Thursday, November 11, 2010

Haye to take on Harrison for ‘other’ heavyweight title

By JE Grant

Saturday David Haye, considered by the WBA to be the world heavyweight champion, faces fellow Brit Audley Harrison in defense of his title in the M.E.N. arena in Manchester, England.

Let’s be clear, this is a mildly interesting bout between two men who in decades past would not be vying for a championship, at least not against each other.

Haye was a highly successful cruiserweight that mouthed his way to a so-called world title match against giant Nikolai Valuev and proceeded to run past his ponderous opponent, stopping only to flick enough punches to win a decision. (The fact that the belt was inexplicably stripped from Ruslan Chagaev, who himself had defeated Valuev to win it, only to be regifted back to Valuev is an article for another day – but suffice to say here that Valuev had a dubious claim to his belt).

Instead of trying to solidify his position, as Mike Tyson would say it, as the “Baddest Fighter on the Planet,” Haye chose the safest path the WBA would allow. He followed his win over Valuev with a blasting of way over-the-hill John Ruiz. Haye is now 3-0 as a heavyweight.

Proposed bouts with Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko never materialized as the boxing world now realizes because Haye wants no part of the brothers.

For his part, Harrison, the 2000 Super-Heavyweight Gold Medalist in the Sydney Olympics, was the one-time heir apparent to the great Lennox Lewis. Possessed with tremendous size, mobility, and power, he was a sure thing.

His career path was, to say the least, unusual. After turning pro at 29, he fought relatively infrequently for someone needing to make the most of his prime years. Puzzling losses to Danny Williams, a big, rugged, but limited heavyweight; Dominick Guinn, a talented fighter with his own set of peaks and valleys; a brutal knockout loss to Michael Sprott; and club-fighter-level Martin Rogan seemingly ended any hopes of real contention.

So what qualifies him for a title now? A rematch win over Sprott, in a bout he saved with a final round knockout after falling way behind, and three bouts against novices in the British ‘Prizefighter’ contest --- certainly not the credentials of a world-beater.

What we’re left with is a bout with one skilled, though largely untested heavyweight titlist in David Haye, against a once-golden prospect in Audley Harrison who fizzled every time he came close to moving up the ladder of heavyweight success.

Despite what would appear to be an easy payday for Haye against a “name” opponent, Harrison, because of his size and power has a chance of walking out of the ring with a new belt. His left-handed stance will prove awkward for Haye to handle. If his right handed jab is flowing, Haye’s chin make get a real test in the heavyweight division from an opponent who can end a fight with a single shot --- ask Michael Sprott about that.

Unfortunately for Harrison, those distinct advantages will likely not be enough on Saturday. Haye is clearly faster and enters the ring with confidence and power of his own. Harrison has routinely faltered as he approached stardom and his own chin has let him down -- again ask Michael Sprott about that.

Haye will get to Harrison early and often, and we will see if, when the heat is on, Harrison can for the first time in his career rise to the occasion. Don’t count on it.

PREDICTION: Haye by knockout in 5.


Anonymous Ondrizek said...

JE, I don't bother to give this fight the name of a title bout. I'm sold only on the linear title which as you know is Wladimir's. SO I look at this as a bout of two British contenders. Both of which could beat Derek Chisora any day of the week, but that is another comment at another time. Haye smashes through A-Farce today and will hopefully follow through on his promise to face a Klitschko.

5:22 AM  
Anonymous Ondrizek said...

As for Haye dipping out on the Klitchko's. Money. Simply. Haye's fight with Wladimir was structured as ALL of David's purse was dependant on what Setanta sports (British TV rights) was going to pay him. Which was around 8million pounds. Problem was, he caught wind of them going under weeks before the fight so he pulled out. 2 weeks later, Setanta was no more. I'm not the biggest Haye fan, but I can't fault a man for not wanting to fight for the heavyweight title for free. Bad contract and poor foresight, but still. As for the Vitali fight, more money and an easier way to gain negotiating leverage against Vitali was put forth in front of Haye in the terms of Nikolai Valuev. Once again, I don't give credence to ANY sanctioning body, so I could give 2 shits if they stripped Ruslan to give to Chewbacca. Basically, two contenders squared off, which wouldn've been the case had David fought Vitali. I don't condone Haye's method of procurring a fight with Wladimir, but in a sick sense.......I understand. BTW. I really like this fight today. Two top British fighters with the biggest followers duking it out for the right to be called the best British heavyweight AND it'll be a globally watched affair. C'mon that's good stuff right there

5:29 AM  
Anonymous Ondrizek said...

A 3rd rd KO for Haye. Was Harrison ever really in this fight? Haye trully is the only real threat to Wladimir, but will we see that fight, or we will have a gay boxing version of the cold war. Constant talk and positioning for a HUGE fight, only to have nothing happen and Wlad's career will end with some ailment and Haye's will be crushed by his own ego or libido

4:14 PM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

So we didn't find out anything in this fight that we didn't already know. Harrison is just a cut below the championship level and has never fully committed himself to winning a championship. None of this lets Haye off the hook with the Klitschkos -- they are committed and have more talent, power, and speed than Harrison. Haye's excuses won't hold water much longer and he's already run out of fellow British contenders. If a Klitschko isn't his next opponent, look for him to fall into obscurity.

4:30 AM  
Blogger boxinglover9 said...

OT: Good to know Manny Pacquiao will be fighting this year (against Tim Bradley) . Good news is that you can still watch his videos at the Manny Pacquiao Official Youtube channel on Youtube!

7:30 PM  

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