Haye And Adamek: Would They Have Been Top-5 Contenders During The 70s & 80s?
Former cruiserweight title holder David Haye 25-1 (23) is going to fight WBO/IBF heavyweight title holder Wladimir Klitschko on July 2nd this coming summer. Haye is 4-0 fighting as a heavyweight and his average weight in those bouts is roughly 216. Two months later another former cruiserweight title holder, Tomasz Adamek 44-1 (28), who is 6-0 as a heavyweight and averages about 216.5 will try and lift the WBC heavyweight title from Wladimir's older brother, Vitali Klitschko.
I have a better idea, how about Haye vs. Adamek on July 2nd and Klitschko vs. Klitschko on September 10th? Actually, I'd really be interested to see how Haye-Adamek would turn out. There's a strong case one could make on behalf of both fighters. As for Klitschko vs. Klitschko, we'll never see it. If the brothers were ever going to face each other it would've happened by now.
Combined Haye and Adamek are 69-2. In Haye's lone defeat he was stretched by Carl Thompson in five rounds fighting as a cruiserweight. As for Adamek, he was outboxed over 12-rounds and lost a unanimous decision to Chad Dawson in an attempt to win the WBC light heavyweight title. Yet both Haye and Adamek are seen as viable title threats to Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. Which seems like a bit of a reach. The Klitschkos are not only bigger than their upcoming opponents, they're also better fighters and more versatile. At the end of the day Haye needs to land a lottery punch to beat Wladimir, and Adamek needs Vitali to separate his shoulder on his way to the ring on fight night to have a chance at the upset.
It's been said here that both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko would be a real pain in the arse for some of the great heavyweight champs of the past. And keeping in mind that Wladimir is 35 and starting to show signs that he's on the decline, and Vitali will be 40 when he fights Adamek, are they really in such peril in their upcoming fights as some have tried to make the case? Would either Haye or Adamek been able to compete with Jerry Quarry, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers, Michael Dokes, Tim Witherspoon and Greg Page from the 1970's and 1980's in order to get a title shot? These are six fighters from previous eras who were relatively the same size as Haye and Adamek when they were in their prime.
We can see that Haye has pretty fast hands. He may carry his punch up--it's too soon to know 100% for sure--but he definitely doesn't have a heavyweight chin. Maybe he'd cut Quarry and win the fight. But the Quarry who went toe-to-toe with Frazier in a losing effort in their first fight and who beat up Lyle and knocked out Shavers beats Haye nine out of 10 times. Lyle, Shavers and Witherspoon would probably ice him and both Dokes and Page would've tortured him on the way to a decision victory if they didn't stop him first. As for Adamek, he doesn't have anything close to a heavyweight punch, he's not fast and his chin is suspect. Neither Haye or Adamek on a night in and night out basis would've been able to stand up to the legit heavyweight power of the six fighters mentioned. And when they landed on those guys, none of them would even blink. So would either Haye or Adamek be contenders during the 70's and 80's? I don't want to say absolutely not, but they'd be fringe at best.
The biggest draw in regards to David Haye is he has a big right hand and usually isn't afraid to cut loose with it. That, and he has a big mouth. But if he fights Wladimir the way he did Nikolay Valuev, (looking more not to get hit than to hit) the fight will be a complete farce or he'll be put to sleep in a brutal fashion. Adamek has worked his way up the ladder, but it's not like it was a steep ladder. Tomaz is a solid fighter all the way around, but he just doesn't bring anything physically to concern Vitali. It's not like he's a super fast and sophisticated boxer or has fight altering power.
Let's be honest, David Haye and Tomaz Adamek are legitimate heavyweight fighters and contenders in 2011. But this is without a morsel of a doubt one of the thinnest heavyweight eras in history. Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko are the only active heavyweights who could go back in time to some of the best heavyweight eras and compete or win a piece of the title. And a lot of that is because of their size. However, they have more than size, they have strength and legitimate upper-tier boxing skill.
Today's boxing public is clamoring in the worst way for a heavyweight title fight that they at least have a pulse about. The two fights (Klitschko-Haye and Klitschko-Adamek) are big because there's not much around these days. Haye talked himself into the public's consciousness and Adamek has a huge Polish constituency. That and there's also a sizable faction of boxing fans out there who want to see the Klitschkos taken down.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com