By Rob Day
So, where is David Haye?
If you’re reading this then you are not alone in wondering where the hard hitting, brash talking, WBA Heavyweight Champion has disappeared to.
This is the man that chased a Klitschko up an elevator in ’08 and threw down the challenge, “Once you’ve finished fighting these bums – fight me” at a bewildered Wladimir Klitschko.
Then, after Haye gatecrashed the Heavyweight scene after his sparkling successes at Cruiserweight, the fight was on. Press conferences where Haye insulted the family Klitschko with those infamous t-shirts of the brothers grim beheaded were on parade. But the fight didn’t happen, Haye pulled out due to an injury, though most suspect it was because he wouldn’t actually get paid. The TV company backing him went bust in the UK. Fight for free? I wouldn’t. Honestly, would you?
So, the huge fight at Heavyweight was gone for now. Wladimir Klitschko got on with his usual business and jabbed the death out of the best Heavyweight the once great United States of America had to offer, little Eddie Chambers. Was it exciting….Nope, Was it effective…. Yep!
Haye, once recovered from the back injury and the demise of TV channel Setanta, went after the other brother, the more sturdy but older Vitali Klitschko. Once again the fight contract on offer was appalling but there was another option for Haye, the giant Nikolai Valuev with his shiny WBA strap was offered via Don King and Sauerland Promotions. Haye took the fight and won, but it must make you wonder just how bad the Klitschko offer was for Haye to sign away his next THREE fights to Sauerland and legendary promoter Don King.
Ok, so I’m telling you things you already know. Let’s fast forward to the here and now.
Where has he gone? you ask. Why is he so quiet? The man that was brash and talked trash. The Cruiserweight King that chased the Klitschko’s ’til they knew his name.
Well, he KO’d his mandatory John Ruiz. He had to the WBA had said, and so ‘The Hayemaker’ obliged. One ‘Quiet Man’ sent to retirement. Haye then took a month off but left his trainer/manager to deal with negotiations for his next fight. Six interested parties wanted to fight Haye, but wait, it’s more than that. Roll call for the ones involved, Klitschko brothers, Thomas Adamek, Nikolai Valuev, Audley Harrison, Shannon Briggs, Hasim Rahman and James Toney.
Haye is normally at the heart of negotiations, but due to his wife giving birth and becoming very ill, David had more important things on his mind than fighting. Fair play to the man, he put the real important things in life first. Some on internet boxing forums claimed foolishly that he was scared, while the pro Haye fans ducked their heads waiting for the man to speak, as he had done so often in the past.
So has he spoken? Yes the family is all doing well, and now Haye has spoken out. Tell us you’re not fighting Audley Harrison, David?
“I haven’t talked to Audley’s team, to be honest. I’ve read it in numerous newspapers but I don’t take any notice of that. I looked on one of the boxing websites the other day and they even had a date for the fight. That made me laugh. At the moment, we’re talking to the Klitschkos, trying to make that deal.”
Haye continued, “Audley’s just trying to get some headlines. If, by some miracle, I ended up in the same ring as him, I think everybody with half a brain cell would know what the result would be. I would go out there and mince him.”
But since then the IBF have imposed their deadline on Wladimir Klitschko who now faces his mandatory challenger, Alexander Povetkin. Russia’s Povetkin has been mandatory for TWO years but is finally ready, according to Teddy Atlas his trainer.
‘So when is Haye fighting?’ I hear you cry!
Talk is now of mid October. But that rules out Adamek who is fighting Michael Grant a month or so before that date. Former WBA champ Ruslan Chagaev I assume is free, Nikolai Valuev is out of the running because the rematch clause has expired. Vitali K, I think is now not so keen on fighting Valuev and has offered him less money than originally, so there is a strong possibility that Haye fights Vitali.
Is Audley out of the running? Unfortunately not, and this is why.
Barry Hearn is the promoter of Audley Harrison. Hearn brings quite alot of sport to Sky TV, (who have deep pockets) including Darts and Prizefighter in the UK. I believe it’s the relationship between Sky and Hearn that is pushing for this Haye vs Harrison fight. Hearn knows Audley cannot be relied apon to keep winning for too long, so would rather cash in now than go via a Dimitchenko European title fight. (Which Audley would be the underdog, or at best 50/50)
From Sky’s point of view it makes sense financially, and it’s one more fight before Haye fights a Klitschko, one that 80% of fans think Haye will lose. Sky and Hearn sell the British public the fight and I believe it will be a money spinner. Haye and Harrison are known to the casual fan and while hardcore fans will complain – a good few will watch just to see Audley sparked out, or indeed Haye. The fight would likely sell out a 20,000 seat arena at least, and Hearn will have his hand in the promotion.
Already it’s been mentioned that different promoters have options on Haye. Sauerland, (possibly King) but definitely Goldenboy. Sauerland/King is for 3 fights – John Ruiz was number one. Haye and Goldenboy may prefer for him to get Harrison and say Chagaev out of the way before the blockbuster fight against a Klitschko, so that when a Klitschko fight happens the fingers of Sauerland and King are no longer in the pie.
Sauerland only this week confirmed my theory, “There are multiple parties with a financial stake in Haye’s fights.” Makes you wonder just how bad the deals offered by the Klitschko’s must have been.
As boxing fans we just want to see the fight; Haye vs any Klitschko. As fans we should realise that politics, money, contracts, and governing bodies get in the way. The fight will happen, but unless Vitali-Haye is the fight in October, I doubt that it will happen this year. Haye needs to get all these promoters off his back.
So the answer to the question is, yes, Haye is around and has finally spoken, but who will be his next opponent? I don’t have that answer, but it won’t be Wladimir Klitschko or Nikolai Valuev.