A question I keep asking myself, like many boxing fans, is “do we believe David Haye”? We know that, for now, Haye and Wladimir won’t be fighting any time soon, though how much of David Hayes rambling chit chat are we supposed to believe? We know for a fact he’s not been completely honest with us so far, so when is he? Or even more pertinently, will he ever be? Did he really refuse to sign a contract because Wladimir wanted to face Dereck Chisora first in what will almost certainly be a glorified sparring session?
Haye, prior to moving to the heavyweight division full time faced Tomasz Bonin, and said this “Bonin is an aggressive, come-forward heavyweight who will ask me the kind of questions (Giacobbe) Fragomeni and (Lasse) Johansen did down at cruiserweight,”. Now whether he was just being polite to Bonin, had no idea who he was fighting or something it had to be remembered that Bonin had been beaten by Audley Harrison. In fact Harrison had stopped Bonin who’s professional record looked decent on paper at 37-1 going in to facing Haye. Though Bonin had been dropped by debutant Pavel Silvin in his fight previous to facing Haye. It’s also worth adding that Haye had also said “There are a lot of Eastern Europeans at the top of the heavyweight pile, and I feast on Eastern Europeans for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve never lost to one in 16 years of boxing.” He’s oddly not fought a lot of them, maybe he doesn’t like feasting. The only Eastern Europeans on his professional resume are Valeri Semiskur (Ukrainian born Estonian), Oleksandr Hurov (Ukraine) and Nikolay Valuev (Russia).
Going forward, Haye infamously challenged Wladimir on an escalator in London. Haye claimed “I’m the main man”, either lying or delusional, I’m happy to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he probably thought that saying it would sound good rather than meaning it. He also said “I don’t need to prove anything”, the folks that believed this were the delusional ones, Haye had to prove everything at heavyweight, he was a nobody who seemingly liked to talk a lot. “I’m the best fighter out there” was another boastful claim by Haye during that infamous exchange, seemingly under-rating Wladimir’s brother Vitali. “Next year” Haye said, oddly during the whole of 2009 he fought just once, against Nikolai Valuev at the very end of the year pulling out of a fight with Wladimir and turning down Vitali.
Also on that escalator he asked what Alexander Povetkin had done. Just to quickly answer that, he’d won an Olympic gold medal Dave, a bit better than your Silver at the 2001 World Amateur Championships, actually Povetkins Gold at the 2003 World Amateur Championships also beats that silver. More humour, now looking back was that Haye was complaining about Wladimir hiding behind his mandatory’s, yet Haye spent 2010 dealing with his mandatory (John Ruiz) and an Olympic gold medal winner (Audley Harrison), ironic really. As was Haye saying “You beat your two mandatory’s and I’ll beat two top 10 fighters”, amazingly since April 2007 (the escalator incident) Hayes opponents have been Monte Barrett, Nikolai Valuev, John Ruiz and Audley Harrison, only 1 of them would have been considered a consensus top 10 at the time Haye fought them. Was this another lie of Haye facing two “top 10” or was he just using the WBA’s rankings for top 10? Would any top 10 from any of the awarding bodies have counted?
In the build up to the Valuev fight Haye claimed “I am going to embarrass him, knock him out.” Yet aside from wobbling the Russian giant in the 12th round seemed to never land a full blooded shot and never looked like stopping, never mind knocking out Valuev. Just months later in the build up for his fight with John Ruiz the forgetful Haye said “nobody in the world can go 12 rounds with me”, if this wasn’t a flat out lie, it would be a sign that Haye had either amnesia or dementia. Though Haye may not be very good at telling the truth claiming that an almost 40 year old Ruiz was “in the best shape of his life”. Although he was in decent shape and at just 231lbs, he had been in much better shape circa 2000-2001 when he fought his trilogy with Evander Holyfield weighing in the region of 225-230 and aged just almost 10 years younger than he was against Haye. After the fight Haye came out with “Given the option my next fight won’t be against Valuev. I want to fight who the fans who want me to fight,“, a half truth admittedly, he didn’t fight Valuev again, but yet ended up with Audley Harrison instead, a fight the fans openly condemned (the general public may have enjoyed it, the boxing fans didn‘t).
Against Ruiz however Adam Booth was in on the act too:
“This is the hardest fight for David out there. He (Ruiz) is a seasoned and successful heavyweight. He has new vigor. His worst days are behind him, best days ahead of him, and we’re prepared.” The hardest fight? Harder than both Klitschko’s? Chagaev? Povetkin? Ruiz’s best days are ahead of him? Well ok maybe that’s true, he’s been retired and boxing fans have stopped slagging him off as much as they once did, though in terms of boxing it was his last fight, things cant get much worse than that.
Perhaps the most blatant lie so far though was Haye’s talk on Audley Harrison. Firstly saying he would “never” fight Harrison, then hyping up the fight saying “‘It will be violent but prolonged.” The fight had all the violence of an episode of Teletubbies and although it felt like it was really long it did only last around 8 minutes. Hilariously the talk from Haye also included these snippets:
“I don’t believe he deserves a shot at the title.”-But he gave him it anyway
“Then they hear someone like Audley Harrison, who has failed the British public. Unlike me, he hasn’t done what he said he would do.”-Such as fight a Klitschko and beat 2 top 10 fighters?
So after the latest falling out over a fight with Wladimir Klitschko and several of Hayes biggest promises seemingly floating away like dust in the wind will he ever fight a Klitschko? Will he ever be “the main man”? And possibly the most interesting, will he really retire before he’s 31? On current form I wouldn’t bet on this being his last year in the ring, in fact I’d give him 3 or 4 year at very least, he’s said a lot and seems to rarely carry through with it, I doubt his retirement will be any different. Not saying he’s a liar, just his word can be taken with a pinch of salt and his legacy may be nothing more than “That mouthy bloke from England”.