David Haye: Next Fight Against a Top Contender?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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According to sources, former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (26-2, 24 KO’s) is willing to face a top contender in his next fight to force a showdown with Lineal Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko or his brother, WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitali Klitschko. Vitali vs Haye has been bantered about for several years and negotiations have been on and off.

Last summer, Klitschko manager Bernd Boente announced WBC Heavyweight Champion Vitai Klitschko could fight David Haye in March 2013 in London and on pay-per-view.

But given David Haye's apparent flip-flopping, the Klitschkos have seemingly lost interest in the Brit.

Is he retired or fighting?

Is he a full-time actor? Reality show spectacle? Or he is now back in the gym training?

"I will not exclude anything," said Klitschko manager Bernd Boente last summer. "I have learned from past dealings that you can't rely on anything he [David Haye] says or does."

But since last summer relations have spoiled to the point where David will have to fight his way to a title shot in the ring instead of negotiating at a bargaining table outside it.

And isn't that how it should be?

Currently the WBA's No. 1 ranked fighter, Haye should be able to secure a shot at the WBA 'Regular' (paper) champion Alexander Povetkin. Or if he decides to face the No. 2 or 3 ranked heavyweight for any of the sanctioning bodies, he's almost guranteed a lock for the mandatory position should he win.

WBC Rankings - Vitali Klitschko - Champion
1. Chris Arreola
2. BermaneStiverne
3. Jonathon Banks
4. Tyson Fury

WBA Rankings - Wlad Klitschko - Super Champion
(Alexander Povetkin - Regular Champion)
2. Luis Ortiz
3. RuslanChagaev
4. Dennis Boytsov
5. FresOquendo

IBF Rankings - Wlad Klitschko - Champion
1. KubratPulev
3. Bryant Jennings
5. Jonathon Banks

WBO Rankings - Wlad Klitschko - Champion
1. Robert Helenius
2. Jonathon Banks
3. Chris Arreola
5. Denis Boytsov

* David Haye is the only fighter ranked in the Top 5 in all four of the major sanctioning bodies.

A pariah in boxing after his woefully lackluster performance against Vitali's younger brother, Wladimir, in 2011, David Haye gave a virtuoso performance against the rugged and gritty Dereck Chisora last summer before knocking out his foe in the fifth round.

Haye's win over Chisora was impressive and, as a result, the 32 year old lad from London increased his stock immensely and became a viable contender again.

Who Will David Fight?
Given his embarrassing loss to Wladimir nearly two years ago and his obsession to fight Vitali ever since, Vitali vs Haye makes the most sense. As a result, look for Haye to target the winner of the WBC title eliminator, Chris Arreola vs Bermane Stiverne.

Problem: The winner of Arreola vs Stiverne has seemingly been promised an immediate title shot.

If David finds himself too low in the WBC's pecking order, it might be wise for him to face WBA 'Regular' Champion Alexander Povetkin, given the Russian struggled mightily against a speedy Marco Huck.

Like Huck (at the time), Haye is a blown-up cruiserweight whose style would be problematic for Povetkin.

01-povetkin huck

Given Povetkin had no answer for the right hand against Huck, what would happen if he faced a craftier, quicker, more awkward David Haye who happens to punch a lot harder than both Povetkin and Huck?


Povetkin is also arguably the most accomplished heavyweight today aside from the Klitschkos and Haye. And from a business standpoint, the Russian is probably the 5th most marketable heavyweight, behind the Klitschkos, Haye and perhaps Tyson Fury.

With a win over Povetkin and the WBA 'Regular' (paper) title in his possession, David Haye would seemingly have leverage over all other contenders.

Haye vs Povetkin later this year? Or perhaps a British showdown with fellow countryman Tyson Fury is in the offing? Both bouts would be lucrative, high-profile events.

Wlad or Vitali?
If David Haye defeats a top contender, he will undoubtedly regain his status a high-profile 'superstar' and, as a result, will be the most marketable, most reasonable opponent for both Klitschkos.

And make no mistake, David Haye is a dangerous fighter who matches up better, stylistically, with Vitali than Wlad.

Unlike Wlad, Vitali is an aggressive fighter who comes forward and engages his opponents. As a result, he's less defensive (than his brother) and would be more vulnerable to Haye's speed and power.

vitali haye march

, although he's believed to be the tougher Kilitschko, is also a bit slower than Wlad and doesn't punch quite as hard. And a
s we saw in Wladimir vs Haye in 2011, Wlad's speed, technical proficiencies and, most of all, his "safety-first" style presented tremendous obstacles for the former cruiserweight champion.

In the end, Vitali Klitchko would be the better choice for Haye should the latter fight himself into a mandatory spot.

But before he steps back in the ring, David Haye will have to re-apply for a fight licence.


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