Love him or hate him David Haye is putting boxing back in the spotlight in the countdown to his World Heavyweight title fight with Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg on July 2. And you have got to admire the Londoner for putting his reputation on the line on foreign soil against an opponent with such a massive physical advantage.
The Ukranian IBF and WBO world champion has three extra inches in height and reach and around two stone extra weight. Haye, despite being the WBA heavyweight champ, has already been written off by some experts as a cruiserweight no-hoper taking on a super heavyweight with superb boxing skills.
But mark my words, there is more to the self-proclaimed Hayemaker than the British press are giving him credit for. Let’s be honest, Haye is not popular with the media and much of the boxing establishment in his own country.
He has been portrayed as a trash-talking big-mouth with no class by some commentators. The Sun’s ‘Voice of Boxing’ Colin Hart has slaughtered Haye for refusing to shake Klitschko’s hand in the build-up to the fight and accused him of pseudo-sentimentality for dedicating his world heavyweight title unification clash with Klitschko to the memory of Sir Henry Cooper.
“I can assure him Sir Henry would have been appalled at such boorish ignorance,” writes Hart.
But there is something about Haye that makes me want to believe he is the real deal. And my belief that this could be a great upset in the making is reinforced by the words of former Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard trainer Angelo Dundee, who was completely sold on him after watching him train in Florida.
Angelo Dundee predicts Haye triumph but he’s still underdog
Dundee, 89, is not only picking the 30-year-old to pull off an upset and beat Klitschko. But Dundee sees Haye becoming an all time top 15 heavyweight in the process. “David Haye will go down in history, he’s excellent, I’m very impressed,” said Dundee. “David Haye, after he knocks out Klitschko, will be with the top 15. He’s for real, he can fight and he knows what he’s doing.”
Haye genuinely sounds like a fighter who relishes the opportunity to fulfill Dundee’s prophesy and is already talking about postponing retirement to take on Vitali Klitschko after his fight with Wladimir.
“When I beat him that will definitely be a task for me to beat his brother as well, ” said Haye earlier this week, having previously put down Wladimir by announcing: “This is a massive fight not only for me but also for boxing. I am going to rid the sport, especially the heavyweight division of the boredom fans have had to put up with because of the Klitschko brothers.”