I think David Haye is a con artist, and a jerk.
Now, before you get ready to flame me on Twitter, reminding me that David Haye can beat me up, let me assure you, this is I know. I know Haye could beat me up. And furthermore, let me get out in front of you, if Haye and I were in the same room, I would not walk up to him and say, "David, I think you are a con artist and a jerk." But this is mainly because I realize that face to face those are fighting words, and with my record as it exists within the system, my streetfighting days are over. That, and I think that most all contretemps should be able to be solved verbally, without resorting to fisticuffs, or usage of glass beer bottles.
Haye, seems to me, agrees to an extent with the former, if not the latter. He talked a helluva game before fighting Nicolay Valuev in 2009, and then threw half a handful punches a round while potshotting the immobile giant enroute to a wussout of a win. (Or a masterful example of ring generalship, if you're a Haye booster.) Of course, he threw out an excuse after, that he hurt his hand early on. Then, he campaigned for two years to fight a Klitschko, talked tough like Dick Cheney, and then when it came time to actually fight,in 2011, he reverted again to pacifist mode. And again moaned after that a hurt toe kept him from doing what he wanted. Then there was the wisecrack before his fight with Fraudly Harrison that it would be as one sided as a "gang rape." Really, that alone is enough to dismiss David Haye as a monumental jerk, and combined with all the other transgressions, well, it's sort of a wonder the Brit has any fans.
That thought in mind, one wonders, how many folks that pay attention to Haye are fans, and how many are rooting for him to get his tail kicked, get his jaw Josesitoed, so it would be wired shut for a spell, giving him some time to be quieted, to be humbled? I admitted, in a phoner with EPIX boxing chief Travis Pomposello, that I thought Haye was a dick. EPIX, as you likely know, will be showing this Saturday's Haye-Dereck Chisora showdown, so I touched based with Pomposello to get his thoughts on the matchup, and his take on EPIX's entry into the boxing sphere, which by all accounts has been welcomed by fans, as they've smartly snapped up some fights that fell between the cracks of the toes of the super giants, HBO and Showtime. I admit, I like Pomposello because he acts like a real human being, and doesn't always stay in suit mode.
Pomposello didn't try to defend Haye, or convince me that his act is mere showmanship. In fact, he said he understood where I'm coming from, and admitted that quite likely, a goodly amount of those turning in Saturday will be rooting for Chisora, who himself has drawn fire for his lack of sportsmanship before his last fight, a loss to Vitali Klitschko in February.
Pomposello admitted he thought pretty long and hard about what he was getting into when he bought this bad-boy showdown. "Abolsutely," he said. "At the press conference after the Vitali-Chisora fight they get into it, so yes, there is trepidation, a question of, What's the drama going to be? I can imagine all sorts of stuff. But it's going to be good TV. And fans really want this fight, especially after they saw Chisora on EPIX against Robert Helenius and Vitali. This story is like the Subway Series. And if Dereck brings the fight to him, and stops Haye, you'll have a smile on your face."
I wondered if I was being too hand-wring-y if I worried that this fight being made after the glassing at the presser , which to me reeked of Haye trying to manufacture a beef to insure a fight with a stellar payday, after that was in question because of his underwhelming showing against Wladimir last year, might be a stain on the sport. Was I being too prudish if I wondered if one and all should give this fight a pass?
"You're not being too high minded at all," Pomposello said to me. He recalled that there was the time period when Tyson was biting people left and right, and people still wanted to watch him. "But that stuff can hurt the image of boxing," he said. "It's good they get a chance to settle it in the ring. I'd be disappointed if they didn't settle it in the ring, and shot each other.
And what about the possibility that Haye was pulling a con, a cynical ploy to get another money fight?
"This is boxing," Pomposello allowed, the implication being that we can't dismiss the possibility. "But I was ten feet away, with the camera crew (for the fracas), and if that was acting, then Haye deserves an Oscar." He said he thought to himself that Haye picked a heckuva time to go on such a violent offensive, right after Chisora had gone 12 grueling rounds in Munich in February. Some might say he was smart to pick the right time to get into a foe's head, while others might dismiss his timing as the move of a bold coward, only ready to rumble when the foe is compromised. "So anything is possible...but now it's real."
Regarding what's next for EPIX, Pomposello sounded like they are staying the course, picking off fruit that the super powers miss (like Froch-Bute, their centerpiece snag) and staying with the heavyweights, the unloved at the moment glamour division. I actually pitched Pomposello on a concept regarding the heavyweights which I will share with you guys in the coming days...
TSS Universe, who do you like in the Haye-Chisora showdown? Me, I think Haye outboxes Chisora, using his now typical hit and run style.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?