Haye, Marked
By JD Camacho (March 30, 2010) Doghouse Boxing  
Heavyweight titlist and former undisputed cruiserweight champion David Haye is in high demand. Against Nikolai Valuev, Haye sold nearly 1 million pay-per-view buys on the British premium network SKY – a staggering number, considering the US equivalent would be something similar to 5 million PPV buys on HBO. He has been on dozens of British talk shows and news networks in the past month. 20,000 raucous, partisan fans are expected for his bout with John Ruiz at the Manchester Evening News Arena this weekend. He is on the cover of SKY SPORTS latest magazine, in a shoot by celebrated photographer David Bailey. And Haye – Ruiz will be the first world title fight in England featuring a British fighter since Lennox Lewis – Frans Botha a decade ago.

But his fans and the British press aren’t the only ones demanding Haye’s attention. Several opponents have also set their sights on the brash Briton.

Future hall-of-famer Bernard Hopkins, who fights on the same night as Haye in Las Vegas against longtime, long faded adversary Roy Jones, has expressed interest in fighting Haye. A Haye – Hopkins tilt would require the ageless legend to move up over 25 pounds to the heavyweight limit.

RING and unified heavyweight titlist Wladimir Klitschko, who recently dispatched top US contender Eddie Chambers, has once again voiced a desire to make Haye’s mug into “a pizza face,” just like he claimed last year before Haye aborted their proposed fight. An optional unification against Haye would leave undefeated mandatory Alexander Povetkin out in the Russian cold for the time being.

The elder Vitali Klitschko, also a fellow titlist, wishes to take the play from his younger brother first, after taking care of unheralded challenger Albert Sosnowski in May. The Sosnowski bout will be Vitali’s fourth fight in fourteen months.

And Valuev, the gigantic recent Haye victim, looks to exercise his rematch clause of their close and mostly uneventful match.

Why do all these fighters target the London, England product? Is it his mouth? After all, Haye has claimed that Ruiz is “a cure for insomnia” and that the younger Klitschko “lacks killer instinct.” Is it his drawing power? Haye’s current British popularity may rival even the semi-retired Ricky Hatton’s. Is it his thrill factor? In his four fights prior to Valuev, Haye was either knocked down or knocked his opponent down twelve times in a mere fifteen rounds. Is it his vulnerability? Several cruiserweights have hurt Haye, and fringe heavyweight Monte Barrett virtually put him down.

Perhaps it’s a combination of all those things. Perhaps all these fighters see an easy, exciting, bothersome mark that they can make money against. Against Ruiz, Haye needs to demonstrate that he’s not as easy as he looks.

And if he doesn’t, those opponents need to mark someone else.


- Andre Dirrell – Arthur Abraham was a bizarre affair. Whether Dirrell was exaggerating the illegal blow or not, I do think that Abraham was rightly disqualified. That said, what Abraham did was no worse than what Antonio Margarito did to Miguel Cotto and what Marco Antonio Barrera did to Juan Manuel Marquez. In both of those cases, the “right” guy won anyway, so there was little complaint. I expect that to be case here. Eventually, anyway…
- Marcos Maidana can fight. But we already knew that. If Amir Khan can outbox Paulie Malignaggi (a guy who’s only REALLY been beaten by guys who just overpowered him), beating a guy like Maidana might answer the last question most have about the one-time Tomato Khan…
- I don’t know what Joan Guzman was so happy about after beating Ali Funeka in their rematch. He had to pay Funeka 25% of his purse, and he was four pounds over the division ABOVE lightweight. If he plans to stay there, he’s not beating any decent welterweight at the moment. And if he just goes to 140? Well, he’d have to make the weight first. If I were an opponent, it’d be hard for me to trust Guzman without putting more contractual weight penalties in place…
- Marquez – Juan Diaz II on PPV? C’mon, Golden Boy Promotions. This just feels exploitative. And you’re putting it in Las Vegas? That does, too. I thought this period of boxing was over. Guess I was naïve…

JD at: jdcamachorj@gmail.com

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