Social media users know that David Haye has been active on Twitter before and following his disappointing outing against Wladimir Klitschko.
He was Tweeting before the bout, which will go down in fightgame history as a top exhibit when historians are searching for an example of a fighter talking up a typhoon of trash, only to follow that up with a pacifistic performance. "Just off to the gym to do final training session before fight," he wrote on June 30. "Damn I'm feeling sharp! I'll try not to cut myself! ;-)
No mention of the injury to his little toe which he blamed for his subpar effort Saturday. Hey, whaddya want, a pledge of truthfulness? This was apparently an exercise in marketing, almost purely so, for Haye. I considered the possibility that Haye would see this as a paycheck provider, nothing much more, when I Tweeted before the start of the bout: Just off to the gym to do final training session before fight: "Is this Haye's IRA fight? Cashout scene?"
I thought the sort of fight we saw was a possibility, only not as dreary. On June 27, I wrote:
"I see Haye using similar tactics (that he used against Valuev) against Wlad, and see Wlad not departing much from his winning ways. His trainer Steward thinks that the big Ukrainian may be fighting with a bee in his bonnet on Saturday, but the Klitschkos are where they are because they are two of the most mentally disciplined guys in the sport today."
I didn't know Wlad would be quite so disciplined, though. His output was anemic for a man with such a physical edge. He is what is, and nothing Emanuel Steward can do or say to change that. Even if he agreed to electro-shock to reboot his brain, I think he'd still be the same risk averse athlete who fights with the rigidity of a machine. The Sanders fight flipped a switch in him, and that is that. If the Haye taunting can't get his blood pressure to rise, one wonders what a foe would have to do to get his blood roiling. He is Michael Dukakis when the Duke was asked by debate moderator Bernard Shaw during the 1988 Presidential campaign if he would favor the death penalty if his wife were violated. Dukakis replied, "No, I don't, and I think you know that I've opposed the death penalty during all of my life," and drew flak for answering in a monotone, in politician-speak, instead of showing some fire, some vigor, some disgust at the crude question.
I probably gave Wlad lower marks for his showing than most any watcher out there. I was watching, and typing, so I'd have to re-watch to truly assess my take, but I had Haye piling up rounds early on. His ring generalship, the defensive side of it anyway, was much better than Wlad's. Wlad waited interminably, didn't press the smaller man, and got no credit for me for not using his physical edge. Maybe I punished him too much for that...
But I digress. I don't want to leave the reader with the impression that I was left admiring Haye's work. No, they both stunk the joint out, but Haye's stench will linger longer, because of all of his pre-fight threats and promises.
Things seemed promising the morning of the fight, when he Tweeted: "Just woke up, feeling ready for a tear up!!! :-) Porridge and fruit is being eaten...A warriors breakfast!"
I guess he meant "tear," as in the liquid that runs down your face when you're sad? As for the breakfast choice, it has been said to death already that true warriors would not take kindly to Haye being lumped in with them.
After his sad showing, in which he threw a beyond paltry 24 punches a round, Haye apologized. "Thanks for everyone who supported my tonight," he Tweeted. "I Love you all. Sorry I wasn't able to produce the goods. I did my best considering circumstances."
The circumstances he was referring to were his busted up pinky toe on his right foot. He hurt it three weeks before, he said in the ring after Klitschko had his hand raised, and yanked off his boot and sock to offer proof that it had impacted him. Hey, easy for me to sit on the sideline and opine on what he shoulda coulda done, theorize that he should've been able to shrug off the toe and be more aggressive. But he is a prizefighter. Different standards apply to the good ones. They have a pain tolerance that us Regular Joes can't fathom. It's a part, a large part, of what makes them special, of what sets their admirable legacy. "No way I could pull out after so many fans paid their hard earned money," Haye explained after. "I believed I could still win. Klit fought me great, credit to him. Wladimir was the better man last night. He did exactly what he needed to win decision. He's a great fighter, and a hard man to beat. Respect."
On surface, these are humble words. I'm not buying. Haye defrauded fans with his marketing barrage, and should parcel out refunds to any who ask for it.
And Haye's legacy? That of a BS artist who talked his way into a fight, and then gave a sad account of himsel. Like Shane Mosley, he took the money and ran.
Will the $10 million or more be worth it? Probably, actually. He seems in decent spirits, considering the nature of his effort. "Damn," he Tweeted Sunday. "For someone who smack talks like I do, I was expecting a lot more abuse & Hate! Thanks for all the Love. It drives to continue on!"
No need for that, Haye. Feel free to do what you've said you might, retire. You could start on the comedy circuit, and do a set of toe jokes, the likes of which you've been Tweeting. "I've been offered a movie roll in next years re-make of 'Scarface' The future looks bright! The lead role is playing.. Toe-ny Montana! haha"
Haha. Not. I'm not laughing, not if I ponied up hard earned cash to watch what was promised to be a fight. "I'm off my usual healthy diet and am working my way though a giant Toe-Blerone....ha ha," he joked on Tuesday.
Too soon, bud. Too soon for the wise cracks. You probably should have faded away to a tropical isle like Mosley, wait for some other fightgame atrocities for us to focus on before you reappeared and started your campaign to rehab your image.
Is it rehab-able? I guess so, even though it dropped from the gutter to the sewer when Haye talked rematch on Sunday. “Hopefully, Wlad looks at the numbers,” Haye said to the Telegraph's Gareth Davies. “There’s no one out there for him. Look at the sums. It makes economic sense. The ball is in his court."
This line of thinking indicates an unbelievaable level of delusion. Check that...tubby Odlanier Solis talked rematch after he tore his knee in round one against Vitali in March. So Haye is in good company. These two underachievers should face each other, on Friday Night Fights, and contribute their purses to a pension fund for ex fighters.
The Klitschko Crew's manager Bernd Bonte deserves a chopsbust, for publicly mentioning Haye as potential foe for Vitali after Vitali takes care of Tomasz Adamek on September 10 in Poland. Really Bonte? Get ahold of yourself, and think about something other than the bank accounts. Haye stunk the joint out, and your boy didn't set the world on fire. How about you give everyone time to simmer down, and let other atrocities occur before you plot the next revenue builder?
Hey, at least one of these guys gets it. Vitali said he'd make sure the Adamek fight won't be a snoozer. I believe him, I guess, but will hold out until proof is provided. The heavyweight scene jumped from bad to plain sad on Saturday, and maybe it's best if us keyboard tappers establish a cap on coverage until we get a whole new set of combatants in the arena.