Lennox Lewis, the last man to unify the heavyweight world before Wladimir Klitschko, reckoned David Haye got his tactics totally wrong in Germany.
After being comprehensively out-pointed on Saturday night at the Imtech Arena, Hamburg, and losing his WBA crown in the process, Englishman Haye blamed a broken right toe for his inability to seriously trouble RING champion Klitschko.
However, while accepting that would have restricted movement to a degree, compatriot Lewis felt a refusal to gamble and get inside the longer reach of his Ukrainian opponent was the real reason for Haye's first loss in seven years.
“It was a valiant display but I think the game plan was really wrong,” said Lewis, the one-time triple titleholder. “He needed to throw more punches, he needed to get closer to Wladimir – and by getting closer he needed to take some risks.
“Even get real close, let him throw that right hand and actually be right in there to counter-punch. Roll with the punches and then come back with his own combinations.
“When you prepare for a guy, you prepare for his best assets, and David Haye’s best assets are his left-right. Obviously, Wladimir is going to prepare for that punch to come. But nothing else came from David, so it was an easy fight for Wladimir.”
As for the injury to Haye’s little toe, which was badly swollen and bruised, Lewis declared that on such a massive occasion, with this being a career-defining fight for both men, it was not a game-changer.
“You definitely need all your toes to react really well. If you go into a fight with an injury, it’s going to affect you,” said 45-year-old Lewis. “But in big fights like that, toe, broken leg, hurt arm, you forget all about that. There is too much adrenalin going and it’s just forgotten about.”
Klitschko now holds the RING, WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA titles, while his older brother, Vitali, is WBC champion. Lewis, though, who retired eight years ago after beating Vitali, is convinced that were he still active he would have no problem toppling all-conquering Wladimir.
“It’s funny because when I see a fight like this, I can see how I could win the fight, “ said Britain’s greatest ever heavyweight, working as a pundit for Sky. “But do I want to go into training camp, do all the work to get there? It’s going to take a long time to do that. I can do it. But I’m not going to.”
However, when a possible pay day of $60 million dollars was mentioned by Sky presenter Dave Clark, Lewis’ reaction was rather interesting.
“For that I will get out of my pyjamas,” he laughed.