Britain's blockbuster bout beckon: Haye vs. Maccarinelli
By Mark Pickering: Sometimes, just sometimes, the most conventional and anticipated matchmaking behind world champions is waived in favour of a bout fight fans are clamoring for. On March 8th at the O2 Arena, London, two of Britain’s finest prizefighters, WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli and WBA/WBC champion David Haye, will collide in one of the most anticipated all-British match-ups in history.
Article posted on 05.03.2008
The monumental showdown, the likes of which Britain hasn’t seen since the golden era of Benn, Eubank and Collins over a decade ago, is truly a mouth-watering prospect. With the two of Britain’s most decorated and feared world champions squaring off in their prime, divisional and domestic superiority at stake and the extra spice of Wales vs. England the cruiserweight showdown has all the hallmarks of being a bout for the ages.
The hotly anticipated bout has generated a wave of interest in boxing circles and is being tipped to be a 20,000 sell-out.
Swansea’s Enzo Maccarinelli (28-1, 21 KO’s) and Londoner Haye (20-1, 19 KO’s) are the ascendant figures in British boxing and the most publicly prominent fighters behind the infinitely popular standard-bearers Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton.
Fortunately for the cruiserweight pair and British fans the big hitters are in the same division and can have a blockbuster showdown.
The duo are on the verge of establishing themselves as household names in boxing and their March clash could pave the way for bigger and better things across the pond.
Boxing connoisseurs around the world will be catered for with the fight being screened by Showtime in America as both men look to raise their profile and corner the American market.
Their unification bout is the most anticipated and widely recognized meeting between two British world champions since former super-middleweight title-holders, Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, went toe-to-toe in their much-hyped rematch before 42,000 fans at Old Trafford in 1993.
While we look fondly back to such legendary bouts from one of British boxing’s richest era’s the chance to watch our new generation of world champions collide is simply a must-see attraction.
Yet the much-discussed meeting between Team’s Calzaghe’s cruiserweight star and the ‘Hayemaker’ was only recently a pipeline dream for the boxing fraternity.
After both sides failed to iron out a deal last year many thought the opportunity had passed with both fighters eager to remain active and lay siege to their cruiserweight counterparts. Then came David Haye’s anticipated announcement that he’d be moving up to the heavyweight division.
Haye, 27, revealed his decision to step up a division after his breathtaking come-from-behind victory over France’s double world-champion Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris.
The Bermondsey fighter recovered from a fourth round knockdown to stun the Frenchman with a deadly combination of his own to pick up a seventh round knockout victory and capture the WBA/WBC world titles.
The Londoner, who displayed a ruthless streak and the heart of a champion to hand Mormeck only his second defeat in a decade, again stressed his battle to keep his weight down and within the 200-pound cruiserweight limit.
With a fine victory in his cameo appearance at heavyweight against rugged Pole Tomasz Bonin in April 2007, an emphatic first round KO win, the ‘Hayemaker’ underlined his ambitions to make the step up.
While both Haye and Maccarinelli maintained their interest in a unification showdown the English knockout artist said the Mormeck contest was his final outing as a cruiserweight.
But behind the scenes Frank Warren and Haye’s manager Adam Booth returned to the negotiations table to finally thrash out a deal that suited both fighters.
The fighters and promoters certainly didn’t need to canvas public opinion, the unprecedented demand was apparent with fight fans understandably craving a unification meeting between the top two cruiserweights in the world.
It was due to the public clamouring for bout that Haye put his heavyweight ambitions on hold and entertained the latest bid to make the cruiserweight unification clash.
"Everybody has been asking me when I would fight Enzo," said the Londoner.
"Even after I beat Mormeck people were asking me 'when are you going to fight Enzo'? So I decided to get it on.
"It's the fight the fans want to see. I could have fought anybody but we went after this one."
His Welsh rival Enzo Maccarinelli, whose riding a twenty-five fight win-streak which dates back to 2000, is also keenly aware of the huge interest in their marquee clash.
"It's a fight all of Britain wants to see,” said the 27-year-old.
"If he wants to claim to be the best cruiserweight in the world he has to come through me, it will be a fantastic spectacle.”
Both men have a sole blemish on their records, which collectively stands at 48-2 with a staggering 40 wins by way of knockout.
The bare statistics explain the popularity of both fighters but doesn’t begin to detail the array of qualities that have seen them climb to the top of the division.
Both men possess one-hit take out power and have produced some of the most thrilling and brutal knockouts ever seen from a British prizefighter.
Their explosive styles are tailor-made for a firecracker of a showdown that will be the greatest and most watched of their careers.
As two of the biggest punchers in the sport it comes as no surprise that their KO power and heavy hands has seen off the entire cruiserweight division.
When the situation calls for a change in tact both have displayed a punch variety, a cool head and an ability to come back from the jaws of defeat to record resounding victories.
“Our records speak for themselves. We're the best at what we do in the cruiserweight division and we both have knockout power in either hand," said Haye.
"In the past we've both shown vulnerabilities but have always shown big hearts to come back and turn the tables.”
And Swansea man Maccarinelli said: “We’re two boys who fight the same way – we like to take the other guys out.
"Everyone says it will be an early finish but if it isn't then it will be the 12 most brutal rounds seen in British boxing, and that's a fact."
Come fight night the star pair are sure to give free-reign to their greatest instincts and you can guarantee it won’t be the faint hearted.
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