Note: The rumor that Wladimir's abdomen is still less than one hundred percent is false, Steward told Editor Mike. Vitali will not be subbing in for Little Brother.
Regular readers know that I am not the president of the David Haye Fanclub.
Not even a VP.
Not even a junior member.
My estimation of Haye dipped in June 2009, when he pulled out of a scheduled bout with Wladimir Klitschko, with a hand injury first being cited, then a bad back. Rumors flowed that focused on an injured TV outfit, backer Setanta, which was kaput and wouldn't be ponying up Haye's money. Then he lured the other brother, Vitali, in for a tangle, in September 2009. Klitschko management tried to finalize the contract, and learned out of the blue that Haye had been wasting their time, and was going to fight an easier foe, Nicolay Valuev in November. This, after talking loads of trash, boasting about how he'd beat both Klitschkos.
My lack of like for Haye grew in that Valuev fight. He fought like a scared bunny. Some said he fought the smart fight; but to me, I take what you say at face value. He promised he'd topple the giant with a fierce attack, then on Nov. 7, 2009 potshotted and went all track meet on the seven footer. BO-RING.
Then I lost what little respect I had for Haye when he went overboard, waaay overboard, in hyping his November 13, 2010 bout against 27-4, 39-year-old Audley Harrison. He said the bout with Harrison, perpetually an underachiever and hardly a worthy challenger, would be ‘as one-sided as a gang rape.’
Given every opportunity to walk it back, Haye refused.
Basically, he said he has a big mouth, tough tamales. Get over it.
Well, we're all stupid at one time or another. Lord knows that if everyone wrote me off every time I went into moron territory I'd be without anything resembling a family and friend sphere. But Haye's no kid. He's 30. Christ, I figured, someone in his circle, past or present, was probably touched by rape, and likely cringed when they heard him. Mind you, I'm not one to be overly PC. I've got some Irish in me, and I can shrug off boozing cracks.
Anyway, between his squirrely pullouts and his over-the-line trash talk, I just don't hold Haye (25-1 with 23 KOs) in high esteem as a sportsman. I did like some of his candid Tweets after Solis crumpled to the mat last weekend against Vitali, however. So it's not as if I've just written the guy off, and can't be moved in my assessment of him...
All in all, bottom line, I simply think that until we see Haye in the ring with Wladimir Klitschko, and the bell rings, and they start trading punches, none of us should really, truly believe that he'll go through with it. I think maybe Haye knows in the back of his brain that his whiskers won't hold firm against Wlad. But I'm just a keyboard tapper, a critic with access to a computer and a kindly publisher who allows TSS to function as what it is...So I posed the question to Emanuel Steward, Wladimir's trainer since his April 10, 2004 bout with Lamon Brewster. Does he think Haye is serious, and fully intends to glove up with Wladimir on June 25 or July 2nd, as has been reported?
"Yes," Steward told me. "After this one, there's no other big fight." Steward said the English media hammered Haye for that farce with Harrison, so he cannot get away with an easy defense against an Evander Holyfield or Antonio Tarver. "With Audley, it looked like they had a rehearsal," Steward cracked.
So, part of you, Manny, doesn't think Haye will announce an injury right before the bout, his subconscious causing a pulled groin or some such thing, because he fears he will get dropped and stopped by a guy who might legitimately be pissed off, after Haye upset his mum by posing with artwork depicting him holding the severed heads of the Brothers K? What percentage chance is there, Manny, that Haye ducks out?
"Zero," Steward said. "I had doubts about it, but I talked to him. He's one hundred percent serious about the fight."
Manny showed me pictures of him from a recent meeting with Haye. They are both grinning. Manny indicated that he has no distaste for Haye, even after he wasted so much Klitschko time and energy. "We're cool," the trainer/manager said. "I like David. But that rape comment, that was bad. We have daughters, mothers...
But I think Haye will be overmatched. He told me, 'I will test Wladimir's heart.' I told him, 'Wladimir will pass that test.' And I said, 'You guys both have questionable chins. It will be very exciting.'''
So, Manny, what are the odds here? Could Haye upset Wladimir?
"If I'm a betting guy, the odds are for Wladimir, two to one," he said. "Wladimir has every physical advantage. But Haye does have that punch."
I say Wlad is a prohibitive favorite. We might see a somewhat fiery passion from him on fight night, a burning desire to hurt Haye for torturing the Ks, and I could see Wlad taking the ex cruiser champ out early.
Haye likely run, if he makes it to the arena without a phantom injury, but there will be no option to hide. Wladimir will seek, and destroy David Haye.
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?