Boxing


It’s Official: David Haye Has Retired

By James Slater: Any and all speculation as to whether or not David Haye will stick to his plan of retiring at the age of 30 must now end. It has been reported on a number of web sites and in a number of publications how the former unified cruiserweight champion and former WBA heavyweight champion has e-mailed BBB of C head Robert Smith, informing him not to renew his licence to box.

“I received an e-mail on Monday advising me Haye would not be carrying on,” Smith said. “The Board will discuss it on Wednesday but there is no way we could go against his wish not to renew his boxing licence. Without it, he can’t fight.”

So, Haye stuck to his promise of quitting the game before he reached the age of 31 after all. Many good judges said he would not do this, that he was simply playing games in the hope of a lucrative offer coming from Vitali Klitschko. Maybe if the reigning WBC king had offered Haye a fight, the retirement would have been put on a temporary hold, but seeing as how Haye and his team have not heard a word from Klitschko, the Londoner’s gloves are set to be hung up for good.

Of course, there is a chance that, in, say, a year or two from now, Haye will feel the urge to fight again (and maybe need the money, as so many other retirees have) and maybe he will make a comeback. As was the case with the smart Lennox Lewis, this retirement has the look of a permanent one, though.

The question is: how will Haye be remembered and what is his place in boxing history?

There is no doubt that Haye achieved plenty in the sport, even if he did promise more than he actually achieved. “The Hayemaker” was being referred to as “the saviour of the heavyweight division” by some notable scribes a few years back (around the time of his wins over Enzo Maccarinelli at cruiser and Monte Barrett up at heavy), and he himself promised he’d wipe out both “boring” Klitschkos and provide the fans with the type of action they saw in years gone by. As we know, Haye fought just one Kitschko - Wladimir - and his challenge was very disappointing, with the Londoner losing via lopsided decision.

But enough of the bad: what about the good things Haye did whilst active in boxing?

A superb amateur who won a number of trophies and medals, Haye quickly rose to prominence in the pro ranks. Making his paid debut as a 191-pounder back in December of 2002, Haye romped to a straight 10 wins, all by stoppage. Then came his learning experience at the hands of the worldly and teak-tough Carl Thompson. The 5th-round TKO Haye suffered in September of 2004 taught him that not every rival can be blown away in quick time.

Haye regrouped and continued his 200-pound campaign. Though he had to “boil down” to make the cruiserweight limit, especially after he hit his mid-20s in 2006, Haye was determined to become world champion in two weights: cruiser and then heavy.

After some good, character building wins at European title level (fine wins over the likes of Lasse Johansen and Giacobbe Fragomeni - with a quick heavyweight win over Tomasz Bonin thrown in), Haye successfully challenged defending WBC/WBA king Jean Marc Mormeck. Travelling to the champ’s Paris backyard, Haye, scoring THE win of his entire pro career, rose from a 4th-round knockdown to halt Mormeck in the 7th. The win immediately stood out as one of the best scored by a Brit abroad.

Blasting out hard-hitting Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli the following year and picking up the WBO belt with his two-round win, Haye then invaded the heavyweight ranks full-time. Unfortunately, just five more fights materialised.

Haye had some rocky moments in taking out New York’s Monte Barrett, then began calling out and insulting the Klitsckos (Wladimir mostly); before a deal was signed with “Dr. Steel Hammer.” As fans will recall, the June 2009 fight fell apart with just days to go due to a back injury suffered by Haye.

Deciding to go another route without telling anyone, Haye signed a backdoor deal to fight reigning WBA heavyweight champ Nicolai Valuev. The fight captured the attention of millions of people in Britain, the David Vs Goliath clash proving fascinating. Haye won a largely dull 12-round decision; the sole highlight being the rubber-legged dance Valuev was made to take in the final round.

Now a big player in the sport’s ultimate weight class, Haye saw off his mandatory in former champ John Ruiz (TKO 9) and then cashed in with a forgettable and embarrassingly easy win over fellow trash-talker Audley Harrison. Then the Klitschko negotiations began again for real and finally, after years of waiting, Haye and Wladimir met in the ring in Germany.

Sadly, another disappointment followed. Haye, never once going for broke, instead boxed an ultra-cautious fight, losing most of the rounds as he did so. A later broken toe excuse only added further hurt to Haye’s credibility.

And then - nothing. Apart from more talk. Until today, that is; with the news breaking that Haye is all set for retirement. A sense of what might have been will forever be attached to Haye due to his decision not to fight on. After all, 30/31 is an awful young age for a heavyweight to retire at.

What odds Haye does make a return in 2012 or 2013!?!

Article posted on 11.10.2011



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