There was something inevitable about the result of Saturday’s fight between David Haye and Audley Harrison. So inevitable in fact that I told everyone who’d listen that Haye would knock old Fraudley out in the 3rd round – which he duly did.
How this ever became a championship fight is beyond me, never mind a fight worth 10million pounds.
I like David Haye, I think he is an entertaining and talented boxer who tries to fight on the front foot. But fights like this do nothing for his legacy. Fights like this are best forgotten. Much like Harrison is best forgotten. Which is why I won’t comment on him other than to say that he is useless, boring, negative, old, slow and hopefully never to be seen in the ring again.
Haye did what he set out to do, but how poignant that last week he posed for photos in homage to Muhammad Ali, and claimed to have predicted the round he would win in as the Greatest Of All Time used to do.
Ali didn’t waste time on the likes of Harrison though. He achieved the title of Greatest by fighting the best. He fought and beat Liston, Foreman, Frazier, Patterson and Cooper to name just a few. He fought 61 times, he won 56 of those fights and 37 of them by knockout. He won Olympic gold and the Heavyweight Championship three times (the first man to do so) in what is widely regarded as the golden era of boxing, having become the youngest challenger to beat a reigning champion, at the age of 22. And he did it all despite losing four years of his prime through a ban for refusing to serve in Vietnam on account of his religion.
The comparisons between Ali and Haye are easy to make. Both have a similar style, they are aggressive, light on their feet, with quick hands and a cockiness that sees them mock their opponents and fight with their guard down.
But Haye, as much as he might revel in the comparisons, is no Ali. For all their similarities there is a world of difference and several leagues of class between the pair of them. Granted Haye has done exceptionally well to move up a weight limit and he is a world champion, although given the lack of unification between belts he is only really a 25% champion. Ultimately however, he needs a unification fight, and a unification win to become a champion worth remembering rather than one that will simply act as a pundit for SkySports in retirement.
It is unfair to compare eras too much because a man can only beat what is put out in front of him. But however impressive it was to beat the monster that is Valuev to win the title it was an uninspiring fight. Since then he was convincing against John Ruiz and had the walkover fight against the enduringly dull Harrison.
But whilst he will never be considered up there with the Foreman’s, Frazier’s, Tyson’s and Lewis’s, he has the chance to be held up as one of the icons of his era if he takes the big fights awaiting him in the form of Vladimir Klitschco and his brother Vitali, both undoubtedly the dominant forces in heavyweight boxing since the retirement of Lennox Lewis.
Because for all his talk of wanting the fight, and there is enough money to be had to tempt all parties into it, for whatever reason it doesn’t seem to be any closer to happening. Aside from the difference in ability it is acting on his promises in the way Ali used to that Haye needs to do now, and not just against journeymen, if the comparisons are not to be a complete mockery and his talent not to be wasted on a mediocre title reign.
David Haye is better than Harrison, that much we already knew. It is up to him to prove to us just how good he actually is.