Doug Fischer

Dougie’s Monday mailbag

KLITSCHKO-HAYE PREDICTION

Dougie,
That went down exactly like I wrote you last week. A normal, boring Klitschko fight where we were left asking, "Why didn't Haye throw more punches?" — J in FLA

You called it, J.

I thought an uneventful 12-rounder was possible too but I had hopes for at least a few dramatic moments where either man was wobbled or dropped, and I really thought Klitschko would try to close the show late in the fight. No such luck because neither man was really willing to commit to doing serious damage.

What we were “treated” to was a very civil boxing contest between two intelligent, financially secure, business-savvy European heavyweights, and boxing to merely win on points obviously favored the taller, rangier, more-technically sound fighter, which was Klitschko. It did not favor Haye or the fans who were hoping the fight would at least live to some of the pre-fight hype and rancor between the fighters.

You know what I was thinking during the late rounds of Klitschko-Haye? “Thank God, I’ll be ringside for Brandon Rios-Urbano Antillon next Saturday.”

The Rios-Antillon lightweight showdown will make me forget all about what went down in Hamburg, Germany, last Saturday.

TOE?

Hi Dougie,
Hmm, would a perfectly fine little toe have made a difference for Mr Haye? — Rob

Um, how should I put this? HELL-to-the-NO!

LIGHTS OUT FOR HAYE

Which do you think was the more egregious case of not backing up the trash talk, David Haye against Wladimir Klitschko, or James Toney against Randy Couture? Granted, Toney at least had the excuse of being a complete novice facing a former champion. Did Haye have any better excuses to offer in the aftermath of Saturday's defeat than his toe hurt?

Does Haye have any future in the heavyweight division if he decides not to retire in October?

As for Wlad, what does he do now that the biggest event of his career has come and gone, with absolutely nobody clamoring for more? Who can he possibly fight at this point? Povetkin? — gopal rao

Toney stepped into the cage to fight an MMA legend and got CTFO (“Choked The you-know-what Out”). He didn’t make any excuses that I can recall afterward. So, definitely Haye’s safety first tactics throughout Saturday’s overly tactical 12 rounder was the more egregious case of not backing up trash talk.

I don‘t think there‘s any comparison between the two. Toney talked trash about Couture for a few months. And their bout was viewed as a sideshow. There was no title on the line in that match. It wasn’t even the main event of the UFC PPV. Haye’s been talking pure doo-doo about both Klitschko brothers for a few years and when he finally stepped into the ring with one of them it was a huge event with the heavyweight championship of the world up for grabs. And what did he do? He laid big ole stank egg.

Does Haye have a future in the heavyweight division? Yes, as long as he stays the hell away from the Klitschkos. Honestly, I’d like to see him drop back down to 200 pounds and add some excitement to that division. Haye’s a legitimate one-punch KO artist at cruiserweight and can make for fun fights there. If he stays at heavyweight, he should take on an aggressive high-ranking big man, such as Chris Arreola or Alexander Povetkin. If he doesn’t plan to do that, he might as well retire while his body is fresh and he’s mentally sharp. He’d probably make a great commentator.

As for Wladdy, I think he and Povetkin would be a decent fight. The Russian is a come-forward fighter with a good jab and busy offense. What I really like about Povetkin is his body attack. I think that’s a key to beating both Klitschkos.

SHOULD I NOT BE DISAPPOINTED?

Mr. Fischer,
Please give me some reasons why I shouldn't feel so disgusted by both Klitschko's and Haye's performance. I know that both men trained very hard and I know that it takes a hell of a lot of courage to step into that square ring, but this is Prize Fighting. [Speaking of prize fighting, why not be true to the name and have purses and/or bonuses based on outcome?] I just didn't see both guys lay it all on the line, despite the pre-fight jawing.

I believe Big George once said that boxing is like jazz – the better it is, the less it's appreciated. Well, I didn't appreciate that fight; does that mean the sweet science was on full display?! I guess I could be considered a hardcore fan, but I feel tremendous guilt about my suspicions that tomorrow's Wimbledon final will be more exciting than the 'most anticipated heavyweight fight since Lewis-Tyson or Lewis-Vitali Klitschko.' — BK, High Point, NC

I think you have every right be disgusted by the efforts that Klitschko and Haye put forth in their heavyweight championship bout. Overly tactical, uneventful high-profile bouts like Klitschko-Haye are one of the main reasons the heavyweight championship is no longer “the biggest prize in sports.”

Yes, both men trained hard and you better believe it takes a hell of a lot of courage step into the ring, which is exactly why Klitschko and Haye needed to do more! Why the hell are these guys training so hard and for so long if they’re not going to let their damn hands go come fight time? They dishonored great heavyweight champs of the past who showed true courage by risking everything in great fights by not taking more chances on Saturday.

We put prize fighters on a pedestal because they take risks normal people would not. To “fight” in the manner Klitschko and Haye did is akin to NASCAR racers driving 70 miles per hour in the Daytona 500 or NFL players playing “tag” or “touch” football in the damn Super Bowl. If there’s no risk of injury in these type of sports, what makes the athletes so special? And why the f__k are they making so much money?

Thank God,for Rios-Antillon. Two real fighters who will engage in a real fight.

THE K-BROTHERS

What's up Dougie,

I just want to say, as a huge boxing fan, I appreciate the Klitschko brothers and their talent. I mean, historically, how many fighters have dominated with a simple one-two (left jab, straight right) in their arsenal? Haye is lucky Wlad wasn't throwing upper cuts, you feel me? You and I know the reason, the intangibles; footwork, head movement, and solid defense. The guys are poster boys for boxing fundamentals!

Plus, you gotta love the smack talk Wlad hit Haye with before the fight. Talking about giving him therapy and making him a better human being by way of whoop ass!

I don't think anybody is beating these boys anytime soon, which means the next real heavyweight champ will be crowned after they retire. What do you think Dougie? — Miguel, LBC

I agree. The next universally recognized heavyweight champ will come around after both K-Brothers have retired. I have no idea who that heavyweight will be, but I haven’t given up on Chris Arreola. If he keeps his weight down and maintains his current activity level (his off-TV fight against Friday Ahunanya this Saturday will be his fourth bout of 2011) I think his bandwagon will begin to fill up again by this time next year (provided, of course, that he continues to win and look sharp doing so).

I wasn’t that impressed with Wladdy’s brand of trash talk going into the Haye fight. It was decent but anyone could tell that it really wasn’t his cup of tea. Haye is much better at it. Too bad he couldn’t back it up.

The Klitschkos are indeed poster boys for boxing fundamentals. There aren’t many boxers who can dominate a division with just the jab and straight right (along with good footwork). The last two heavyweights to do it were Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes, two all-time greats.

However, the Klitschko brothers are also the poster boys for uneventful fights, and although they get the job done against the top contenders of this era (usually in one-sided fashion), I don’t get the sense that I’m looking at an all-time great when they do it. I couldn’t help but think how basic Wladimir looked against Haye or how lucky he was to be in with such an incomplete fighter while watching the 12-round rout on Saturday.

WASTE OF TIME

What a complete waste of time watching Haye embarrass the sport of boxing on Saturday. I know this would never happen, but he doesn't deserve to collect what he made on this fight. He perpetrated a massive fraud on boxing with his performance yesterday and there should be some accountability. They should have withheld his purse and at least make him sweat it out a little for being such a chump, big mouth fraud.

I'm still having a hard time believing he was the betting favorite in England. Man the Brits must really love the David Haye kool-aid. God bless them!!!

Out!!! — Juan 'West Coast' Alvarado

British fight fans are simply hardcore, Juan. They’re no different from Mexican or Puerto Rican fans. They love boxing, they have a strong respect for it’s history, and they support their own.

While I agree that Haye needed to go for broke in order to have any hope of winning the fight, and in failing to do so helped make Saturday’s showdown “a complete waste of time” as you put it, I don’t agree that the former beltholder’s purse should be withheld just for laying an egg.

For starters, it was his big mouth and constant taunting over the years that built the fight into a “must-see” “mega-grudgematch.” Haye has a gift for gab. Talking s__t is just part of who he is as a competitor. I don’t think he meant to sell the boxing public a bill of goods with his bold proclamations and predictions leading into the fight. I think Haye really believed that he had the talent and power to cold-cock Klitschko, but once he got into the ring with the giant athletic technician he discovered what all of Wladdy’s recent opposition found out: it’s MUCH easier to talk about it than to do it.

Haye didn’t go for broke, guns blazing with the intent to slay the dragon or go down swinging, but I think he tried his best, which for him on that night was to survive until the final bell.

COUNTERPOINTS

Hiya Dougie,
I want to make quite a few counterpoints to the mainstream coverage of yesterday's fights, hopefully without sounding like a cross between Skip Bayless and Larry Merchant, to wit:

1) Haye lost easy on my scorecard, as he did on every other rational scorecard on Earth. That being said, he put up more of a non-fight than any other recent Wlad opponent except maybe Tony Thompson. I mean, he landed several good overhand rights, bloodied Wlad's nose (which went unreported by HBO), cut him under the left eye, buckled his knees in the 12th, and jabbed to surprising effect. This leads me to my second point…

2) Haye only has himself to blame for the loss. I mean, Wlad looked awful, in my opinion. He never fully established his jab, he missed way too many punches, and he was reaching for Haye throughout, as taller fighters are not supposed to do. This means that Haye should have simply thrown more: more overhand rights, more jabs (again, he jabbed effectively, just far too seldom!), and more combinations. In fact, he didn't throw a single combination that I can remember. He was reduced to pot-shotting, with diminishing results as the fight wore on. He should have also tried to slip Wlad's mediocre (for his own lofty standards) jab and tried to take the fight to him inside, which he was unwilling to do. Which brings me to my next point…

3) Haye didn't throw so few punches because he was "scared" or "afraid" to engage Wlad out of fear, or because he had already cashed his ridiculous 50/50-split check, or much less because his toe was broken. He never fully-engaged Wlad because of the same reason every other smallish Heavyweight (note that Thompson is larger than, say, Haye or Peter or Chambers) failed to engage him: it's impossible to consistently out-jab and land straight rights against a gigantic Heavyweight with a freakishly long and active jab who also happens to fight very tall. Which is why, again, all Haye could do was land the odd pot-shot or two. How do you land combinations against someone with such a high height advantage, particularly if you're not slipping his jab? Haye did about as well as I expected him to, to be fair. My only frustration is that, given that Wlad did have kind of an off-night, he had as good a chance as he could ever hope for, and he didn't capitalize and thus maximize his chances.

All in all, the fight was boring, yes, but it did have the danger element of two chinny guys who can punch maybe landing the one punch it would take. That factor alone took it out of Sven Ottke/Felix Sturm territory. I also want to pre-empt the inevitable mainstream media garbage coming from the mouths of lazy and sloppy journalists like the two stooges from PTI by asking how it is that they can lament that boxing is supposedly not what it was in the early 1980's and point to the state of the Heavyweight division as evidence, when the Heavyweight division was a heaping pile of crap in the early 1980's. I mean, didn't we have Duran-Hagler-Leonard-Hearns-Benítez in the early 1980's, for crying out loud?? Boxing does not "need" the Heavyweight division. It just needs the fights that need to be made to be made, and that's exactly what's been happening for the past years, yesterday's fight (good or bad) or Bradley-Alexander included. I am happy and optimistic about the state of our sport, and look forward to enjoying Mayweather-Ortiz, Mares-Agbeko, Ward-Froch, Rios-Antillon, Khan-Judah, etc. this year alone, with many more to follow afterwards, and reading about them in both your magazine and your website.

Thank you for putting up with these rants, Dougie. — Carlos R. Pastrana, San Juan, PR

You were long winded, Carlos (so, you did not avoid sounding like Merchant), but you made a lot of sense and some valid points.

I agree that boxing doesn’t need an exciting heavyweight division as long as good fights between good lighter-weight fighters are being made. We’ve got at least two excellent matchups to look forward to beginning this month through December. And, hey, ya never know, Klitschko-Adamek might be one of them.

I thought Klitschko-Haye was interesting through the first five or six rounds because of the perceived element that either man could be knocked out (or at least legitimately knocked down) but it became sadly evident that neither man had any real interest in taking a big enough risk to actually gun for a KO.

I’ll reply to your “counterpoints” in the order you posed them:

1) Haye did indeed land several overhand rights (which bloodied Klitschko’s nose and produced a small mouse under his left eye). However, I think Haye lost some of his confidence when those hard shots failed to rock Wladdy down to this boots as he thought they would.

2) I agree that Klitschko looked awful. He was only slightly sharper and more effective than Nikolay Valuev was against Haye. He pawed with his jab all night and leaned forward a lot. I’d say his timing and accuracy was off, but I think Haye’s head and upper-body movement had a lot to do with that. I don’t think Haye was “reduced” to pot-shotting. That’s all Haye ever does, regardless of who he‘s fighting. He’s not a combination puncher. His stance and style doesn’t allow for it. The man is totally off balance ever time he launches one of trademark haymakers.

3) I disagree that it’s “impossible to consistently out-jab and land straight rights against a gigantic Heavyweight with a freakishly long and active jab who also happens to fight very tall.” It’s very difficult, however shorter (but MUCH better) fighters with less reach than Haye were able to do it. Check out Mike Tyson’s fights with Tyrell Biggs, Pinklon Thomas and Razor Ruddock; or Joe Frazier’s late stoppage of Buster Mathis or his classic trilogy with Muhammad Ali. I’m not saying the two squat hall of famers did not have trouble with the jabs of the taller, rangier boxers, but they dealt with it and were able to get their own jabs off.

NO HAYE!

Dougie,
What a disappointing fight. Haye talked so much garbage leading into this fight and did nothing to win it. He fought with no urgency, no heart, and what seemed no desire to win. He makes a stupid excuse about his toe, but true champions find a way to win no matter what the circumstances are or at least give it their all. The only thing Haye is good at is self promotion because let's face it what elite or even good fighter has he seriously beaten? He won the belt against Valuev. Valuev is a guy who is just a circus act and got a gift decision against Holyfield so we aren't talking about a world beater.

I give Haye credit for promoting the fight and getting fans finally interested in a heavyweight fight, but he completely ruined it with his lack of performance. I give Wladimir all the credit in the world. He's a come a long way. He came to fight and followed his game plan. I would have liked to see a KO, but he did what he needed to do. He's really perfected his style and I'm really not sure where he goes from here. Not too much competition out there besides his brother which will never happen. The only significant fight would be against Adamek if by some miracle Adamek beats Vitali?

I'm getting excited about Khan-Judah. I'd like to see Zab win. I don't know about you, but I think Khan is extremely overrated. Not sure if Judah is the guy to make people realize it, but I hope so. I can't believe Roach says and thinks Khan will be rated number one pound for pound. Roach is my favorite trainer, but I hope he was just promoting his fighter and not serious. Thoughts on this and where does Klitchko go from here? — Michael

If Roach says Khan will be the pound-for-pound king one day he probably means it. He believes Khan can beat Floyd Mayweather, which might do it for the British star, but the young titleholder has to get by Judah before he can even think about Money May.

I think Khan is a damn good fighter with elite-level talent. However, he’s not untouchable and his chin can definitely be dented with a good shot. I think Judah can knock him out if he’s at his absolute best. We’ll see what happens. I’m also looking forward to this fight.

I think Wladimir has other significant matches on the horizon beyond Adamek (should the Polish hero upset Big Bro in September). I’d be very interested in title defenses against Alexander Povetkin, Chris Arreola (if he keeps winning and looking sharp through 2011), and Robert Helenius (after a few more fights).

I can’t disagree with your thoughts on Haye. Perhaps retirement after a farewell fight in October and then a switch to full-time promoting is what’s best for the former cruiserweight champ and heavyweight beltholder.

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