Heavyweight belt-holder Nikolai Valuev will go into his defense against former undisputed cruiserweight champion, David Haye, with his usual 80-plus pound weight advantage as well as his towering height differential.
He will see something in Haye that he has not seen in quite sometime, an opponent with excellent hand-speed. Haye can rip quick punches with some authority over at least the first half of his fights.
You can forget Haye's vaunted cruiserweight power --- as a heavyweight he is at best a slightly above-average hitter. Valuev has never been on the deck and it is likely not in Haye to produce the first knockdown.
Haye's bet course of action is to punch in quick combinations, not allowing the bigger man to establish a jab or to set for his own ponderous one-two combinations. Haye, while possessing a suspect chin, should not have to worry too much about Valuev's punching power. Despite his great size, Valuev pushes his punches and counts on wearing down his foes with constant pressure and a jab that is better than one would think.
The difference in the fight will be what happens after round six. Haye has a habit of showing signs of fatigue as his fights move into the later stages. If he stops moving, curtails combination punching, or allows himself to languish on the ropes, a highly motivated Valuez will get to him and carry the late rounds.
PREDICTION: For all of his constant blather, Haye does not have the goods to succeed against the best of the heavyweight division. Fortunately for him he won't be facing the best in Valuev -- so he has a chance at a victory and a belt (though let's be clear, this belt is of dubious value). Unfortunately for him, he has some weaknesses that were not exposed by the cruiserweights he faced or the over-the-hill gang of heavyweights he has faced more recently. Valuez won't be intimidated and won't drop at the first big right hand that lands flush --- in fact he won't drop at all. Look for Valuev to keep pushing forward, throwing his above-average jab and occasionally mixing in his slow rights. Haye will sweep the first 4-5 rounds and then he'll fade. By round 10 he'll be on the defensive and Valuev will keep marching ahead.
Valuev by unanimous 12-round decision.