There was a certain allure to this David Haye, with his sculpted form, and his gangsta-rap level trash talking, though he sometimes skirted lines of decency, which is saying something in this red light district of a sport. But after pulling out of a second fight with a Klitschko brother, Haye’s star has dimmed in the eyes of many fight fans.
Even Haye boosters have to wonder if he has agreed to fight WBA heavyweight champion Nicoley Valuev on Nov. 7, instead of Vitali Klitschko in September, because the prospect of actually doing to Vitali what he promised is as suspect as the injury he cited in pulling out of a fight with Wladimir in June.
TSS usually likes to take a man at his word, unless there exists ample evidence to prove otherwise, but now that Haye has ditched another Klitschko at the altar, and spurned a Sept. 12 date in Frankfurt with Vitali, one has to look with even more cynicism at Haye’s ditched date with Wlad. They were supposed to clash on June 20, but two weeks before their clash in Germany, Haye got cold feet, or, supposedly, a bad back. So he left Klitschko at the altar, and Wladimir instead hitched up with Ruslan Chagaev. The Haye camp never truly specified the nature of the back trouble, or offered doctor’s sworn statements testifying to the severity of the injury. Now, that semi-shady scene looks positively suspect, with Haye’s latest move. The whispers, that it was a flair-up of nerves, not his back, now grow into screams.
But Haye himself seemingly pays no attention to the rumor mill’s product. Instead, he is busy doing what he seems to do best—sell a fight with excess bravado. “I am thrilled to announce that my dream of becoming world heavyweight champion will be realised on November 7, when I challenge the tallest and heaviest champion of all time, Nikolai Valuev,” said Haye (age 28; 22-1, with 21 KOs; lone loss to Carl Thompson in 2004), two days after a deal was agreed to in principle to meet Vitali.
The 7-2 Valuev is 35 years hold, and holds a deceptive 50-1 record. That lone loss came to Chagaev in 2007, but in his last outing, in December, he was neck and neck with decrepit Evander Holyfield, and both his wins over John Ruiz are disputed.
“Valuev’s known as ‘The Beast From The East’ and there’s a reason he’s got that nickname – he’s a big, ugly, sweaty and hairy man from the Eastern Bloc,” said a release on Haye’s website.
The 6-3 Brit does not truly deserve any title shot, really, if one were offering them solely on the merits of his resume. His wins have all come across faded names and never weres, though we can concede his powers of publicity are stellar, and at least he generated some excitement, if only through his mouth til now, in a division badly in need of it.
Haye, showing an elusiveness with words that he doesn’t mimic in the ring, tried to explain his latest escape from the clutches of a Klitschko.
“There were reports in the German press that I had signed to fight Vitali Klitschko in September, but those reports were never true,” Haye said. “There have been long and exhausting discussions about the clash, but unfortunately I could never put my name to the fight contract the Klitschkos offered. The level of disrespect they have shown me throughout has left me feeling insulted.”
This is rich stuff, coming from the man who waved graphic illustrations of the Brother’s K severed heads, bathed in gore, as he promised to decapitate both.
“As for signing the contract, now that I realise just how much support and interest I have from the people in Germany, it would have been like selling my soul to the devil. I will not be a slave fighter.”
With this assertion, Haye went from disreputable, to downright laughable. Haye would've been paid over a million to fight Wlad, but thought he could do better with a cut of pay per view sales, which promised to be worse than he'd figured. Any mention, or implication of slavery, even if options on future Haye fights were desired by Team Klitschko, won’t hold water.
After two escape attempts, Haye still maintains that he and Klitschko will pair off.
“Once I have snatched Valuev’s title, I will be happy to battle out heavyweight supremacy with the Klitschkos, but only on equal and fair terms,” said Haye.
On Thursday morning, Team Klitschko sent out their take on the mini fiasco. They maintain Haye bolted the Vitali tussle because it looked like his cut would be low, because he’d demanded salary based on pay per view sales. Klitschko’s management slapped the Haye crew for not informing them of their pullout, instead leaving that to the media, and also shot down the claim that options were a sticking point.
“Haye and his manager, whose home base is in the Turkish part of Cyprus for fiscal reasons, seem to have realized all of a sudden, that we have a global economic depression and English boxing fans are not that easily willing to pay 15 pounds for a bout,” advisor Bernd Boente said. “All the excuses of adhesion contracts are complete rubbish as Haye had already signed the same contract for the fight against Wladimir in June, which also contained a usual rematch clause and a pure Klitschko option. And for that fight he also pulled out. By the way, Vitali and myself attended Haye’s last fight against Monte Barrett at the O2 Arena in London. There were possibly 6.000 fans in a 20.000 seat arena. The guy is not a big draw in England at all. We were always surprised that he expected to get 2.7 million pounds out of the English pay-per-view sales for a fight against Vitali or Wladimir.”
Wlad sounded off for the Brothers.
Wladimir Klitschko: ”Already during the negotiations for my June fight, we realized quickly that Haye and Booth are very unprofessional. Adam Booth might be a good trainer but as a manager he is simply incompetent. David always had a big mouth and tried to offend us with ridiculous self-made t shirts. But when it comes up to step into the ring and show what he’s got, he runs away. He even admits that fighting Valuev is the easier way. For me Haye is a little, inexperienced kid who is afraid of his own courage. Doubtless, my brother would have knocked him out within the first four rounds.”
Money always, always, always talks in this business, so if and when Haye does chop down Valuev, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that the Brothers K will see if the third date with Haye holds. You'll notice Boente and Wlad never said never again with Haye. But one really can’t blame them if they’ve had enough of Haye’s cold feet, and dump him once and for all. Haye’s charm, such as it was, has dwindled to a speck.