David Haye talked a stellar game to get to the main event at Imtech Arena in Hamburg on Saturday night. He lured Wladimir Klitschko into a bout that will be his IRA, with a three year masterful campaign of trash talking. But when it came to time to walk the walk, he came up empty. Haye boxed smartly from a defensive standpoint, but didn't throw enough punches to get a decision, or much respect from most anyone who watched this lackluster exercise. Wlad too deserves if not scorn, then meager appreciation. He fought in a robotic fashion, had a hard time finding the mobile Haye, but probably deserved the decision because he threw more. After twelve rounds of "action" the judges saw it 117-109, 118-108, 116-110, for Wlad.
Haye went 72-290, a pathetic volume, while Wlad went 134-509.
HBO showed the bout, which was nearly cancelled because it was raining in Hamburg all day long, and the arena does not have a retractable roof. Some might joke that they would've preferred a rainout. Haye tried to follow the same blueprint he used to win the title against Nicolay Valuev to beat Wlad; he raised his hands after, and seemed to think he won. I gave him credit during the first half of the event, as his mobility and head movement gave Wlad trouble, but didn't frustrate the big man, who has an amazing reserve of discipline. Wlad said to Larry Merchant after Haye was hard to hit, and was excessively cautious. He wanted a KO, he said, and realized the fight wasn't that exciting. The winner didn't back off on his disdain of Haye for being classless in his trash talking. "I wished that I could knock him out impressively," he said. "He was scared to fight me. I was expecting more challenge in the ring. He was super defensive." And how much longer will he fight? He said he was psyched to collect all the belts, and wasn't jazzed by his performance, so he will continue. Merchant then talked to Haye. Haye said he was "subpar, nowhere near as good as he would've liked." He said he broke a toe in his right foot three weeks ago, was receiving local anaesthetics, and had to cut sparring early. "I was unable to push off my right foot and land my Hayemaker," he said, and took off his show and sock as proof. More sound than fury, then? "I gave it the best I could. I wasn't one hundred percent healthy, but that happens in boxing, I don't know what he might had for injuries in that fight for all I know."
The IBF-WBO champion Klitschko (6-6; age 35; born in Ukraine, resides in Germany and USA; 55-3 entering) weighed 242.6 pounds on Friday, while the WBA champion Haye (6-0; age 33; from England; 25-1 entering) was 212.8 pounds.
Jim Lampley called the action, along with Larry Merchant, and Roy Jones, subbing for Manny Steward, who was cornering Wladimir. Haye took his time making his way to the ring, and word filtered that he wasn’t ready to leave the dressing room, for no specified reason. His guys put booties on him before he walked to the ring, when he finally did exit his dressing room, after a delay of fifteen or so minutes. He had to make his way through a scrum of punters as his team of security shoved people out of the way. Wlad then made his way to the ring, after we saw a little theatre. Wlad talked smack on a video screen as “theatregoers” watched on a set. We saw a ring, then a street scene, where brother Vitali sat on a park bench, next to George Foreman. Let the record show it was inventive, and damned entertaining. Fireworks shot, and then Foreman collected Wlad, who walked to the ring. After the the anthems, and the stats, and Buwe got down to business. Ade Byrd, Stan Christadoulu and Mike Pernick were the judges.
In the first, Haye moved laterally and threw few left hooks. Wlad threw him down and the crowd roared. The little brother was cautious early. He warmed up with a minute left, but it was a Haye round.
In the second, Haye’s movement was working. The Wlad jab was mostly errant. He used his right earlier than he typically does, and he won the second half of the round, and probably the round itself.
In the third, Haye was staying closer to Wlad. He landed a sharp right at 2:10, and his fans roared. Haye was getting more confident, and moving less. He ate a couple on the ropes, but took the frame. You got to step to him a little bit more, the fight could be going either way, I don’t know,” Steward said after.
In the fourth, Haye’s head movement was sharp. Both men posed and feinted a lot. Merchant complained about the lack of action. A Haye right sent Wlad back late, and may have given Haye the round in a weak frame. Haye grinned in his corner as he received instructions from trainer Adam Booth
In the fifth, Wlad was busier early, with the jab. A meaningful right told Haye Wlad could crack. He then threw Haye down to the mat for the third time, after absorbing a right hand. Haye was in soccer flop mode. Wlad got the session. Haye had landed just 36 shots through 5, to Wlad’s 51. Manny told his guy to get busier after the round.
In the sixth, Haye went to the mat as Wlad leaned on him. A mouse appeared under Wlad’s left eye, for the record. Haye boxed smartly and dictated the tone.Where were the combos from Wlad? He was far too cautious.
In the seventh, the ref took a point from Wlad for throwing Haye down. Bad call, in my opinion. Haye again boxed smartly, moving, every now and again sticking. Wlad didn’t press Haye enough, and Haye’s mobility got him out of trouble when Wlad did.
In the eighth, the action was weak. Neither man deserved the frame.Steward told Wlad to fire the left hook, and that Haye was tired.he didn’t look tired.
In the ninth, a right hand lead scored for Haye. Wlad missed with most everything. He did land a right, but it was another weak round.
In the tenth, Haye threw even less than usual. A right by cautious Wlad landed. Merchant termed Haye a disgrace by this point.
In the 11th, Wlad scored a knockdown, when he threw down Haye, who helped the cause by flopping.
In the 12th, Haye landed a sharp right, and Wlad held. Finally, Wlad woke up, and got fiery. Then he went back to his regular measured, bloodless style. We'd go to the cards.I gave Haye a lot of the early rounds, for smart boxing, but can see if folks didn't, because he didn't act in an even semi aggressive fashion.
Steward talked with Merchant before the bout, and said he hoped the fight would take place. He said he wanted Wlad to start quick, and get ahead, in case the action was stopped because of the weather. Manny said the wet canvas would hurt Wlad more than Haye, because Wlad moves his feet more than the Brit does. Jones disagreed with Manny, saying Haye would be hurt by the wet canvas, because Haye has to plant to reach the taller man. Then, Roy reversed course, saying the wetness would give Haye a better chance to land a Hayemaker.