“Up until I have something concrete, I will say nothing. I genuinely miss being in the heavyweight scene as I’m out of it right now. I’m not in the ratings. I’ll be back, believe me… I’ll be better than ever. And when it happens everyone will forget about these few years out.” – David Haye, to iFL TV, March, 2015.
What nobody should forget, though, is that with all the UK media jingoism that is seemingly synonymous with former two division world champion David Haye – yes, he has been a phenomenally-gifted athlete and an extraordinarily talented big man – he does have his baggage.
Let’s not forget this is a fighter who, along with Audley Harrison, kayoed pay-per-view in Britain for their sham of a bout five years ago.
This is a time-waster who Tyson Fury will harbor much bad blood for, who was responsible for a cringe-worthy promotion during the build-up to a unification bout with the ambassadorial don of the division Wladimir Klitschko, and a man in severe need of an attitude adjustment due to his countless puerile comments (gang-rape, anyone? Really?).
Haye can be to British boxing what Diana Ross is to world football – an embarrassment. He has a celebrity’s ambition in what is traditionally a humble sport, and any sign of a return should be seen as something that will be both good and bad for British boxing.
He’s messed around the fans and even the division in the past. But he is no slouch in the ring. He has boxed at the Playboy Mansion in California, in Paris, in Germany and shared the headline of a stadium bill in East London.
He demonstrated ruthless aggression at cruiserweight and, at heavyweight, a defensive maneuverability that is uncommon for a man with his body mass.
He punished Enzo Maccarinelli in 2008. Struck Nikolai Valuev with 68.5% of his total shots in an otherwise dull title bout in 2009 and convincingly floored Dereck Chisora three years later – a man who, at the time, was revered for his apparent durability.
The prospect of Haye re-entering the weight class in order to test himself against the likes of Deontay Wilder, who has sparring experience against the Hayemaker, a future Anthony Joshua or Fury, if that fight can even be made, is tantalizing.
But under no circumstances should Haye be allowed to headline. For that to happen, he has to regain the element of trust.