and Im not sure Haye fully realised the backlash he was in for. Do you think yourself that his efforts to present this as a real match up have worked so far? I have my doubts all though Im fully in agreement that it will oversell what its actual worth is.

    The other thing is that, we could trawl through the records of all the great fighters and find questionable opponents and pointless fights. But to compare guys like Ali, Louis, Robinson etc to someone like Haye just way off. When Haye is an undisputed champion and has taken the best the division has to offer on I will be more than happy to give him a free pass for taking on a match like this but he hasnt acheived remotely as much as these all time greats so its not really a justification to use the odd duff fight that these guys took as a fair comparison.

    I think though we are in general agreement. Is this just a hype job fight to line Davids pockets? - Yes. Will it work? Yes. How well - Not sure, we will have to wait. Will his credibility suffer - Yes. I think if you can seperate the economists from the boxing fans for a second then its hard not to be disappointed in Haye. After all his talk of reigniting the division and unifying the titles and slagging off other fighters for things he is doing himself.

  • Comment number 73.

    SteviebeeJ - Sorry mate, I couldn't find your weight and height question?

    Dave Rado - Well, of course the situations aren't comparable - Muhammad Ali was the greatest heavyweight who ever lived fighting during one of the greatest eras for boxing there ever was. David Haye is fighting in one of the weakest eras ever so he doesn't have the likes of Liston to fight - as it is he's won the title, made a mandatory defence against a two-time world champion and is now fighting Harrison. As I've said before, if his next fight is against one of the Klitschkos there can't really be any complaints. If it's not, then Haye will have serious questions to answer.

  • Comment number 74.

    SteviebeeJ - regarding height, I suspect Audley must have been wearing platform shoes in the photo, as his measured height is 6′ 5½, only 2½" taller than Haye, but he looks a lot taller.

    His weight against Sprott was 250¼lb, whereas Haye's weight in his last fight was 222lb. However, Harrison may weigh considerably more than 250¼lb in the photo, as he's not in full training yet.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ben Dirs - when I said the situations weren't comparable I wasn't talking about whether or not Wlad is as good as Liston was, or whether Haye is as good as Ali was. I was only talking about the fact that Ali had already beaten the #1, #2 and #5 Heavyweights before he fought London, whereas Haye turned down a 50/50 purse offer to fight the #1 Heavyweight, and is fighting someone comparable with London instead of fighting the #1 Heavyweight.

  • Comment number 76.

    Ben - this is the question cut and paste. No worries, if you can't help,pal.

    Finally, a question for you Ben, if you have any idea.

    They have Haye down as 6'3 and Audley down as 6'4/5

    Now, when you look at the picture of the face off, there seems to be a lot more than an inch and a half in height.

    What is the actual difference in height in inches from looking at the picture? I'm assuming you've met and stood next to them both at somepoint and either know or possibly can estimate.

    Also, wdo you know which is correct - is Audley a lot taller than 6'4 or is Haye.
    shorter than 6'3.

    Be interesting to know the weight difference as well, as Audley looks a lot broader too.


    SteviebeeJ - regarding height, I suspect Audley must have been wearing platform shoes in the photo, as his measured height is 6′ 5½, only 2½" taller than Haye, but he looks a lot taller.

    His weight against Sprott was 250¼lb, whereas Haye's weight in his last fight was 222lb. However, Harrison may weigh considerably more than 250¼lb in the photo, as he's not in full training yet.

    Dave - thanks pal.

    Maybe he does have platforms on. He looks huge compared to Haye, so something is wrong, either with the tape measure or footware!

  • Comment number 77.

    As for Ruiz being a two time world champion, we're talking about 6 years ago. if that's grounds for considering him a worthy opponent than Holyfield would be an even more worthy one.

  • Comment number 78.

    With regards the Haye/Ali comparison, it can just be simplified into:

    Ali beat the best in the division and some weaker fighters.

    Haye has not beaten the best in the division but is taking on weaker fights.

    Whether or not the era was strong doesnt matter a great deal. Its about beating the best the division has to offer. Ali did, Haye hasnt.

  • Comment number 79.

    Manos_de_Piedra - thanks, nicely summarised.

  • Comment number 80.

    21. At 11:25am on 08 Sep 2010, Manos_de_Piedra wrote:

    Are you forgetting that Haye won the title over in Germany in a pretty close fight? I didnt see Haye getting shafed by the judges that time and lets be honest he gave them every reason to if they so wanted.


    He didn't win anything in Germany. No way he did, not even on points. Twas a daylight robbery. I don't know how they pulled it off. Either the British mafia was behind it or the British worldwide conspiracy was brought in to bear.

    Don't know anything about Harrison either but all he needs is to land one good blow. And Haye will fold. But he should really watch out for Haye's elbows, knees, and back of the head slaps -- there'll be plenty of those (and the ref in the ring will be doing nothing as per usual) especially if Harrison lands.

  • Comment number 81.

    Dirsy, good blog but you seem to be a bit confused. On the one hand claiming to know boxing is a business and yet laying into Haye..

    "They wanted him to fight one of the Klitschko brothers and they've been served up Harrison instead" " The Englishman simply realised he was being too hasty" and "broken promises"

    Firstly there is a direct line through Harrison to Vitali Klitschko by Albert Sosnowski. As you know Sosnowski was due to fight Harrison on April 9th but then won the lottery to go against Vitali and as Gareth Davies put it "was hopelessly outclassed". No surprises there, that was the plan.

    Haye and Vitali are fighting the same quality of opponent...

    Secondly, look at the facts and ask yourself some questions:

    Who wants/needs to the fight to enhance his reputation?

    Only Haye

    Who have made the cash already?


    Who are quite happy cannon-fodder fighters for easy money until retirement?

    Yup Klitschko's again...

    Who are not going to take any unecessary risks?

    Oh yeah... the Klitschko's

    So take a wild guess at negotiation strategy given all that and what Haye said on Tuesday.

    Do you think the Klitschko's might talk the talk and then put a terrible deal on the table- i.e. one that Haye can't accept?!!! Haye can't disclose anything (in the hope of getting a future deal) and the brothers know they can carry on the whole charade for ages.

    So it seems rather likely that the Klitschko's are playing the business game.

    So why are you laying into Haye if you claim to be wise?

    Seems the trash talk is spreading...

  • Comment number 82.

    81. At 11:12pm on 08 Sep 2010, Bigbaldboab wrote:

    How about this:

    Who pulled out of a fight with the Klitschkos: David Haye.

    Who pulled out of two subsequent negotiations with the Klitschkos: David Haye.

    Who has dominated the heavyweight division for 7 years: The Klitschkos.

    Who has fought the better opposition at heavyweight: The Klitschkos.

    Who offered Valuev, Adamek and Haye deals to fight this year: Vitali Klitschko

    Who is the fighter thats not taking any risk: David Haye

  • Comment number 83.

    Bigbaldboab - I've hardly "laid into Haye" have I. My exact quote was: "Haye's mistake, if indeed he made one, was to make promises he couldn't be sure of keeping." Well, that's pretty much a statement of fact, although you could as to whether he ever promised anything. And: "They wanted him to fight one of the Klitschko brothers and they've been served up Harrison instead." That's exactly what happened, is it not?

  • Comment number 84.

    No Ben, I won't pay to watch this - thanks to the BBC's post Sydney Olympics deal, I believe my license fee and that of many others has already lined Harrison's pocket many times over.

    But you're right, many others will be interested - I can't believe anyone outside of Brighton ever wanted Chris Eubanks to win - but plenty wanted to see him beaten.

    Harrison understands this, so good luck to him and don't blame Hayes for taking the most lucrative fight available.

    Anyone who criticises boxers for chasing the money has never put on a pair gloves.

  • Comment number 85.

    Rob, are you seriously claiming that a Harrison fight will make Haye more money than a fight against Wladimir Klitschko?

  • Comment number 86.

    I can see this fight creating quite a lot of intrest in the UK but in America and the rest of Europe it will hardly rate a few columns in the local press. These two would have had to meet at some stage of their careers just as Bruno and Lewis fought each other and before that Cooper and Billy Walker and later Cooper and Bugner so they may as well get it out of the way. The only Haye fight I've seen is his bout with Ruiz who let's face it was never the greatest champion ever but at least he did come to put a bit of a show and I think David Haye handled him well. Apart from the Klitschko brothers who else do you want him to fight at this stage of his career?

  • Comment number 87.

    Hi rapidringsroad. Harrison would almost certainly have lost his next fight whomever he had fought, and is 39, so to say that Haye would have had to fight him sooner or later is rather misleading - it was now or never.

    You can't compare Harrison with Bruno or Bugner, who were both borderline world class fighters. Harrison is ranked #42 in the world by boxrec. And in any case Lewis did not turn down the opportunity to fight the #1 ranked Heavyweight in the world in order to fight Bruno.

    It's not surprising he was able to look good against a fighter whose last decent win was in 2004. The only surprising thing about that fight was how easy Ruiz found it to land his jab, which he landed almost at will. I suspect that may be the real reason Haye decided to fight Harrison this year, rather than fight Wlad Klitschko, who has the best jab in the business.

  • Comment number 88.

    And what a disaster has Haye's "win" [with the aid of the British mafia] over Valuev has been for the heavy weight division!

    You will remember at the time the British press (the BBC and Ben Dirs' blog included) was coming up with headlines like "Heavy Weight Division Needs Haye". Some misguided personalities on this very blog (or other BBC 606) even claimed that there was INTEREST IN HIM IN AMERICA, that AMERICAN PROMOTERS were lining up to bring him to fight in the USA.

    And look where he is now. Still hasn't fought anybody of notice. Generates exactly zero interest anywhere beyond Britain's borders despite his ugly & clownish persona, and wiggly bottom in underpants which he likes to stick into the camera for us to appreciate. And guess what -- he NEVER WILL fight anybody who's a real or perceived threat. He is already talking about retirement.

    What a disaster has Haye been for the heavy weight decision already. Lesson learned. Keep the Brits out of it !!!

    I for one knew all this would happen and am on record for saying and writing so repeatedly.

    Harrison please do us all a favor, knock him out.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'd like to echo what a few people above have said. I won't be paying for this fight.

    I enjoy watching David Haye and appreciate that it's nice to have a fight in the UK for a world title, but I just don't think it will be a quality fight. Paying for this farce would make me complicit, which would strip me of my moral right to whinge about the state of boxing. Klits vs Haye and Manny vs Floyd were the fights that everyone wanted. And once again we'll be left wondering "what if they fought" rather than being able to remember the fight.

  • Comment number 90.

    David Haye is a breath of fresh air in a division full of fighters with no personality. He certainly has that!

    I have my tickets to Manchester booked. This will be easy for Haye, people talk of Fr-Audley's big left but when it moves at 3mph it's not going to trouble David. This will be a demolition. I agree that A-Farce doesn't deserve this shot but as long as Haye destroys him it'll be worth letting him realise that in the ring. Haye is a different class to anyone out there. Far too quick, far too powerful.

    I look forward to seeing the bottom of your shoes in Manchester when your spark out Mr Harrison.

  • Comment number 91.

    90. At 10:20am on 09 Sep 2010, Paul Lees wrote:
    David Haye is a breath of fresh air in a division full of fighters with no personality. He certainly has that!

    If you are looking for this sort of thing you may aswell watch WWE. Other than abuse other fighters for the same thing he does himself Haye has not added anything particular new or exciting to the division. His opponents have been limited and all over 35, his fights have been either pointless (Barret, Ruiz, Harrison) or boring (Valuev).

    The whole idea behind Haye being exciting and a breath of fresh air was that he would actual try to unify the titles and beat the best in the division. Not just try and milk the public with these kind of circus fights.

  • Comment number 92.

    Harrison only got this shot because of Prizefighter.

    Prizefighter is boxings X-Factor. Hopefully, like the contestants of that show, Harrison will long gone & forgotten in a year from now.

  • Comment number 93.

    Not really up to scratch with the heavyweight division so could somebody tell me, apart from the Klitschko's, who else is out there that would have been seen as a 'worthy' opponent for Haye?

  • Comment number 94.

    93. At 12:13pm on 09 Sep 2010, Bearsridingbikes wrote:
    Not really up to scratch with the heavyweight division so could somebody tell me, apart from the Klitschko's, who else is out there that would have been seen as a 'worthy' opponent for Haye?

    Go onto the WBA/WBC/WBO/IBF boxing site and look up their top 10 ranked heavies for each title. Its a pretty safe bet that any name on the lists would be more qualified than Harrison. Some noteable ones would be: Chagaev, Povetkin, Adamek, Solis, Arreola, Chambers who would all offer Haye a competitive match up and are all contenders on the world stage. Even Evander Holyfield at 48 would be a more a reasonable candidate.

  • Comment number 95.

    Can't see what the negativity is around this fight - Name me one "world Class" fighter the K-Bros have fought and beat ??

    Now Haye takes on a "bum" and it's suddenly an outrage. However its an all British fight and there will be huge interest. As Ben says if he'd taken on any other contender the general part-time boxing public would say "who" and not watch !

    As for the "lucky" punch - it wont happen - Harrison will feel a couple on the chin from Haye early on, close up and be a punch bag for 3 rounds. Haye is way too quick for Harrison to land anything meaningful.

    When this fight is done, Haye must then call out the K's, forget the purse and get it done. If he doesn't then I'll accept he's ducking/mouthing/lying/bottling etc etc.

  • Comment number 96.

  • Comment number 97.

    95. At 1:46pm on 09 Sep 2010, DS73 wrote:
    Can't see what the negativity is around this fight - Name me one "world Class" fighter the K-Bros have fought and beat ??

    They've both fought top 10 fighters. The fact that there is a lack of world class fighters isn't really the K's fault.

    95. At 1:46pm on 09 Sep 2010, DS73 wrote:
    'As for the "lucky" punch - it wont happen'

    At HW, this can happen to anybody. In fact, such a punch won Audley Prizefighter in the dying seconds.

  • Comment number 98.

    don't no what everyone's problem is about this fight, yes we all want to see haye fight one of the k brothers but a deal is not being made for some reason whoever to blame no one will no for sure, but we should be cheering haye on to get rid of harrison once and for all, let haye make some real money then smash up the k brothers next year because i would bet money what ever the k brothers say they want every thing there way. Haye is the best thing thats happened in the heavyweights for years. He is exciting great personallity, i no everyone has got there own views but lets get behind him COME ON HAYE.

  • Comment number 99.

    Just looked at a few more coments on here look at it like this and i think alot of people will agree with me, Manos_de_piedra who are you and anyone that is complaining about Haye the k brothers have ruined the heavyweight division for years with there boring boxing do you really think its as easy as haye just pulling out all the time BULLSHIT there's alot more to it than that the k brothers have never thought anyone like haye with speed power and agression and heart. vitali thought lewis and looked what happened. Ok lewis has got a good record but he has also thought alot of bums and boxed people at the right time people past there time and he smashed vitali who i say is the best out of the two. So if you don't cheer on haye who are you going to cheer on because everyone else is so boring we need haye

  • Comment number 100.

    D37, you should follow boxing more closely. All of the fighters Wlad Klitschko has fought in the last four years were ranked in the top 10 at thee time he fought them by all independent rankings bodies, such as The Ring's, boxrec's, espn's, etc.; and most were ranked in the top 5.

    Vitali's recent record is patchier, but three of the opponents he's beaten in the last two years (since he came out of retirement) have been ranked in the top 10 by all the independent rankings bodies. In that time Haye has only fought one top 10 opponent, Valuev, who was generally ranked around #6; and Harrison is ranked #42.


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