By Gary Purfield
It was called the biggest heavyweight fight since Lewis vs. Tyson. It was considered the first true test for champion Wladimir Klitschko in a long time and possibly his career defining fight. It was also considered Wlad’s most dangerous bout since the knockouts earlier in his career.
Instead it turned into a same old modern heavyweight title fight. A slow, boring, dull affair that will not evoke any memories of the day when the heavyweight title was the most prestigious title in sports. No one will confuse this with Ali-Frazier or even Holyfield-Bowe for that matter.
As many Klitschko fights go the pre-fight affair and ring entrances were the most exciting part of the night. Once again a Klitschko fight for all the buildup, all the pre-fight excitement, and big ring entrances, the actual fight failed to deliver or remotely live up to expectations.
This time it was more the opponents fault as Haye just would not engage, Klitschko could have been more aggressive but more of the blame falls on the loud Brit who did nothing more than occasionally leap in with an overhand right or leaping left hook.
Before the fight the psychological warfare that has gone on between these two for several years continued before the bell rang. Haye did not enter the ring at the appointed time choosing to wait. Then Wlad paid him back making Haye wait in the ring. Then once in the ring Haye took his time getting to the center of the ring for final instructions while Wlad stood waiting.
Once the bell rang, the excitement died. Klitschko chased Haye around the ring throwing his feared jab and some right hands. Haye showed his exceptional speed and athleticism by slipping Wlad’s shots better than any opponent has. The issue was Haye, who danced around the ring with his hands down, did nothing offensively. Haye would claim after the fight he had a broken toe that made it impossible to push off on his right foot and land his Hayemaker. Haye even took his shoe off to show the toe.
The pattern continued for twelve long rounds. Wlad jabbed, sometimes threw a right. Haye danced, occasionally leaped in with an overhand right and even once in a while landed it. This writer will not bore or insult the reader by trying to attempt to dissect this fight from a style perspective any more than those few sentences.
A fight almost broke out in the twelfth round when Haye landed a right that momentarily stunned Wlad who held on. Following the clinch Klitschko came after Haye with the most aggression he displayed all night and landed some shots of his own. The slight excitement in round twelve was far too little too late for the many boxing fans that were so excited for a big heavyweight clash, but ultimately will be so disappointed by what they got.
In the end Klitschko walks away with his IBF, WBO, and Ring Magazine belts while taking Haye’s WBA strap as well. The final scores were 117-109, 118-108, and 116-110 all for Klitschko. Between the Klitschko brothers Wladimir and Vitali who has the WBC belt they now have a every major heavyweight title available. To Wlad’s credit he expressed that he was disappointed in the fight and felt this was bad for boxing.
Klitschko 56-3 (49 KO) is the winner of the fight but hardly did anything to silence the many critics that he is a boring fighter. Haye 25-2 (23 KO) is the loser of the fight but hey, he suffered no physical punishment and walks away with a huge payday despite a dreadful performance. The fans are the real losers in this one.
Best moments of the broadcast was Larry Merchant’s comments who was on fire making fun of Haye and other topics. My two favorites below with two more notes.
- Before the fight started when the British fans who were outnumbered by German fans but overpowered them with noise HBO’s Jim Lampley stated, the British are out voicing Germans and are properly fueled. Larry Merchant followed with, some would say beer is good, people are crazy.
- Merchant had tons of comments making fun of the fight and Haye but said it all when he stated, wake me when the fight starts.
- Two odd moments in this dull affair. In round seven a point was taken from Klitschko for repeatedly pushing David Haye to the canvas even though as often as not it seemed Haye was jumping in and then flopping down. Then when Haye continued and was clearly flopping referee Gino Rodriguez fixed this behavior in round 10 by awarding Klitschko a knockdown when Haye landed on the canvas.
- One more comment. Later this year Tomasz Adamek will fight the other brother Vitali Klitschko. Adamek may or may not win and is certainly a big underdog for good reason. At the very least, Adamek will make an effort and if that means going down swinging so be it. Unlike Haye he would not steal money and rip off the fans in this manner that was seen today.
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