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Old 07-04-2011, 01:45 PM
FrankieBruno
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http://www.espn.co.uk/boxing/sport/story/99471.html

David Haye's performance was bad from start to finish against Wladimir Klitschko, and it was clear he wasn't in the fight from as early as the second round. Nothing he tried worked.

And that's exactly what we've been hearing for the last ten years from dozens of heavyweights who have shared the ring with either of the Klitschko brothers.

Klitschko's tactics were perfect; David's might have been perfect - but he never got the chance to put them into place. Klitschko is that good, that big and that clever. David attempted a few different things, only to find himself manhandled, pushed around - and staring at a lost cause.

Klitschko read everything that David tried, and he handed out plenty of punishment - I saw David bite on his gumshield dozens of times throughout the fight. There was nothing he could do, or talk about, or prepare in the gym, to deal with it. But it's not David's failings here, it's Klitschko's glories.

I think David was absolutely stunned when he got in that ring. He couldn't quite believe everything he'd heard was true because he thought, right up until one second before the first bell, he would be too fast and too powerful. Everything he said when hyping up the fight was genuine.

But let's face it, the mind-games backfired, as Klitschko made clear when he said: "David, I love and hate you." By insulting Klitschko, Haye sharpened his focus, took him to a new level.

And operating from that higher plane, he decided to chase Haye in the first round. Who predicted that? Nobody! Not even Manny Steward, Klitschko's trainer, knew that was going to happen. Wladimir confused his corner, German commentators, British commentators - and David Haye.

I'm convinced by the second or third round, David knew the size of the task. By the fifth or sixth round he started to think: "What can I do here?" And that's when the broken toe started to hurt.

The toe wouldn't have hindered him much in the ring but, in all fairness to him, he has distanced himself from the injury post-fight. The problem was the timing, and the ordering, of his initial comments. Yes, it's semantics, but it matters.


All Haye's talk in the build-up backfired badly on fight night Getty Images
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If he'd have praised and praised and praised Klitschko - and then said something about a broken toe, then he would have got away with it.

As Saturday night became Sunday morning, he realised he made a gaffe by mentioning the toe. What he's now saying is he only brought up the toe because people asked him what went wrong. If he'd phrased it differently, he could have come out with praise.

Let's get another thing straight: He doesn't deserve a rematch. Forget it - he's got no right to one, and doesn't warrant one under any circumstances. If he were to beat someone world class, someone like Alexander Povetkin, and then conquer Vitali then, and only then, would he have a chance of fighting Wladimir again.

Would Haye beat Povetkin? There's a good chance he could. Would David beat Vitali? On the basis of the other night, absolutely not. So, for that reason, the rematch is an absolute non-starter. Who's going to buy that?

And how credible is David Haye now anyway? Yeah, he went the distance with Wladimir, but that only puts him marginally ahead of the likes of Eddie Chambers, Tony Thompson, Hasim Rahman and Kevin Johnson.

Going forward, he won't retire now, because leaving the sport at this time means he has to carry a bad memory into the rest of his life. At the moment, I fear he faces ridicule if he attends boxing events, and that's a shame - I think he's getting a dreadfully harsh and hard press, overlooking all the great fights and entertainment he's provided.

I've got a feeling he might fancy trying to go for it again, maybe by unveiling a three-fight plan over 18 months, rather than just having one goodbye bout. If he takes on someone in October, and people know he's going to retire afterwards, then who in hell is going to go to that?!

How is he going to demand pay-per-view status and then present an opponent he has no chance of losing against?!

And why should he retire in October, like he says he will? He's a baby, he's a fresh 30-year-old with hardly a mark on him.

My advice would be to try and get Povetkin, shut everybody up, as that's the only fight that, maybe, gets you anywhere near a Klitschko again.
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