Boxing


Matt Skelton - "I'm Here If Ever David Haye Wants To Prove He Is The Best Heavyweight In Britain"

By James Slater: The underrated Matt Skelton is one of the nicest guys in today's heavyweight division - be that the world's scene or the British scene. As such, the 41-year-old is not a man to call out and criticise any fellow boxer in his weight class. However, the "Bedford Bear," who recently captured the European heavyweight title and is also the reigning Commonwealth boss, is somewhat puzzled when it comes to the attention, praise and opportunities that have come the way of fellow UK big man David Haye..

Skelton, who defends his Commonwealth belt against the unbeaten Irishman Martin Rogan on February 28th, says he is too long in the tooth to get himself into a slanging match with Haye or anyone else when it comes to who is the best heavyweight hailing from Britain today. But the 41-year-old man-mountain with the 22-2(19) pro record feels he would take "The Hayemaker" to a place he has never been before should they get it on.

In the past, Skelton's promoter Frank Warren has offered Haye upwards of 600,000 for a fight with Skelton, only for Haye to say he'd rather retire from boxing than do business with Warren. But though the fight seems unlikely to happen, and though the mild-mannered Skelton is unwilling to have a go at Haye verbally, the European and Commonwealth champ has been unable to avoid making a comment on how Haye has been fortunate in how his career has been going.

Speaking with The Sunday Mirror, Skelton spoke about how "lucky" Haye has been.

"I'm too experienced to get involved in slanging matches but Haye is a lucky fighter," Matt said. "I've won and lost titles, fought for a proper world title and I've just won the European title against the odds in Italy - but for some reason here is the British heavyweight getting all the breaks.

"I wish him all the best but I hope he doesn't forget I'm here if ever he wants to prove he is the best heavyweight in Britain. Let him fight one of the Klitschko brothers for a world title and then he can fight me if he can see me."

Without a doubt, a Haye-Skelton showdown would be a huge fight for Britain, with both men attracting a vast number of paying fans. But Skelton is a realist, and he knows Haye does not have him on his radar, concentrating as he is on the glamour fights the 41-year-old is unlikely to ever get. Skelton has always done things the hard way, and it seems this trend will continue.

This is not to say Haye is a better fighter than Skelton, or the other way on - we seem destined never to find out by way of a match-up between the two - but the 41-year-old is simply not seen as an attractive fighter the way the former world cruiserweight champion is.

The ability to sell tickets has always been an integral part of the sport of boxing, and Haye has proved he is able to do this incredibly well. Though in all likelihood the unfashionable Skelton would push "The Hayemaker" all the way, the British grudge-match seems not to take place.

However, with both fighters on a realistic hunt for world honours, the two men may well continue to be verbal rivals in late 2009 - and maybe beyond.

Article posted on 10.01.2009



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