Boxing

Haye Needs Klitschkos, Not Harrison

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 03:  David Haye (l) of England waits in a neutral corner as John Ruiz (r) of USA is given a mandatory count by the referee during the World Heavyweight Bout at the MEN Arena on April 3, 2010 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images
Graeme BradleyContributor IJuly 17, 2010

David Haye, the WBA heavyweight champion, has made it clear he wants to unify the division and leave a lasting legacy in the sport. The former can be achieved by taking on Ukrainian brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, the latter by fighting the best of the rest.

The only problem however is that the politics of the fight game, and the lack of agreement on finances, are threatening this ambition and the Londoner is set to step down a few pegs in class to find an opponent, likely Audley Harrison.

The prospect of an all-British showdown between the WBA champion and the recently vacated European champion is nowhere near as important, lucrative or worthwhile as the aforementioned bouts with either or both of the Klitschkos. The gap in calibre between Harrison and Haye is night and day and the ultimate factor is that at world level Harrison isn't a big enough name for the Hayemaker.

It wasn't too long ago I sat ringside in Manchester, England watching Harrison struggle to a points victory over Brazilian George Arias while the entire arena booed the home fighter, including when he was paraded as victor by the referee. The brave Arias received a thunderous rapture as he showed his appreciation for the backing, support Harrison could only dream of.

Harrison went on to lose his next fight against Belfast taxi driver Martin Rogan on points, but bounced back with a career-saving victory on Prizefighter: The Heavyweights. Most recently he inflicted revenge in a rematch with Michael Sprott, who won by KO in the third round back in 2007. A Force, as he is known, beat Sprott with a 12-round technical knockout and in doing so captured the European title.

While Harrison's career looks to be on the up, despite approaching 39 years of age, his boxing display leaves a lot to be desired. His infrequent punching and lack of combinations is far from entertaining and if  his opponent finds it frustrating being kept at bay behind a continuous long jab, you can imagine how viewers are feeling.

While there is admittedly a lack of talented boxers or interesting characters in the heavyweight division in contemporary boxing, surely there must be a better fight out there for Haye if he is to bide his time before having the chance to step into the square ring with either Klitschko. Lets hope Haye can get his chance at unification and if Harrison is fortunate enough to get a shot at the WBA title, he rises to the occasion like he has never done before.

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