Wladimir Klitschko v David Haye (02/07/11) Preview
Since unifying the cruiserweight division, David Haye 25-1 (23) has excelled in his 20lb or so jump into the heavyweight scene, admittedly against a string of soft opposition.
First up was respected American journeyman Monte Barrett, followed by the limited Russian giant and WBA champion Nicolay Valuev, who had been handed the belt back after losing it in the ring. Then came solid all round pro—yet over the hill—John Ruiz.
Not to say Haye wouldn’t have beaten Ruiz in his prime, but the truth is Ruiz was never considered a formidable opponent at any point. I think Haye had one more fight after this but something tells me I don’t even want to go there.
IBF and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko’s 55-3 (49) last four came against Samuel Peter, Eddie Chambers, Ruslan Chageav and Hasim Rahman (all wins, as were Haye’s). None of which will be expecting a letter from the boxing hall of fame at any point, but it must be said this is a more impressive list than that of Haye.
Add to this the fact that it is hard to score a clean punch landed on Klitschko between the four of them. On paper, Klitschko is a very strong favourite. Haye got knocked down by Barrett, although due to hitting Haye while he was on the canvas referee Richard James Davis did not initiate a count. Klitschko disposed of Barrett with ease some years earlier.
As we all know, what is written on paper can be cast aside once the bell rings. Different styles allow for different fights. So let’s break this one down based on the fighters themselves.
With both fighters boasting a knockout ratio of over 80 percent, I can’t see either man having an edge in power. Haye, 30, has the edge in hand and foot speed, while Klitschko, 34, will enjoy advantages in every other department including height, reach, weight and experience. Both men are at their physical peak so I don't see Haye's four year age advantage as a true benefit. In fact, another four years of heavyweight experience wouldn’t have gone a miss to prepare Haye for this particular assignment.
Make no mistake; this isn’t going to be a Vitali Klitschko-Lennox Lewis war type of fight. Despite Haye’s ruthless reputation, he will be extremely cautious throughout this fight, much as he was against Valuev.
Haye will constantly be looking for an explosive counter attack the moment Klitschko makes a mistake. He is not going to be able to out-jab or outwork the larger man as Klitschko has the better engine and, due to his size advantages, he won’t need to expel as much energy as Haye when launching attacks.
Klitshcko will be probing with the jab as always, looking to add the straight right when or if he feels comfortable enough to do so. I believe Klitshcko will be very wary of Haye’s power, which will make for a slow but interesting fight.
Haye is going to be looking for the knockout, but not in the exciting fashion you might expect. Once a Haye attack is launched it will be short lived assuming his towering opponent manages to regroup. Haye will then reset and continue to look for the next opening. Haye is going to struggle to land short punches such as uppercuts and hooks, while Klitschko prefers to use straight shots anyway, so the fight will be contested at long range.
It seems logical that Haye's best chances of succeeding will come in the first four rounds, catching his opponent cold or unawares. Klitschko will have his best moments in the last four rounds, once Haye has slowed down.
Neither man likes to fight on the inside, but Haye must have an answer to Klitschko leaning his weight on his back during clinches. Klitschko trainer Emmanual Steward is a master of teaching his charges this energy sapping tactic.
Haye’s trainer, Adam Booth, will have been working on a complete Klitshcko-specific game plan, so we can expect Haye to have the best possible preparation for this fight and I do believe he has a very good chance of winning.
Unfortunately I don’t believe this will be enough. I see Haye taking some serious punishment the further this fight goes on and eventually being stopped around the 10th. He was too easy to hit with the jab by smaller men such as Mormeck and Fraggameni at Cruiserweight. With respect, Klitschko is not only a better fighter than these two; he is around 50lb’s heavier and five inches taller.