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Fast start can bring Haye fever in Hamburg

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Ben Dirs | 10:43 UK time, Friday, 1 July 2011

"There's been a lot of hype, but on 2 July David Haye will be thrown into the lion's den and the door will be closed behind him. Everyone else will be gone, there'll be no-one else to help him." Emanuel Steward, Wladimir Klitschko's trainer.

You hear it from boxers before every fight: "I'm in the best shape of my life." You hear it from journalists, keen to let others know they have been granted access to a boxer's inner sanctum: "I watched him in the gym, and he's never looked so good."

But in boxing, the clues to the outcome of a fight are more often locked away inside a boxer's mind than written large across his chiselled torso.

Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye eye each other

Haye will finally face one of the Klitschko brothers on Saturday night. Photo: Getty

David Haye polarises opinion, partly because no-one really knows who or what he is. Is he the obnoxious boor his tasteless stunts would suggest? Or a nice guy, but a huckster with it? Just playing the game, cranking up the interest, messing with Wladimir Klitschko's mind.

Wladimir's big brother Vitali reckons it is all an act and that all the games are mixing Haye up inside.

Emanuel Steward, Wladimir's trainer, believes Haye is high on the hubris created by those around him and that he will shrivel when the first bell rings: "That's what he'll experience in that first round, he'll be on his own, all the games will be unimportant and he'll be eaten up in the big, hungry lion's den."

And this is the rub: if it is all an act, and he is not the buffoon a lot of people think he is, then maybe he is not as unflappable as he wants everyone to believe, either.

I have it on good authority he is prone to the odd pre-fight anxiety attack, and while he has fought in a few lion's dens before, he has never seen a den as big the one he will be thrown in on Saturday night.

For Wladimir, meanwhile, the 45,000 capacity Imtech Arena is home from home. Wladimir's last three encounters, all of them stadium fights, have been watched by 155,000 paying customers.

Steward is confident his charge will follow orders and keep his shape because he knows Wladimir is essentially a conservative fighter and he has seen him do it all before.

Haye claims he has a whole new game-plan for Wladimir, but when he climbs through the ropes, gets under those lights and looks out into the dark expanse, will the doubts creep in and will he revert to type? If so, he could be in for a painful night.

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The suspicion is, Haye's usual tactic of standing off and restricting himself to occasional sorties will not cut it against Wladimir.

It worked against Nikolay Valuev, the giant Russian from whom Haye won the WBA belt in 2009, because Valuev is an ordinary fighter.

Stay at range for long periods against Wladimir, however, and allow him to get into a groove and he will jab your head off for 12 rounds, without even needing to unsheathe his right hand.

The hope, for Haye fans, is that the Englishman is not bluffing and that this new game-plan includes an increased work-rate and far more explosions: the three men to have beaten Wladimir did not stand off, they came forward and attacked from the start.

Ross Puritty, a journeyman heavyweight who knocked out Wladimir in 11 rounds in 1998, demonstrated that a granite jaw combined with perseverance could get the job done.

Corrie Sanders, who knocked Wladimir out in two in 2003, demonstrated that showing a complete lack of respect, and a total disregard for one's own safety, could also leave Wladimir reeling.

But a front-foot strategy comes with inherent risks: Lamon Brewster had to absorb so much punishment in his fight with Wladimir, he was on the floor a round before the fight ended and almost out on his feet when he landed the knockout blow.

Which takes us to the two killer questions: can Haye suck it up like Brewster, in order to detonate bombs of his own? And does he have the stamina, like Puritty, to keep relighting fuses if his early bombs do not go off?

One argument is that Haye answered any questions about his punch-resistance and stamina by going 12 rounds with Valuev.

But against Valuev he fought in spurts; Valuev does not have a jab like a swinging log, as Wladimir has; and Valuev, unlike Wladimir, was not in the habit of crashing down on his opponents like a breaking wave.

All that leaning and shoving would break the resolve of a packhorse, which makes you think Haye, never a fan of roadwork, has to jump on Wladimir early - which is easier said than done.

In Wladimir's last fight but one, against Eddie Chambers, you could hear the American's corner imploring him between rounds to "do your thing and get inside". They had clearly come with a game-plan, but they were unable to implement it. And no wonder.

Wladimir is a far better fighter now than the one blasted out by Brewster in 2004. He looks more comfortable on the back foot - and he takes even fewer risks.

"If Wladimir was more aggressive he'd be the most dangerous heavyweight in history," says Steward, who was demonstrably frustrated that it took his man 12 rounds to get rid of Chambers.

Predicting the outcome of a heavyweight contest is a fool's game - but, luckily, I don't mind being labelled a fool.

Expect Haye to come in light, to gamble it all on speed and to come out all guns blazing. And, if you are a fan, hope he rips Wladimir's head off early - because, if it goes beyond four rounds, Wladimir will drag him out to sea and drown him.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Having seen Haye practicing SouthPaw and knowing he is a fan of Rocky movies - Hayes tactic will be to switch to SouthPaw in round 2 a la Rocky III - 'that aint so bad' do it for Mickey!

  • Comment number 2.


  • Comment number 3.

    Love to see Haye do it, but I fear that Wlad will be too big and strong.

  • Comment number 4.

    Bold prediction there Ben. What makes you think Wlad is smart enough to be able to catch up to Haye or be able to time Haye's lateral movement within four rounds? Watch a Wlad highlight reel and you'll see him felling inanimate objects utterly devoid of movement. Stand in front of him and offer him no angles and yes, he'll jab your head off but is Haye going to stand in front of him? No.

    Saying Wlad's a far better fighter now than the version who lost to Brewster is like saying circa 1995 Bruno was a better fighter than the version who was beaten by Bonecrusher Smith

  • Comment number 5.

    The Valuev fight is a misleading benchmark of what Haye will do: Valuev is a journeyman with height, weight and reach his only advantages, and got a gameplan tailored accordingly. Haye must know he has zero chance of a points victory, so his gameplan for this fight must include a knock-out.

    However, anyone expecting a kamikaze mission of the type Ben describes is also likely to be disappointed. David Haye is not some chancer who needs to take a desperate roll of the dice. I can't imagine he will show his hand in the first couple of rounds, as the chances of knocking out a completely fresh boxer of Klitschko's quality are slim to none. He'll need a plan to wear him down a little first.

    The fight is a proper 50/50, as neither outcome would be a real upset. This is rare in the heavyweight division, and what makes it so keenly anticipated. Like Ben, I'm not putting up any hostage to fortune by picking a winner.

  • Comment number 6.

    I suppose it just comes down to whether Haye engages or circles the ring like the Valuev fight. Hayes secret tactics just seem like hype.

    I don't see it happening for Haye, never did. Wlad just has too many of the advantages.

    Even if Haye comes out blazing he still has to get pasts Wlad's long arms. By throwing caution to the wind Haye also opens up his own chin and a solid straight right landed from Wlad has the potential to end the fight.

    I see Haye being very cautious initially as per the Audley fight. He might then try to nail Wlad in the third of fourth. If that doesn't work he will run around the ring until Wlad eventually catches up with him.

  • Comment number 7.

    Throw a punch at Wlad and watch him go to pieces. Even against the likes of the light punching Chambers he was on the back foot as soon as any leather was thrown. Just like Audley, he simply doesn't like getting hit.

    Haye needs to whizz a few past his whiskers and put Wlad into defensive mode thus taking away the jab.

    Wlad's jab for it's supposed ramrod effect, can also be quite lazy especially in the return phase. It doesn't come straight back to the chin (as one would think someone like Steward would have drilled into him) and he hangs it dangerously low. With Haye's advantage in speed and timing, I think there's every chance he times a right cross over the top and catches Wlad cleanly leading to an early night.

  • Comment number 8.

    Ben's way off. Haye doesn't have to stand inside to get off power shots unlike virtually all VK's opponents - those he's beaten and lost to. They couldn't hit him without getting getting hit but Haye can due to speed / angles etc. Of course Vlad could win, its heavyweight boxing but the idea that Haye's done if it goes past 4 rounds is nuts

  • Comment number 9.

    On the point of stage fright in the article I thought Haye stubbled over his words a bit at Mondays press conference.

    I could understand him being nervous given the significance of the fight and having to do public speaking.

    It has often been said the people who appear most calm in life use there outward persona to cover there inner nervousness. The serene swan furiously kicking it's legs under the water and all that.

    Personally I think both men will be very nervous come Saturday night but as Gus D'Amato said how fighters react to the nerves is what separates winners from losers.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh and yes Valuev is an ordinary boxer but an extraordinary opponent. Vlad could have fought him to get the WBA belt and didn't....that has to tell you something

  • Comment number 11.

    I've heard the Ring will be 24ft...surely that has to favour Haye?

  • Comment number 12.

    Theres no way Booth will send in Haye to blindly throw bombs, its not in either of their nature. I expect a plan as suggested by Dave669, good movement with the intention of timing over-hand rights over Wlad's jab, the height difference may hamper this but I think that will be the plan.

    My guess is Wlad jabs him to pieces stopping him in 9 or 10, but if Haye gets Wlad going I think he'll finish him.

  • Comment number 13.

    Just looking at the weigh-in on Sky.

    Haye 15 stone 3
    Wlad 17 stone 5

    Both fighters in great condition. It's amazing how muscular these big men are.

    Haye looked like he was over egging it a bit. Wlad just had the face of steely determination.

  • Comment number 14.

    Haye is lighter, smaller, faster and yet a bigger puncher. Can't see Vladimir causing any problems other than by hugging Haye to death.

  • Comment number 15.

    totally agree with 4dam, if Haye wobbles Wlad I can see him finishing the big man. However I don't see it happening, I think Haye will be overly cautious and Wlad will run out with a comfortable -and extremely ugly to watch - points decision.

  • Comment number 16.

    At 13:50 1st Jul 2011, aka_bluepeter wrote:

    Haye is ... a bigger puncher...


    Who did he punch?

  • Comment number 17.

    Ben any chance of expanding a bit on this 'good authority' that he suffers anxiety attack before fights? I am not doubting it but you are being vague with it. Are they serious attacks or just over anxiousness?

  • Comment number 18.

    Haye's Mercedes

    sometimes car owners get to look like their cars, no?

  • Comment number 19.

    Both Haye and WK are suspect in the chin area in a way that for example Carl Froch is not. But in Haye's case the KO by Cat was down to inexperience ever since then he has not really seemed in trouble even when on the canvas. WK is completely different as he does seem to go to pieces, but show great heart in the first Peter fight to get up (although Peter ran out of steam). In the chin department WK seems to have a bigger problem than Haye.

    But Ben really should know better than to talk about the WK as if it was a thing of technical perfection. The WK is deeply flawed technically. When he uses it correctly it is excellent but most of the time he paws with it rather than using it as a fast hard punch. That is exactly the flaw Sanders spotted. By pawing with the jab WK is very vulnerable to a fighter with fast feet - move outside the jab and because it is not withdrawn into a guard position the whole left side of WK is open.

    Very simply if WK paws with the jab against Haye, Haye wins. He wins by stepping to his right, outside the jab for 2 rounds and throwing body shot bombs to the left side of WK, that drops the WK left hand and so opens up WK to a right hook to the head. Might even be quicker if you go for a combination right hook to body followed by straight left to jaw.

    For WK to win he has to use the jab as a fast hard punch and vary it - sometimes a double jab, sometimes turning it to a hook - WK has to make Haye move to his left and towards the WK right hand.

    Haye should be the favourite here. Speed of foot and hand is more important the size. For the long term future of heavyweight boxing it is critical that Haye wins so that we move away from the era of lumbering giants and back to proper athletes. Lets be honest both WK and VK are decent boxers but they hold the titles mostly because they are dedicated and turn up to fights as fit as they can be (as does Haye), whereas most of their opponents look as the only conditioning training they do is to walk from Sofa to fridge and back again

  • Comment number 20.

    DAVE669 - Hello mate. I didn't say Wlad would beat him inside four rounds, I said if Haye doesn't get him out of there early, it will be a tough ask. And I'm not sure Haye's as elusive as you think he is - he doesn't move his head like Tyson, that's for sure. And no, saying Wlad's a far better fighter now than the version who lost to Brewster is not like saying Bruno circa 1995 was a better fighter than the version who was beaten by Bonecrusher Smith. Some fighters improve, some fighters don't. Agree about Wlad's jab, though, he brings it back to his hip.

  • Comment number 21.

    Tim - I'm not so sure. I know Haye doesn't run more than 400m at a time, so I'm not sure he wants to be dragging things out. Then again, I could be completely and utterly wrong!

    sirHellsBells - Something that happened before his fight against Maccarinelli, which suggests he not as ice cool as he'd like us to believe.

    Justin150 - I didn't describe Wlad as a thing of technical perfection, I said he had a good left hand. You're right, though, only when he throws it with any real conviction.

  • Comment number 22.

    why this mythical 4 rounds? the chances are the first couple will be cagey anyway. I can't see Haye losing on points. At some point Haye will catch him and when he does there's a high chance its all over. If Haye lands like he did against Ruiz or Valuev, that'll be it

  • Comment number 23.

    This is great

    The first time in God knows how long we can be excited about the Heavyweight Division.

    I dont think either fighter is as good as they think they are but I reckon Haye might just knock him out early doors as Booth knows they can not take this one into the latter rounds. As it has been said on here, Haye doesnt like the hard work so why would he fight all night when he can get rid of this clown early.

    Vitali is another matter though.

  • Comment number 24.

    "9. At 13:14 1st Jul 2011, Strongback wrote:
    On the point of stage fright in the article I thought Haye stubbled over his words a bit at Mondays press conference."

    Must have been the beard...

  • Comment number 25.

    Will it really be a tough ask for Haye if he doesn't get Wlad out of there early? If Haye can't avoid the jab, I bet Steward begs Wlad to get the job done asap like he did with Lewis v Holyfield and Tyson. Wlad isn't the kind of fighter to toy with an opponent and even he won't risk the possibility of Haye taking one last swing for the fences. If Haye hasn't managed to get Wlad out of there by the fourth due to his failure to deal with the jab, surely Wlad will have taken him out before that point.

    The other possibility is that by round four Wlad still hasn't got to grips with Haye's movement around the ring which, at 24 ft, will give Haye ample room to keep moving (may as well have fought on the football pitch for all the advantage that gives Wlad).

    Groves had Degale flummoxed til round eight or nine, Sturm couldn't adapt to Macklin for at least eight. Who says Wlad is such a great ring general that he can nullify these slick, elusive fighters? Simply put, he's hardly fought any and maybe there's a reason for that. Like Haye said to him, "If you could find a sparring partner to replicate my style, he would have already knocked you out."

    As for Bruno... after being KO'd by Smith, he improved slightly (learned how to grab and hold a little more) but when he got tagged he was still, to quote Sandie Shaw "like a puppet on a string". Methinks Wlad will be no different.

  • Comment number 26.

    fast start is the one thing that won't happen, I think we can all agree on that.

  • Comment number 27.

    Some good audio from 'Big' George Foreman on the website - mainly because he agrees with me...

  • Comment number 28.

    Everything in this fight is set against Haye and it surprises me Haye is so short in the betting markets. Haye is fighting Wlad in Germany where the chances of Haye getting a decision over 12 rounds will be very tough. This takes Haye out of his natural fight game plan against Wlad K. Haye would be best served using speed and movement against Wlad, but that is unlikely to yield a stoppage or points win.
    Therefore Haye is forced to engage Wlad. I don't see how Haye at 30lbs lighter and smaller in size is going to bully Klitschko.
    I see nothing but a UD for Wlad K on this one.

  • Comment number 29.

    Jim Watt reckons Haye loses. Given his previous record, surely that pretty much guarantees a Haye win

  • Comment number 30.

    Haye fighting Ruiz or Valuev tell us nothing about his chances here.His opponents have been far less dangerous than Klitschkos,no punchers like Sam Peter and Brewster,no slicksters like Chambers and Byrd,no toughmen such as Changaev.Ruiz is the only Heavy to lose titles to two former middleweights.Valuev was beaten easily by Changaev and really by 47 year old Holyfield.Davids been doing it with smoke and mirrors and the wheels are about to fall off.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sensational fight on the way. Wrote a blog on upcoming fight and would be interested to hear any comments on what i have written. Cheers.

  • Comment number 32.

    Comparisons with Rocky Balboa's bout with Ivan Drago are obvious, but does David Haye have the heart and will of the Philadelphia slugger? Does he have the will to win? the desire to go one more round that will make all the difference? Haye needs to take advice from Balboa, who back in the late '80's was training soon to be Heavyweight Champion Tommy Gunn. Balboa emphasised "side to side lateral movement, like a windscreen wiper". If Haye follows Balboa's lead then the world will be shocked, as it was back on christmas day 1984.

    I hope Haye does it, but Klitschko will win this one by knockout. However, all of boxing yearns for a warrior who will thrill us with their passion.

  • Comment number 33.

    Wvlad is robotic. Haye will run rings around him and knock him out cold inside 8 rounds. There, I've said it.

  • Comment number 34.

    the only think Haye has in common with Brewster is the hair do

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    Brewster doing good here

  • Comment number 35.

    Ben any danger of pulling yourself out of the back of Klitschko for long enough to write a decent article?

  • Comment number 36.

    "Haye fighting Ruiz or Valuev tell us nothing about his chances here" Obviously not true, he put Ruiz on his arse and shook Valuev - it tells us Haye has the power at heavyweight to knock Wlad K over

  • Comment number 37.

    Alrity Dudes! If this is where we all go for our predictions (now that Ben has almost slipped off the fence...) this will be a Haye KO win.

    He's just too thoughtful and too good. He'll take a few punches, he'll find the angle, he'll connect and then follow up relentlessly. Might be just a RSF, but the job will be done. Can't believe so many boxing 'enthusiasts' have been so swayed simply by a long left arm. Wlad is a good guy, an educated guy, but Haye in not in the mood to look for kind praises, he's in an altogether different place, and wow, beware!

  • Comment number 38.

    Awful article. Seems to personally not like Haye which is interesting as he is so popular with English fans. Once Haye knocks out Klitschko I expect ben dirs to bend over...

  • Comment number 39.

    NFFC86 - By 'decent', do you mean an article you agree with?

    justbringit - Excuse me? Where have I said I don't like Haye? I like him, I think beneath all the bluster he's a decent guy. My point is, a lot of people don't - I'd check some of the comments on previous blogs if you think he's universally popular with English fans. I also said he could knock Klitschko out. Not sure where you're coming from.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'll predict that Haye gets knocked out in the final few rounds, but - contrary to established opinion - while winning on points.

    He'll duck and weave, Wlad will hardly throw a power punch in the first half of the fight, but will land a bomb on a tiring Haye late on.

    Vitali then fights Haye in September, postponing the Adamek fight with the official justification being that the new stadium set to be used as the venue won't be ready in time (and in fairness, it won't).

    Haye certainly has a lot more than a puncher's chance here, but I for one don't feel like I can back a Klitschko to lose.

  • Comment number 41.

    Firstly Ben thank you for replying to my question, a thing a few of your colleagues could learn from.

    I was unaware of that before his Enzo fight, although I suppose he wouldnt be human if he didnt get nervous and he didnt seem to affect his performance in the ring on the night. I wonder if it happens when he is hotly tipped to win i.e. Enzo & Audley?

    I still think we are going too far in our estimation of Wlad boxing ability, his sheer size gives him a number of advantages but I still dont put him in the Lewis bracket in terms of ability. He does not react well to getting hit either. The only draw back for Haye fans is that we cant really say how good he is at this weight until he fights Wlad due to his previous opponents.

    I do believe that should he dispatch Wlad that Vitali will go the same way, maybe 7 years back Vitali would be the strong favourite but 3 years out with a knee problem and approaching 39 means he will be easy to hit and move against.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think everyone is forgetting about one man Haye fought at HW; Monte Barrett! Surely the way he blew him away is a warning of WK!

    justbringit - there was nothing anti-Haye about what Ben wrote. And even if there was, it is a blog; he is supposed to give his opinion. You don't have to agree with it. I for one do not. I cannot see how this will NOT go to the second half of the fight. There is just too much at stake. And i really can't see it going to points either. This will be stopped in the second half for sure. And I have put my money where my mouth is.

    SO let's keep Ben sat at his desk rather than bending over allowing him to write more quality articles.

    But Ben - any more info on the pre-fight nerves against Mac? And surly once doesn't mean he is prone to it? Maybe there was a valid reason for it? The thought of Enzo in the opposing corner would make any man nervous!

  • Comment number 43.

    Lets face it this is the first "live" heavyweight title fight since Lennox and VK got it on.

    Since then VK and WK have faced a right collection of lumbering lardies. Some of them made George Foreman (in his second coming) look quick and light on his feet.

    This is not a criticism of WK and VK, you can only beat what is put in front of you, but neither of them have had a live opponent for years and that will make a difference.

    Ultimately neither WK and VK are much more than good average HW champions (at least from a historical perspective). We are not talking about Ali and Joe Louis here. They would each probably make the top 20 of all time HW champions but not much higher.

    The fight is made more exciting as both men have shown themselves to be vulnerable in the chin area and both men are proven KO punchers.

    I really doubt this will go to the judges after 12 rounds. It has KO result written all over it (given my prediction track records every one should now bet on a points decision!)

    As Manny has shown time and time again, speed of foot and hand will beat a bigger opponent. Everything turns on what fight Haye has decided to fight and whether he can have enough head movement to nullify the WK jab. If Haye is willing to fight for 3 mins a round, work on the lateral movement, quick in and out style, then I just cannot see WK lasting 8 rounds.

    As boxing is so unpredictable anyone know what the odds of a KO by end of round 4 are (either fighter) - must be a good bet

  • Comment number 44.


    KO end of round 4?! that is very exact! Got to be around 15 to 20s for that for either fighter. Who are you favouring?!

  • Comment number 45.

    Ben, this blog is a complete shambles. It's as though you want the British boxer to lose! You should be supporting Haye yet all you do is put him down, pick out his faults while highlighting his opponents weaknesses. It's a joke. Yes Haye only sprints 400m at a time. If you had any idea about fitness and raining techniques you would know that this is the correct thing to do. It makes him more sharp, alert and explosive. Traits you don't get from long distance running. He used to do long distance runs but changed to sprints as they are proven to be more beneficial. After all boxing is more about muscular endurance than cardiovascular endurance. Throwing punches all the time isn't economic and it's wasteful. Short flurys or power is what you need.

    And for the love of god support the home grown talent. Let's not put him down before he's had a chance to win. I for one feel Haye can pull this off but it won't be easy.

  • Comment number 46.

    Hahaha, i meant highlighting his opponents stengths. It's been a long day!

  • Comment number 47.


    Can get 28/1 on Wlad and 18/1 on Haye to end it in round 4.

    I agree with comment 30 although I hope Haye is the real deal and can shake up Wlad and Vitali down the line. If he does lose though, I will always have respect for Haye because he is not a genuine heavyweight but had the guts to call these guys out.

  • Comment number 48.

    Matt (45) - You seem to be saying you want your BBC journalists to be cheerleaders for British sportsmen. That's not our job. If I think someone has a better chance of winning than someone else, it's my job to say so. Klitschko is the bookies favourite because more people agree with me than you. Also, if you knew anything about boxing training, you would know that most boxers mix short, explosive interval training with longer runs - the longer runs are what instill in the body the ability to endure long, hard fights. And no, it is not normal for a fighter to only limit his distance to 400m. I understand why he does it, because that's how he fights, in fits and starts, but my point is he might have to do more than fight in fits and starts to win this fight.

  • Comment number 49.

    Matt is absolutely write about road work, boxing is not an aerobic sport, and most gyms are now getting rid of long distance road work, all its really usefl for is getting the weight down, which is pointless for Haye. Finding some steps, hills, football pitch or whatever and doing hard sprint workouts is far more beneficial to boxers.

  • Comment number 50.

    James_Toneys_gut - Sorry mate, but Matt is not absolutely right regarding boxing road work. It is not the norm for a boxer to not run more than 400m. I'm not talking about getting up in the morning and going for a 12 mile jog, but most boxers will run at least a couple of miles a day (depending at what stage they are in their training). And there are even interval sessions which involve 800m 'sprints'. Manny Pacquiao, when he's in intensive training, does 50-minute uphill runs, every day, and that's not just to get the weight off! Long runs aren't necessarily the best way to get weight off anyway - I lost 20 pounds in six weeks recently, and I didn't run more than a couple of miles at a time.

  • Comment number 51.

    Had to throw your weight loss in there didnt you Ben haha!

    long road work is an effective form of exercise for weight loss, remember how fleshy Juan Diaz used to look, apparently he did swimming instead of road work, Pacquiao is something of a machine, a guy Hayes size would not ever be able to do the same level of road work as a guy Manny's size. It sounds like what manny is doing is high intensity sprint work still. You might be right about Haye not doing enough road work, but its pretty commonly excepted among the more forward thinking gyms, that long jogs are useless for a boxer, I'm not saying its useless for fitness in general, but it doesnt directly lend itself to our sport.

  • Comment number 52.

    Have to agree Matt #43. Ben you did focus a lot on Haye's weaknesses and not a great deal on Wlad's! Read your blog over if you don't believe me;) In common with quite a few British journalists I might add.

    Hatton never seemed to get this treatment, not that it made any difference.

    Probably reflects journalists' being a little uncomfortable with Haye's outspoken and brash style. Its clearly a put on for the cameras. Project a persona, the more outrageous the better, let the media and opponent focus on that, and concentrate on your fight plan undisturbed.

    Ali was a bit more elegant at it but it was the same approach nevertheless. Of course the same approach backfired on DeGale. I guess it depends on how much notice Haye pays of the media and his own hype. I suspect very little of the latter, not sure about the former.

    I agree this is a step up for Haye but I'm hopeful he can make inroads. Come Sunday we will know.

  • Comment number 53.

    Haye has a small chance against Wladimir but it relies totally on a knockout, if he doesn't get one it will be like Tyson/Lewis with Haye as fodder. Haye would have no chance against Vitali thats the real reason why hes retiring early.

  • Comment number 54.

    As for comments (in general) about preparation, this is just fatuous. Both boxers are at the peak of condition. I think one of the benefits of projecting a retirement date for Haye is that it means he maintain a massive degree of intensity in his preparation work knowing that it won't be till the end of time (I'm guessing). And it is prolonged intensity more than anything else in training that makes the biggest difference.

    But in any case I strongly doubt that fitness will make a difference in this fight whether it goes the distance or not.

    Anyway fwiw here's a little insight into his preparation before the Valuev fight.

  • Comment number 55.

    According to this link he does 50 minutes roadwork and reduces it as the fight approaches to interval training.

  • Comment number 56.

    Manny Steward says Wladimir has the hardest one punch power of any fighter he's worked with. A ringing endorsement as he has worked with Lewis recently of course. I think this is done in 6 rounds, Klitschko will be angry and vary his attack a bit more which he tries to do against better opponents. Say what you want about his chin but he fights at a range, if he goes after Haye and catches him its over, if cat and Mormeck can floor Haye then a straight right from Wladimir will take his head off.

  • Comment number 57.

    "Manny Steward says Wladimir has the hardest one punch power of any fighter he's worked with"

    With respect, would you take a great deal of notice of quotes from Haye's coach? Both clearly have a dig on them and if anyone gets caught flush by a heavyweight they will go down. Avoiding being hit is the number one tactic of any boxer, whether working behind a jab, through movement or hugging. Missing a few though takes considerable energy out a heavyweight and of course opens you up to a counter attack.

  • Comment number 58.

    People need to really think before they post a comment. Ben is giving an unbiased opinion and that opinion is that Klitschko will win. I agree with Ben which is why I have put money on a Klitschko win.

    All these British fans saying Haye will win did the same thing before the Hatton Mayweather fight. They all said Hatton was too strong etc etc and look what happened, Hatton LOST. Klitschko for me looks so prepared and he looked great in the weigh in.

  • Comment number 59.


    How are you mate? Miss your sharp humour from 606. Hope you're ok. I agree with your earlier comments:

    What makes you think Wlad is smart enough to be able to catch up to Haye or be able to time Haye's lateral movement within four rounds? Watch a Wlad highlight reel and you'll see him felling inanimate objects utterly devoid of movement. Stand in front of him and offer him no angles and yes, he'll jab your head off but is Haye going to stand in front of him? No.

    Haye has proved that he is an adaptable and powerful fighter, time and again, in only a v few fights ( 6 at HW!) and many still don't want to believe that he is somehow able... yet here he is, WBA Champ, and winning...

    Haye is going to explode on Wlad's chin, sometime early it would seem, and I wouldn't want to be on the end of those punches. Forget the height and reach advantages of Wlad, surely speed - and even more so (as Tyson taught so many) - timing! - will bring about Haye and Booth's success in this fight?

  • Comment number 60.

    If Haye puts up as good a defence as Ben has here then he's onto a winner!

    My opinion is, for what it's worth; the whole world is watching this fight, and if Germany muck it up, there will be reprecusions. re: british media and corruption ect ect

    Haye on points.

  • Comment number 61.

    Good interview with George Foreman. Although George has been prone to hyperbole in the past he makes a good point when he says Haye must not try to box an expert boxer and must forget about boxing and just go out to start a fight.

    I'm not sure Haye will go out to fight and George could be disapointed after all the hype and excitment he has been hearing.

    If Kilitschko gains confidence early on I can see him knocking Haye out as per Mike Tyson's quote on the BBC Boxing page:

    "David has never shown the punching power to force a guy of Klitschko's calibre into reverse gear," said Tyson.

    "I don't say this to disrespect Haye but as an objective observer. This is a two- or three-round fight."

    I am putting a tenner on Wlad KO 1 Haye as there is a chance Wlad will go out to land an early couple of bombs on Haye and that should be enough to end the fight.

  • Comment number 62.

    Klitschko has fought 58 times at H.W. and won 55 times 49 by KO.

    Haye has fought 4 times at H.W. against Monty Barrett (journeyman/gatekeeper) who had Haye down twice, against Nikolai Valuev (ponderous, moderate, immobile), against John Ruiz (past it - Valuev beat him twice) and the utterly ridiculous Audley Harrison.

    Haye has yet to feel the weight of a genuine heavyweights punch and would appear not to have the chin to stand up when he does judging by the number of times he felt the canvas on his back as a cruiserweight.

    The last time a good cruiserwight fought a good heavyweight when Holyfield took on Lewis the outcome was predictable and inevitable (twice).

    The outcome of this fight is just as predictable - Haye will drop the first time Klitschko connects - which wont be long.

    This ain't going past 4.

  • Comment number 63.

    @ 62. I agree Slim but I wouldn't compare Holyfield to Haye. Holyfield is in most experts Top 15 all time great heavyweights whereas Haye will never get near that.

    Holyfield would be favourite against Wlad partly because he had an indestructible jaw which definitely can't be said about Haye.

  • Comment number 64.

    i disagree, i think haye will stop him between 8-10 rounds and will still feel him out as other fights! then start landing bombs from round 3 onwards then the go to sleep hayemaker

    come on haye!

  • Comment number 65.


    BBC people are a total disgrace, a fortnight ago you all came in drove putting your daggers in Lewis Hamilton, and now its David Haye's turn.

    Uhmmm...makes you think, doesn't it??....where's the support for your country man fighting away from home? Or don't you like his comlexion?

  • Comment number 66.

    #62 Slim,

    You are quite correct in your analysis of David Haye. However, we have to balance that with the fact that Wladimir has been dropped by Ross Purity, Correy Sanders and Lamon Brewster. Lamon Brewster was in some ways limited by had an habit of KO'ing guys, the others weren't especially big punches.
    Haye vs Klitschko does offer the best available match-up by some way in the division. However, if we look at Hayes opponents at Heavyweight level it should create alarms for Haye supporters.
    Haye does have a chance of winning this fight. If the fight was in England, then Haye chances would be better, but to win on points in Germany is very tough.

  • Comment number 67.

    Compare Holyfield to Haye? - are you having a laugh?

  • Comment number 68.

    Forget all the hype, this fight is really tough to call.

    It all hinges of Haye's ability to get inside and bypass that huge jab. If he does and he rocks the big man he can definitely knock him out. The question is, will he get a chance? I think he will but whether he takes it is another question entirely.

    I must say that I do subscribe to the train of thought that Haye needs to stop Vladmir becuase getting a points verdict will be nigh on impossible. Haye definitely has the explosive power to finish this but VK is going to have a game plan too.

    Personally I hope Haye wins because although I hate all the poisonous hype, it will be a victory for the boxing athlete. But if he tires and falls onto a big right hand then it's Goodnight Vienna.

    Too aggresive and he gets murdered, too cautious and he loses on points or stopped in the later rounds.

  • Comment number 69.

    tigermilkboy - its been 7 years since Klitschko was decked and he's a much more solid and technically capable boxer now. Even allowing for the fact that Haye has frequently had to lose weight to make cruiser thereby making him more of a genuine heavyweight than just a big cruiserweight his lack of experience at heavyweight will inevitably tell.

    I personally don't think he'd have a better chance if the fight was in the UK as I cant see it going to the judges. If it does he's going to be eating left jab for 36 minutes trying to get near Klitschko so how's he going to outpoint him?

    I cant see anyway how Hayes going to win this fight but then I didn't think Ali had a chance against Foreman so anything can happen in boxing.

  • Comment number 70.

    I remember David Haye once talking about his legacy, I'm sorry Haye 'what legacy?' Haye has not proved himself as a champion compared with Klitschko who has fought more than 50 fights at this level, or many other heavyweights - I find David Haye quite forgettable and tedious...

  • Comment number 71.

    Ben, cheerleader? No. Support? Yes. Boxers need muscular endurance, not outstanding CV endurance. So yes Manny may do up hill runs, but each boxer has their training tailor made. One thing may not work for another person etc. But to say he won't last the distance because he doesn't run more than 400m is ludacris. You running only a couple miles a day will greatly improve your endurance.

    While blogs are opinionated yours seems to be particularly one sided. Seems to me that BBC don't like sportsmen who hype themselves up and speak their mind, I.e Lewis Hamilton and David Haye. Ironically both are at the pinnacle of their sport and hence we should support them and get behind them. Just
    My opinion though.

  • Comment number 72.

    @65 Matt_stone.

    Playing the race card..........don't be a Silly Billy.

    Only seen race issues with Khan.

    Most people are just discussing the fighters, tactics and who they think will win.

    Not every opinion has to be based on blind patriotism.

    For every fan Haye has there is one who can't stand him. They will pay to see him fight whether to see him win or lose and thats what Haye is really all about. Ali was hated by a lot of people in the 1960's

  • Comment number 73.

    Klitschko is probably at his best now (if dull), just as Lewis improved with age, and the best Haye is likely to meet. I wish Haye the perfect punch, but don't see him getting close enough. Tyson wasn't afraid to go in close with big men, using his speed, strength, fearsome body shots and uppercuts. Can't see Haye being able to intimidate or to avoid the jab as the fight progresses, as he tires and Klitschko cuts down the ring.

  • Comment number 74.

    I dont think this can be compared to Hatton v Mayweather, granted people got carried away in backing Ricky but Wlad is no Floyd. Mayweather is one of the all time greats who has never been on the deck in his career, Wlad is a decent fighter who is chinny, watch tapes of the guy getting tagged he does not react well at all.

    I also dont buy into the argument that Klitschko is the much better boxer than Haye, he pushes you back with the pawing jab but doesnt move behind it, he is a very straight forward fighter. Granted if he hits David it all over but lets not get carried away that Wlad is able to stand up to any sort of punch either.

    Steward has tightened him up but has he fought anyone who is in shape & believes ha can win??

    With regard to stamina Ben you are at complete odds with SKY's Johnny Nelson who actually picked Wlad's stamina as his weakness, showing his doing nothing in the middle of rounds and looking out on his feet after round 5 against Peter, so maybe you are wrong on that one.

  • Comment number 75.

    First, yes it is good to finally see a heavyweight bout worthy of attention. But let's be honest - neither of these guys is going to put the fear of God in anyone. I mean, there are both fighting fit and so on, but they just seem kind of uninspiring. Anyone who knows anything about boxing knows that a boxer's body is not supposed to be big and muscular but rather lean, taut and compact - bulging muscles tend to inhibit rapid movement. Yes, I know we are in the 21st century but I couldn't believe it when I saw DH doing weights the other day, and what's this about him not sparring for the last few weeks. It's boxing you fools! Or as Foreman said "It's Fighting!" One or the other, or both, but what it isn't is a body building competition and I, for one, believe WK is just too "gym muscular big" to be efficient. Apart from that, neither of these poster models has much of a reputation as a boxer/fighter so I expect a mix of a Lennox Lewis chess match with the odd haymaker. Haye to win in 7th - TKO.

  • Comment number 76.


    Episode 1. . Won. .Valuev. . .(job done)

    Episode 2. . ...... .W Klitschko. . .

    Episode 3. . . . . . V Klitschko......

    . . . no doubt by this time tomorrow we will have some idea how David Haye has progressed in his quest to slay his second Goliath. Apparently many have no faith in David's ability at all, its just as well Haye isn't one of them.

    Full of himself. . .Arrogant. . .Rude. . .David has been accused of all those, and for good reasons too; if you don't believe in yourself, best to stay at home.
    I still remember Floyd Patterson lost to Sonny Liston even before the first bell rang. Liston outpsyched Floyd with his piercing stare, and from then on, it was just a matter of time before Sonny Boy delivered the Coup de Grace. Haye will not be that tomorrow night, that's for sure ! There'll be fireworks alright and bombs going off too, but hopefully only inside the Ring. I take Haye to do it in SIX !!

  • Comment number 77.

    Im with the majority and think Haye will lose. Would love it if he won, but sadly as a boxing contest, this will be over when VK wakes up. Just hope Hayes doesn't get too hurt as this is a very mismatched contest.

    This match will be pan out similar to murray vs nadal today. Have a good start but in the end, class will tell.

  • Comment number 78.

    Of course I agree with you that Wlad is a better conditioned fighter now, as opposed to when his defeats occurred. However, there is a question mark over his chin but there is obviously a bigger question mark over Haye's.
    I stick by my opinion that Haye has a chance, but I could only see Haye winning if he stays outside Wlad and comes in and engages in 10-15 seconds flurries then moving outside of Wlad's jab range. Haye could nick rounds on that basis and a points victory. However, if he fights like that in Germany I can't see him winning. Other than that Haye is down to a punchers chance.

    But, I fear you are correct and the fight will develop along your predicted lines. Unless Wlad forgets he has a jab and how to use it, I think it will be 10 rounds of jabbing before Haye is told he is well behind on points and Haye throws caution to the wind.
    Of course, Heavyweight title fights have an history of the unexpected happening. So we will see.

  • Comment number 79.

    You've been playing your cards close to your chest, Ben. Interesting how you left it this late to hit us with a blog like this. The timing is interesting above all. You've had weeks to come out with this stuff, but left it until fight day + 1.

    After reading this, I'm left with the impression that you think Wlad is an unbeatable machine and that Haye is a quivering bundle of nerves who only has a slim chance.

    All fighters are prone to pre-fight nerves. ALL of them. Hey, even your super machine Wlad gets them. Funny how thats only a factor for Haye though.

    Tyson used to absolutely break down before his fights.

    .....before eating them alive the next night.

    Make of that what you will. Haye on points. (and I've been consistent with that view).

  • Comment number 80.

    number 79- If you are so confident Haye will win on points why don't you put some money on it. Get good odds and for a reason, cos it won't happen!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Haye’s antics have been hilarious; the bunker video cracked me up. It’s largely down to DH that people (other than in the UK and Germany) will tune in to watch the fight.
    Hayes record as a HW is not impressive, but he can punch and anyone who dismisses his chances because he is ‘small’ is crazy. I would expect him to come out early and try to dispatch WK, get under the jab and deliver. The fact that he can punch, moves in 3 dimensions, and the WK can be knocked out surely gives DH a punchers chance. Well worth a bet.

  • Comment number 82.

    Ben Dirs, one thing you omit to mention is that BOTH Sanders and Brewster had much better chins than Haye possesses.
    Sanders chin almost completed the Klitschko double, when he had brother, Vitali rocked early on, before taking several big punches round after round with Vitali........but Sanders was still standing.
    Could Haye take similar punches from Vitali........I rather doubt it!

    Then you have Brewster, who although was decked early on by Wlad had never lost by KO or TKO in his previous fights.
    Haye on the other hand has been stopped and been decked by men much much smaller than Vlad.

    So in my mind this fight is going to boil down to which fighter is better able to protect their chin the best.
    Haye and his camp know full well that he won't be able to absorb too many stiff jabs from Wlad let alone full blown punches, so it's HIGHLY improbable that Haye will come out all guns blazing.

    Much more likely is that he will adopt a "Hit and run" tactic and just like he did against Valuev, hoping that all this chasing will tire out the larger man.....and Haye will try to come on strong towards the end of the fight.
    Wlad for his part will also be trying to keep Haye at bay with his jab.

    I think ultimately Vlad will have too much jabbing power for Haye's chin and think Vlad might score a late TKO or KO.

    One thing I know for sure is that this fight will be a cagey chess match affair.

    Anyone expecting an Ali vs Frazier or a Holyfield vs Bowe, or Hagler vs Hearns or Barrera vs Morales war will be sorely disappointed!

  • Comment number 83.

    Like Haye has already alluded to I suspect the referee will play an important part in this show. Boxing is a very dirty game (the continued involvement of Don King proves this), the real question is do the behind the scene boxing organisers want Haye to have the belts or klitschko to retain them, when decisions go the wrong way it can unsettle a fighter and change the fight completely. I believe the authorities are in the Klitschko camp and we will see the referee reflect this, for all the much talked about Klitschko jab, he will want to smother Haye with some big cuddles to frustrate him and if the ref allows it to go on it could easily smother Haye's tactics. Haye needs to beat the referee as much as he needs to out box Klitschko.

  • Comment number 84.

    Decent blog Ben, from reading all your blogs throughout the week I think its pretty obvious you think, and maybe even want Klitschko to win. Nowt wrong with that though, we all have our opinions.

    Mine is that Haye is ready to rumble and will get the KO he seeks so dearly. I do think if it manages to go the 12 rounds (which im not sure it actually will) then Klitschko will get the vote. Im going with a Haye KO 5-8 rounds.

    Anyway it promises to be a great spectacle, I dont think ive been this excited for a boxing match since Hatton-Mayweather. Good luck to Haye!!

  • Comment number 85.

    Never liked the fighting style of either Klitschko brother, frankly their stamina level was and probably still is in question, if that is the case , then Haye should wear him out like Ali did with his opponents like Foreman and go for the KO but winning on points is an option , most all Klitschko's fights were boring and this may be too as really neither boxer is in any way a great one, the real winner will be the promoters.

  • Comment number 86.

    Haye can do it he is a winner and he will do what he can to win. I am somewhat dissapointed at some peoples reaction to him. He's arrogant and cocky so what? That's not a bad thing in boxing and hes pretty humble and down to earth away from build up to fights.

    Throughout history boxing is littered with trash talking a guy ignites the heavyweight division he's the real deal he's in great shape he delivers powerful blows hes exciting he pulls's great and yet his own countrymen are turning against him?

    It's really quite bizarre. Anyway good luck to David Haye.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ Tim [5]:

    "However, anyone expecting a kamikaze mission of the type Ben describes is also likely to be disappointed. David Haye is not some chancer who needs to take a desperate roll of the dice. I can't imagine he will show his hand in the first couple of rounds, as the chances of knocking out a completely fresh boxer of Klitschko's quality are slim to none. He'll need a plan to wear him down a little first."


    Problem is, Haye has neither the power nor the chin to wear Klitschko down. He's not going to be able to plough thru Wlad's famous jab and start mixing it on the inside. All three of the guys who have previously beaten WK have had very good punch resistance - both Purrity and Brewster were renowned iron-chinners.

    Wlad is big for a heavyweight, DH relatively small. As DH gets in range, Wlad will smother him and tie him up a bit. As the fight goes on, it's Haye who will tire more. That's why he needs to end it early, as Mr Dirs and Mr Tyson have indicated...

  • Comment number 88.

    @mrireland..@ 85

    You're quite right. The real winners are the promoters, even before this well-hyped up fight begins, they're already busy counting their loots, as mugs the world over pour money into their satchels. The two fighters themselves are on a percentage too, so the more fools they attract the more lollies for them.

    I'm here in Hamburg myself and taking time out to visit my old haunts, and how the place has changed over the years. Modern architectures are all over the place, just like London. The ladies of St Pauli are still there, but I don't know what to make of them. The relics of the Star Club are still in evidence where The Beatles used to do their stuff before hitting the big time.

    I tried my rusty Deutsch but they always answer back in English, especially the younger generation. Their opinion is divided too, and many hope Haye wins tonight.
    So, there you have it. Ich glaube es auch !!

  • Comment number 89.

    The build up to this fight is similar to the build up to the Mayweather-Hatton bout back in 2007. A lot of British fans totally underestimated Mayweather and overestimated Hatton. I suspect a lot of them had not seen Mayweather box properly or heard the old adage "styles make fights".

    Even Billy Graham knew this, straight away after the bout ended he gave the game up, stating "Ricky is not a welterweight". Shame he didnt do it before the bout, would have saved millions of people from shelling out on ppv and flights over to Vegas.

    I suspect a lot of British fans havent seen Klitschko fight recently, hes improved ten fold since his last defeat in 2004 and he hasnt been caught flush for a long time. I wont be surprised if he doesnt even take a punch tonight. Hes a percentage fighter, like a machine. Jab and then grab, through the odd right hand in. Haye's up against it bigtime.

  • Comment number 90.

    A lot of talk about VK being "chinny" but has he ever been put down and stayed down is the question. Many of the greats have been rattled by big shots over the years, laterly they wouldn't be described as "chinny".

    I think Haye is going to be found out tonight.

  • Comment number 91.

    I always enjoy the trash talking before fights; but Haye is an embarrassment to us Brits. He can't behave like an intelligent gentleman; instead he reflects the uneducated, swearing chav that has infected our society.
    Love the way Hayes boxes. Love to see a Brit Champion. But want him to be silenced too; he may become a better man for it!

  • Comment number 92.

    david haye will do it without question he has what it takes both physically and more importantly mentally thats where the likes of andy murray so obviouly and miserably fail at

  • Comment number 93. most can see haye is overwhelmed with taking the purse and going into that retirement to spend some of those £ from "the lock stock"...
    ...and all this trash talking is "justified" by pennies he shall receive....
    ...and LOL!!!...we are going to pay for this...then Brits should be proud....we are going to have another rich hero, who is a so good boxer then he doing his observation from "the retirement".... and judges others... and gives advises...

  • Comment number 94.

    Hello all. Excited? All I know is, a lot of people are going to get very wet at the Imtech Arena this evening... I have to say I find some of the responses on here pretty bizarre. At no point have I said I don't like David Haye, and I've even said I think he's got a chance of winning. All I've indicated is that I think Wladimir has a better chance. Just as I thought Mayweather would beat Hatton, just as I thought Pacquiao would beat Hatton, and just as I thought Calzaghe would beat Hopkins and Jones (although, admittedly, I thought Hopkins won their fight). It's not being unpatriotic - of course I want Haye to win, he's a fellow Brit, but I've got to let my head rule my heart or I wouldn't be doing my job properly.

  • Comment number 95.

    Ben, I think the anticipation of the outcome will be FAR more exciting than the fight itself.
    There is little doubt in my mind that this will NOT be "war" will be a cagey tactical affair.
    Like I said, don't expect Ali vs Frazier or Holyfield Vs fact I wouldn't be surprised to see many of the early rounds where neither boxer lands any significant punches.......and the the crowd start booing at the amount of non action in the ring.
    It's billed as a "Super fight" but it's unlikely to figure in the "best" fights of all time.......give me Halger vs Hearns or Barrera vs Morales any day!

  • Comment number 96.

    Please don’t say about Wladimir as a plain boxer because he is the most great boxer at the particular moment (except his brother certainly). Let Heye to see the Rocky movies and dream about the win, but Wladimir is going to knock him out without any problems in 4th or 5th round. There are no heavyweights at the moment which could be a real threat to our Ukrainian brothers Klitchko, Lennox Lewis was the last one, but it is the other story.

  • Comment number 97.

    LtKlambo - Yep, of course you could be right - there's a fairly strong chance it could be an ugly old fight...

  • Comment number 98.

    For once I'd love to see a boxer, either of them would do, on the bell just turn, step back 1-2 paces and run 2-3 steps and just try and smash the other guy straight in the face - I'm not certain it would work but it would be class to see.

    Otherwise Haye by KO in the 8th.

  • Comment number 99.

    been over here in Hamburg for 15 years now , haven't followed much about Haye's progress through the heavyweight ranks , I have however saw enough of the Klitschkos in the last 10 years , and I just hope that Wlad knocks Haye "the mouth" out A.S.A.P. tonight. It's going to be a cold, wet & stormy uncomfortable evening in that big dark Imtec stadium for Mister Haye ........ after all that loose talk all week from Haye I really can't wait for his interviews and press conference after the fight ! That will probably be more entertainment than the few rounds it is going to take Wlad to put Haye down.

  • Comment number 100.

    Haye in the Fifth. Big Vlad won't be able to contain Haye's speed or voracity. Vlad is too slow to compete with Haye, regardless of power.


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