David Haye wasn’t especially pleased with how Joe Joyce performed during his third-round, technical-knockout victory over Michael Wallisch last month in London.
The former WBA heavyweight champion considered Joyce too heavy and too reckless, even against an unimposing opponent who had been stopped in three of his previous four fights. Haye, an analyst for BT Sport, hopes Joyce comes better prepared for his domestic showdown with Daniel Dubois.
If London’s Dubois (14-0, 13 KOs) beats Germany’s Erik Pfeifer (7-0, 5 KOs) on August 29 at BT Sport’s Studio in London, Dubois and Joyce will meet October 24 at O2 Arena, also in London. Haye feels Pfeifer is a much tougher opponent for Dubois than Wallisch was for Joyce, who dropped Wallisch once in the second round and twice in the third round.
“He got the job done,” Haye said during BT Sport’s post-fight coverage. “Look, he let his hands go. He beat the guy up like he was a bongo. And I was unhappy with the amount of clean punches he was taking. He took about five or six big, concussive [punches] that he could’ve avoided. I know he’s got very good reflexes.
“He didn’t really shine here tonight. I wouldn’t want him to go into the fight with Dubois with the same mindset he had here tonight. He had no consideration for [how] the punches were coming. He [leaned] backwards a couple of times from some of the right hands, crude right hands from Wallisch. But against Dubois, he’s gonna really need to get them feet going.”
Germany’s Wallisch (20-4, 13 KOs) drilled Joyce with several stinging right hands in the opening round. London’s Joyce (11-0, 10 KOs) overcame his sluggish start to batter Wallisch into submission, but Haye criticized the 2016 Olympic silver medalist’s approach.
“I thought he was gonna attack this fight like he would treat the Dubois fight,” Haye explained. “You normally use these fights before the big ones as a little rehearsal, a dress rehearsal. He came in here heavier than I’d have liked him to be and he just marched him down. That’s good and well against this level of opponent. But at world level, when someone can take you out in one shot, you have to get your head moving, you’ve got to show some feints, you’ve gotta set something up. Against Wallisch, he could just go out there and boom, boom, boom. He knew no one outside of world level can take that. This is a good enough to beat everybody up until the top 10 in the world.
“But he’s fighting Dubois, and Dubois isn’t one of those guys you can just walk down. He needs to be a bit smarter. I know Joyce can box. I’ve seen him box consistently in the gym, in the ring. When he’s fought so many different fighters, he’s used his legs. He’s got great movement. He’s a great athlete. As I said, he can do flips. Let’s see some of that stuff. So, hopefully, when he goes back to the gym, he can review the fight and realize the shots he got hit with are shots he should not be getting hit with, where he can then get some confidence going into this big Dubois clash.”
England’s Haye wants Joyce to come in lighter for the Dubois bout as well.
The 6-feet-6 Joyce weighed in at 270 pounds the day before battering Wallisch. He officially weighed 256 pounds for his prior appearance – a 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Bryant Jennings in July 2019 at O2 Arena in London.
“I don’t think he looked [like] the same fighter because he wasn’t moving like he normally does,” Haye said. “He wasn’t avoiding the punches. He didn’t slip. When I say slip, I mean coming into the shot and moving. He didn’t do that. And that’s been something that he’s been working on for a long time. He’s worked with Ismael Salas. Salas is about rhythm, about timing, about flow, about moving. I know Salas is coming back into camp soon for this fight. … [Joyce] needs to get those legs going. He’s got great movement with his legs, and he’s gonna need to use those legs against Dubois to stay out of that danger zone early. If he can get into the second half of the fight, then he can start pressing, in my opinion. Or he may just walk [Dubois] down like [he did with Wallisch]. You never know. But it will be a very, very risky strategy against a young man who punches so hard.”
The 34-year-old Joyce expects to be lighter and sharper when he boxes Dubois because Cuba’s Salas will be able to train him for that fight. COVID-19 restrictions kept Salas, whose gym is in Las Vegas, and Joyce from working together for his win against Wallisch.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.