So much of a boxer’s life is positioning.
They position themselves in the ring to be in the right place at the right time and perhaps equally as important, not at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Inside the ring, a fighter must take into account all the different factors that affect his positioning versus his opponent’s. If he’s the taller fighter, he wants to stay outside and use his longer arms to ward off incoming attacks. If he’s the shorter guy, he wants to stay only far enough outside to avoid getting hit, and when he makes his dash toward his opponent, he has to be sure he gets in range close enough to let his hands go and make something happen.
There are so many variables. How fast is the opponent? What are his natural movements? What’s there for show? How does he respond to approaches, retreats and feints? What kind of defense does he have? How’s his chin? Where is he in position relative to the opponent?
Outside the ring, a fighter’s career is much the same. Positioning is key. Moving up a fighter too fast could mean squandering lucrative paydays. Taking too much time to put a fighter in a big fight might mean wasting his prime.
Just like inside the ring, outside of it fighters need to take risks, but relative to the rewards – the right reward at the right time.
To be a good fighter, one has to be adept at both the positioning that takes place inside the ring as well as that which takes place outside of it.
David Haye is a master of both.
Haye is everything a popular heavyweight champion should be. He’s English speaking, quick-witted and handsome enough to have had a burgeoning career as a fashion model for the likes of Versace. Inside the ring, he’s fast , ferocious and fierce. He has shown devastating enough power to earn the nickname “Hayemaker”, and he has displayed the speed it takes to land big shots without getting rumbled too much in return.
But it has been his ability to position himself in key situations to use his skill and power on his opponents that has led to his marked success .
Of his 25 wins, the 6’3″ chiseled hulk has won by knockout 23 times. And while he’s not undefeated, his lone loss came almost 7 years ago at a time when he was still learning to become the fighter he is today. He was still working on the little things–the subtle nuances that position a fighter to win.
Like Evander Holyfield before him, David Haye, the unified the cruiserweight champion, was in perfect position to make his move to the heavyweight division in 2008. Haye immediately began calling out a surprised Wladimir Klitsckho in 2008 after defeating division gatekeeper Monte Barrett.
Inexplicably, Haye called off the fight citing a back injury. A few months later, Haye landed a fight for the WBA heavyweight title against Nikolay Valuev. Haye impressed in a majority decision win, but instead of rushing to face Klitsckho he instead picked up two more wins against notables John Ruiz and Audley Harrison — all despite continuing to throw verbal assaults toward both Klitsckho brothers all the while.
David Haye is a master of positioning. He moved up to the heavyweight division right when he should have. He positioned himself nicely from a bargaining perspective by picking up a title belt, and his two more wins since have done nothing but drive the pre-fight build-up for the fight into fevered frenzy.
Soon David Haye will be right where he has wanted to be all along. He’ll be standing across from Wladimir Klitsckho in the biggest heavyweight fight of the new century. He will be one of two men, each in their impressive primes who simply do not like each other, bearing ill tidings and explosive punches with the entire world watching to see what happens.
Yes David Haye is everything a popular heavyweight champion should be – except of course – the heavyweight champion. Saturday, July 2, 2011, he will be in position to become just that.
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