Wladimir Klitschko Says David Haye Has Gone Too Far With His Attempts At Psychological Warfare - Has He?
by James Slater - Yesterday, in London, IBF and WBO heavyweight king Wladimir Klitschko and his challenger David Haye met for round-two of their pre-fight press conference tour. And, as was the case in Germany a few days back, things got somewhat ugly.
Once again turning up wearing his now infamous 'decapitated heads' T-Shirt, with images of both Klitschko brothers laid out, their heads ripped off, Haye really got under the normally reserved champion's skin.. Klitschko argues that Haye has gone way too far and that he has crossed the line and taken the pre-fight nastiness beyond mere sport. Haye answers back with the claim that no-one will really care about what he's said once the fight is over with, and that his T-shirt will be totally forgotten about.
Of course, psychological warfare is nothing new to the sport of boxing, and there will be many more future press conferences that feature a big helping of trash talk. But is "Dr Steel Hammer" correct when he says Haye has taken things a step too far? Has "The Hayemaker" put boxing into disrepute with his actions and his words?
Here now are comments from both men, as given at yesterday's bad tempered press conference.
"When he tried to get this fight, the picture with my decapitated body was certainly below the belt, but I swallowed it," Klitschko said. "But now he has the fight and I can't understand why he continues with these tricks. What example does it give children? This is shameful behaviour and I can't understand it.
"Right now I see David Haye with a cut head of my brother. So I am asking what is going to be next? Are you going to cut my Dad's head or my Mother's head? Maybe you will attack my religion, my race? This is over the edge. This is not about sport."
Klitschko more than made everyone in attendance know how damn angry he is at what Haye has been up to, and he then spoke of the consequences the challenger will have to face for his behaviour.
"You listen to what I say, this guy is going to get punished," Klitschko said sternly. "I will transform this person into a pizza-face for 12 rounds, and in the 12th round I am going to knock him out. He will pay for it with pain in the ring and afterwards at the press conference he will take back all the words and will apologize."
Now here is what Haye had to say about the defending champion.
"I've received the reaction I wanted from him," Haye said. "All the shouting and screaming is necessary because people have to hear about the fight. I don't care about good taste and I know some people may hate me. As long as people remember me as the best fight in the world with bad taste I don't care. In twenty years nobody will remember my T-shirt, everyone will remember that day when I knocked out Wladimir Klitschko.
"He doesn't go in the ring to fight. Everything he does in the ring is embarrassing. I want him to fight like a man, not run like a bitch. Stand and fight me, Wladimir Bitchko! I'm going to smash his head in and he will be bleeding on the floor."
You'll surely agree that this bad taste, entertaining behaviour, shameful behaviour, display of nerves or whatever you wish to call it, is some of the most volatile ever seen from a heavyweight boxer since the days of Mike Tyson. But is Klitschko correct, has Haye gone too far? Or is he simply a master at selling tickets?
Before you make your mind up, remember that approx 30,000 fans have already bought a ticket for June's fight!
One thing is sure - if the fight is half as explosive as the hype, we are in for some night.
Article posted on 21.04.2009