David Haye is sacrificing size and experience in his quest to unify the Heavyweight division.
When David Haye (25-1, 23 knockouts) takes on Wladimir Klitschko (55-3, 49 knockouts) on Saturday night, it will be the most-hyped fight in the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis took on Mike Tyson.
Klitschko is the towering Ukrainian with a steely demeanor and technical, tactical approach that sees him wear down opponents in an emotionless and routine manner.
Haye is the young, brash recently-crowned champ hoping to unify the belts by taking them one Klitschko at a time.
If Haye follows these five steps, he could find himself halfway through his mission of dethroning the brother champions.
David Haye has talked a god game for years. Now it is time to let his game to the talking for him.
I’m not going to go as far as Klitschko did when he stated Haye “talked himself into the fight.” Still, Haye’s verbal skills are as well known to boxing fans as any of his skills in the ring.
He will need the latter against Klitschko, and better save his talk for the press conferences. Haye has taunted opponents in the ring, going so far as to lower his hands and play defense only by moving his head.
Using these tactics will not even a reaction from Klitschko—and Haye should save his energy for a long fight.
Haye put Monte Barrett down again and again in one of his first heavyweight fights.
For most 6’3” heavyweights going agaist a Klitschko, I would encourage him to channel his inner Joe Frazier. Dodge the jab when you can, eat it when you have to, and for God’s sake when you get in range, make your punches count.
To ask Haye to do this would be to ask him to become a completely different fighter. As it is, Haye’s experience against Nikolai Valuev could become invaluable.
Obviously, Valuev is not anywhere near the class of fighter as either Klitschko brother. Still, "The Russian Giant" had a clear size advantage over Haye, and lived behind his jab.
Haye did a great job in that fight of circling the bigger fighter for all of the 12 rounds, peppering him with punches throughout to secure a decision.
Regardless of the style of fighter you are, to beat a bigger—more technical fighter—you have to wear him down with body shots.
For a fighter that likes to dance and outbox his opponent, Haye has has consistently gone to the body throughout his career.
A couple thunderous shots like this one (scroll to 3:25 in the clip) would go a long way towards pulling off the upset.
The best way to take a fighter out of his element is to use his most reliable weapon against him. Klitschko's jab has been his most trusted ally since he entered the sport; and he has ridden it to 55 professional wins.
Haye looks like he may have the quickness and ability to dodge Klitschko's jabs and straights, and counter when he is exposed. Klitschko has been knocked out before, and if Haye is going to come through with his six round guarantee, it is going to come with a big counter.
Knockout or not, effectively scoring off Klitschko's methodical approach would be enough to sway a decision in Haye's favor.
Haye shown a lot of power and speed in the Heavyweight division. He will need every ounce of both to win this one.
If the fight is to go in Haye’s favor, by far the most crucial element of this bout is his ability to control the fight. If Klitschko is able to jab-jab-straight-clinch, it will be another easy victory for the big Ukrainian.
If Haye can circle the bigger fighter, avoid the majority of the jabs, and pepper Klitschko with a variety of combinations, we could see all Haye’s talk finally come true.
Really, the hole fight comes down to this element. Haye is not going to completely change his style. His bob and weave has to be faster than Klitchko's hands. If not, it will be a long, and potentially dangerous night, for Haye.