HUBBARD’S CUPBOARD – 28.11.15
By Alan Hubbard
When he watches Tyson Fury attempt to wrench away Wladimir Klitschko’s various world title belts in Dusseldorf this evening no doubt David Haye will be ruefully rubbing his chin (or maybe his big toe) and reflecting on what night have been had he shown more gumption during his own missed opportunity in Germany on the night of July 2, 2011.
Now The Hayemaker says the prospect of a redemptory re-match with Klitschko – assuming the Ukrainian deals summarily with Fury as he anticipates – or the chance to regain his former status as a world champion is what is motivating him to pull the gloves on again after an absence of 42 months. Not money, of course.
He misses the glare of the ring walk spotlight and the roar of the crowd. They always do.
His return, announced this week, has been received with a mixture of cynicism, curiosity and cautious approval.
Personally I am in the latter camp. I welcome him back because boxing needs characters with pizzazz who can fight and the former world cruiser and heavyweight champion has a proven track record in that department. Just as long as it is not another false alarm.
He seems to have chosen a half-decent opponent for his comeback at London’s O2 on January 16 in the Croatian-based Aussie Mark De Mori, even though few may have heard of him.
Once one of Don King’s men, he has lost only once in 31 bouts, with 26 ko’s, and is ranked ninth in the WBA listings. He is also a couple of years younger than 35-year-old-old Haye, who does admit: “When I looked through his record I saw nothing that sent shivers down my spine.”
The New Year is looking like an early springtime for boxing, with Haye’s ring renaissance, his erstwhile stablemate George Groves back in business, Quigg v Frampton and of course the BoxNation blockbuster in Liverpool between Terry Flanagan and Derry Matthews for the Turbo’s WBO World lightweight title on February 13.
Haye tells us he is already was back in the gym in Battersea under Shane McGuigan, who also trains world champion Carl Frampton. He will certainly need to shake off the rust quickly, having not fought since upending Dereck Chisora in that grudge fight at Upton Park in July 2012.
Subsequently he twice pulled out of scheduled fights with Fury – whom I believe he would have knocked out – citing eye and shoulder injuries.
“I have had some very low times,” says Haye.“ I have been hampered by some horrendous injuries, my body has been falling apart. But the bottom line is that fighting is what I do and I want to do and I still believe I can be the best on on planet.”
The past three years have seen him more playboy than pugilist but he is adamant that he has never let his body stray out of condition.
“Thirty five is no real age these days and for the first time in many years. I am in a good place mentally and physically. For one thing I haven’t been punched in the head for three and a half years.”
As I have said, most boxers come back for one reason only: the pay cheques.
Haye insists this is not the case, even though he sold his old boxing ring for over £60,000. “I am financially stable and I am not boxing just for the money but for the achievement. My bills are all paid – this is about my legacy.”
One suspects is also about not so much another world title shot but a possible eventual box office bonanza, an all-British showdown with the new kid on the boxing block, Anthony Joshua.
“A fight with him would be as big as anything, with or without a world title at stake,” he acknowledges.
My curiosity about his comeback also centres around his new promotional set-up. His own Hayemaker organisation propose to stage the fight in conjunction with Salter Brothers Entertainment, a marketing company who boast interests in music, television, technology, sport, and, we’re told, ‘philanthropy’ – a commodity that has not hitherto been known been to go hand in glove with the fight game.
Haye has yet to be re-licensed by the Board, which he says is being ‘sorted’ by his new promoters.
I hope they know what they are doing. It certainly wasn’t the brightest idea to hold Haye’s comeback media conference in a week when most boxing scribes were away in Germany and the papers dominated by the build-up to the Klitschko-Fury fight.
However, if he can re-discover a semblance of the venomous form which demolished Enzo Maccarinelli and then Chisora we could be in for another exciting Haye-ride.
Meantime he reckons Fury has “only a one in 20 chance” of defeating Klitschko.
“Hopefully he will win because it would be good for boxing. He might not be the best role model and he takes things way too far from time to time, but the bottom line is whether he can beat Klitschko, who is a consummate professional inside and outside the ring. I don’t think so.
Is he going to beat Wladimir, a consummate professional inside and outside the ring? Personally I give him a one in 20 shot at best, though anything can happen when two big guys get in the ring.
“Nobody expected Buster Douglas to beat Mike Tyson or Michael Moorer to beat Evander Holyfield. You never write a big man off, but in terms of technical ability, you have to question whether he has beaten anybody world class.
“The best guy on Tyson Fury’s record was Chisora. If you look at Klitschko it is a whole different story. This is really Fury’s first introduction to world heavyweight boxing. He has never fought anyone who is a true world-class fighter. To go from fighting the Chisoras of this world to go in with a strong, healthy, dominant world champion will be a step too far. But it’s going to be exciting while it lasts.”
It is hard to disagree with this assessment, or that of Frank Warren in his column here yesterday who said that Fury will struggle to get points decision in Germany, that he doesn’t have sufficient power, even for such a huge man, to knock-out Klitschko and that he is likely to discover after a few rounds at he has stepped into a different league.
Not a single British boxing writer has tipped the maverick Mancunian to win, while Fury himself says that on Sunday morning he will either wake up as the new world heavyweight champion or have egg on his face.
But if he does pull it off, the yoke will certainly be on us.
Tomorrow: Read Alan Hubbard’s Punchlines at frankwarren.com