Enzo Maccarinelli vs. David Haye: The Dream Becomes A Reality
4th January 2007 - By Neil Thompson: “I’m always up for a challenge … but is Enzo? I’ve proven myself against WBC ranked fighters and unbeaten contenders. I’ve taken risks - Can Enzo look himself in the mirror and say the same thing? …. I very much doubt it.” David Haye.
Article posted on 04.01.2007
A couple of weeks ago, European Cruiserweight Champion and WBC number one contender, David ‘Hayemaker’ Haye, challenged WBO Champion, Enzo Maccarinelli to a British domestic showdown in April at the huge Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. The prospect of this fight may not have the interest of boxing fans around the world, but it’s certainly a fight that both hardcore British boxing fans, and British sport fans in general, would love to see. Now it appears the 'Brits' (myself included) will get what we have been asking for as both promoters have agreed terms. Whilst issuing the challenge, David taunted Enzo on the lack of risk’s taken on the road to gaining the WBO crown. However, to his credit, Enzo has responded in the best way possible by accepting David’s challenge..
It is worth congratulating promoters, Frank Maloney and Frank Warren, for being able to negotiate the deal. Both fighters will get more money than both O’Neil Bell and Jean-Marc Mormeck got for their unification fight in January 2006. Also, both Frank Warren and his fighter, Enzo Maccarinelli, have answered their critics by accepting this fight as it is indeed a huge risk. Obviously, its also a big risk for David Haye, but David is accustomed to taking risks, while upto now Enzo has taken a more careful route to the top.
There’s no doubting that David Haye has indeed taken risks during his rise to the top. In this 10th pro fight he faced the world rated Arthur Williams, a fight he won by stoppage in the 3rd round. After this he jumped in with the world rated and former world champion, Carl Thompson. This proved to be too much too soon and although starting very well, he faded and was stopped in the 5th. However, Haye learned from this and continued to take risks. He stopped Alexander Gurov in the first, winning the European crown. He then defended that title against the unbeaten and world rated Lasse Johansen. Next he defended his title again against another world rated and unbeaten challenger in Giacobbe Fragomeni. The Fragomeni fight answered many of the questions I had about David Haye, mainly about his chin and stamina. Despite being badly cut Haye kept his calm and scored a 9th round knockout in what was a tough and very close fight up until the finish.
David Haye is now ready for the number one, Mr O’Neil Bell, and has managed to become the WBC number one contender. Given the choice Haye would rather face O’Neil Bell now so that he can move up to Heavyweight before mid-2007, but that fight maybe a while in the making. So a fight with WBO champ Enzo Maccarinelli will be the next best thing. After fighting Enzo, if successful, he’ll be able to get in with O’Neil Bell (the real champ at this weight) by September 2007.
Although Enzo has taken a more safety first route to the top, he has ironically become an alphabet champion before David Haye has. This is probably because Enzo fights for Sports Network and gets nationwide terrestrial TV exposure. Enzo Maccarinelli has been carefully matched and shrewdly maneuvered in capturing the WBO belt.
Enzo, to be fair, has been fighting at a level below David throughout his career. Whilst David Haye’s 10th pro fight was against the world rated Arthur Williams, Enzo’s 10th fight was against Tony Booth. In contrast, Tony Booth (an acquaintance of mine) was David Hayes first professional fight. This shows, to me at least, that Enzo should be the underdog in this fight. Don’t get me wrong though, this fight is a tough one to call and their styles should match up well.
6’3” David Haye, 18-1 (17), is the more natural athlete of the two and has the more flashy style. He’s a huge puncher with good speed in both his hands and feet. His stamina looks good these days and his chin has past every test since the Thompson fight. He’s a huge cruiserweight and it’s only a matter of time before he out-grows the division. His only obvious weakness is his defense, with that left hand carried so low he looks vulnerable to a right hand.
6’4” Enzo Maccarinelli, 25-1 (19), has improved a lot, he’s technically sound with a traditional European stand up style. He also has a powerful punch and the hand-speed is impressive aswell. He’s a lot more flat-footed than Haye but Enzo’s defense is better. Tall, learn and powerfully built, Enzo is also a big cruiserweight who can match Haye for power. Enzo has a good array of shots, works hard behind a solid jab and may have the style to beat the more skillfull Haye. Enzo’s weakness maybe his chin although it’s a while since I’ve seen him rocked. He’s also a bit stiff with not much body movement, especially when compared to Haye.
When comparing styles and attributes its hard to pick a winner. It’s easy to see either of them knocking the other out. Enzo has the explosive right hand to exploit Hayes low left. Whilst Haye has the movement and skill to get the angles to land one of his huge shots on Enzo’s suspect chin. Because it so hard to pick a winner, I find myself looking at things like “who’s been the least protected?” and “who’s proved themselves more at this level?” ….. Well in both cases its David Haye. I see this being explosive and lasting about 8 or 9 rounds. Enzo will start well behind his jab, making the pace and forcing Haye on the back foot. Haye will move, looking for openings and countering Enzo’s aggressive approach. I see both David and Enzo getting rocked early in the fight. However, I expect Haye to turn the contest in his favour when a tiring Enzo walks onto a huge David Haye punch. After taking a beating on the ropes, the referee will stop the contest in the 8th or 9th round in the favour of David Haye.
David Haye has long been considered the future of British boxing. Ever since winning Silver at the World Amateur Championships, he has been on the fast track to the top. Despite losing to the world rated and former champion Carl Thompson, Haye has shown he has the heart to turn a fight around. That’s not to say Enzo hasn’t proven himself to have heart, because he has on many occasions. However I just feel that Haye is the more gifted fighter with the better amateur pedigree and has also proved himself more at this level. It’s a very close fight to call and I would not be too surprised if my prediction proves to be wrong. Many British fans will disagree with me on this and many will see it my way. Its one of them classic grudge fights that will split public opinion right down the middle. Either way, it’s hard to see this fight being anything else than a classic encounter between two explosive punchers with contrasting styles. Prepare for fireworks come April 7th.
Thank you for reading.
Neil ( www.myspace.com/neilthompson300 )
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