To suggest that the Boxing heavyweight division has been in decline for the last decade would be a complete understatement.
In fact, the last real meaningful fight at heavyweight was Lennox Lewis’s bout against Vitali Klitschko, and that was way back in 2003.
Lennox was losing on the judge’s scorecards but on top at the time that the doctor was forced to pull out Klitschko due to severe cuts. He announced his retirement soon after the fight, rightfully acknowledging that his skills were diminishing. His retirement signaled the end of an era.
The next eight years saw Vitali and his brother Wladimir dominate the division, beating up on many out-of-shape, over-hyped and over-matched American frauds along the way including Shannon Briggs, Eddie Chambers, Calvin Brock and Kevin Johnson—not exactly household names.
Enter Londoner David Haye, who other than the Klitschkos, is the only fighter in the division to hold a belt of any importance (WBA)
His exciting style, mixing speed with power, means that his bout with Wladimir Klitschko on July 2nd finally gives us a heavyweight fight to get excited about.
Unfortunately, due to a complete lack of competition, it is extremely difficult to tell if David Haye is actually the real deal.
His record of 25-1 with 23 knockouts is no doubt impressive, but the biggest name out of his 25 victims is probably John Ruiz!
Listening to Haye talk though, you could be forgiven for believing he is the greatest fighter of all time. He has talked himself up to Ali levels of brilliance and has gotten away with it against lacklustrer opponents, but what makes this fight intriguing is the question of whether he can actually back it up in Germany, or if he will be completely embarrassed against Wladimir.
If the ‘Haye-maker’ ends the Klitschko reign and achieves his prediction of beating both brothers and hanging up his gloves before turning 31 in October, then he will be a real contender to be named boxer of the year, a feat that has eluded the heavyweight division since Evander Holyfield won it in 1997.
Unfortunately for boxing though if he does indeed beat both brothers and retire, he will have left the division in an even worse state then it is already in, but for now at least the David Haye/Wladimir Klitschko fight actually has people talking again about a division historically known as the sports most glamorous.