David Haye: How to Package a Would-Be Champion

Amit ChauhanCorrespondent INovember 16, 2008

"To be a great champion you must believe you are the best. If you’re not, pretend you are." – Muhammad Ali

Saturday night was meant to signal the arrival of a new exciting heavyweight prospect. At the O2 arena, David Haye fought and defeated Monty Barrett.

Thus, announcing his assault on the heavyweight ranks.

However, his win was overshadowed by a publicity machine gone wild. To be fair, this publicity machine is apparent across the board in boxing.

It is there to mask a lack in depth or make the viewing public more interested in "money" fights. These "money" bouts detract from better fighters with lesser known names.

It is this machine that is putting forward the upcoming Oscar De La Hoya/ Manny Pacquiao fight as a balanced fight, rather than a ridiculous catch weight encounter.

It is the same system that made us believe that Roy Jones Jr. could prove a competitive test for Joe Calzaghe. In this case, the medium of reality television crossed over with boxing to form the award winning series 24/7.

In Haye’s case, he has become the brand and promoter.

Much like De la Hoya’s Golden Boy productions, Haye-maker Productions is David Haye’s vehicle. This was advertised everywhere in the ring before the fight, in a manner bordering on the ridiculous.

Before the fight, Haye’s had focused all his attention on the Klitschko brothers, almost brushing off Monty Barrett and maybe that was because he knew it wouldn’t be a test.

In the fight, Haye knocked down Barrett multiple times and finally stopped him in the fifth. This fight was meant to show Haye’s as championship material.

Unfortunately, it showed a few weaknesses.

One of which was that Barrett caught Haye with a few shots. This doesn’t seem like much but with opposition as strong as Vitali or as technical as Wladimir Klitschko this could be a problem.

If Barrett was just a warm up for a future fight then Haye would have done well. However, if Haye was using this as a yard-stick then it was a pointless exercise.

A washed up Barrett was no competitive test.

The fight became comical even before the initial bell. During Barrett’s entrance the American stumbled over the ropes and into the ring.

A brash Haye after the fight announced his intention to fight one of the championship holding Klitschko brothers next year. Vitali was on hand at ringside to hear this announcement and challenge to his crown.

The English crowd in attendance cheered their countryman.

Many wanting to believe that England could produce another champion in a sport where a nations hope has always been on a rollercoaster ride.

Hopefully for their sakes, the reality will live up to the hype.