David Haye erased his poor performance against Wladimir Klitschko last summer with a vicious fifth-round knockout of bitter rival Dereck Chisora on Saturday at the Ground at Upton Park in London – the hometown of both combatants.
Haye (26-2, 24 knockouts) first dropped Chisora with a left-right combination.
“Dell Boy” beat the count of referee Luis Pabon on very unsteady legs, but Haye sensed the moment and unloaded on his foe as he sought to hold on.
“The Hayemaker” landed a five-punch combo that put Chisora down on his face with six seconds left in the round. Chisora got up at the count of eight but was unable to continue and Pabon stopped the bout at 2:59 of round five.
“I thought it would go a couple of rounds but he hit me with good shots and I had to find a way to win,” said Haye, 31. “This is the best atmosphere. There was a lot of beef in there but we laid it on the line and I believe he will go on to achieve great things.”
The bout was made after Haye and Chisora’s explosive brawl in February. After Chisora’s fight with Vitali Klitschko, Haye and Chisora (15-4, 9 KOs) exchanged words at the post-fight press conference before throwing blows.
That memorable moment led to Haye ending his short-lived retirement for the grudge match.
It was the first time Chisora, known for having a granite chin, was down in his career.
“Chisora has one of the best chins I’ve ever hit in my life,” said Haye of a man who took all of Klitschko’s best shots.
“I got caught with a great shot, I don’t know what it was and it is the first time I’ve been on the canvas,” said Chisora, a native of Zimbabwe. “But I’ll be back.”
The difference in the bout was Haye’s accuracy and world-class speed. He repeatedly landed powerful combinations then slipped before Chisora could return fire.
Chisora continued to march forward and pressure the former RING cruisierweight champion, as Haye fought well going backwards and potshotted Chisora.
In round two, Haye began to shoot the right uppercut and delivered some good right hands.
But the fight really picked up in the following frame. Haye landed a big shot at the bell, then Chisora followed with a huge left after the bell sounded.
The heavy hands of Haye were starting to take a toll on Chisora, who has now lost four of his last five bouts officially, though most believe he was outright robbed against Robert Helenius.
Haye landed a big right that staggered Chisora back into the ropes in the fourth. He had him in the corner and unloaded, mixing in straight lefts. Haye seemed buoyed by the shots and became more aggressive.
The fight was over in the fifth. Haye dropped Chisora twice before Pabon had seen enough and ended the contest, as the crowd of more than 30,000 went wild.
There were many obstacles to making the bout: Chisora’s license was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control after the brawl and Haye didn’t have a license after retiring.
But with great demand to see this heavyweight clash, famed promoter Frank Warren found a loophole. He had the Luxembourg Boxing Federation sanction the bout, much to the dismay of the BBBOC, who ardently threatened participants of the promotion.
Haye rejuvenated his career with the victory. He is now clearly the best heavyweight without the surname Klitschko. The only bout he wants now is with the elder Klitschko brother, and he said he might once again call it quits if he can’t get the bout.
“I’ve sent out a very scary message,” said Haye. “I’ll be surprised if Vitali Klitschko wants to fight me after that. He will no doubt try to fight some chump and then retire to be a politician.”
Mike Coppinger is a member of the Yahoo! Sports Boxing Panel and is a regular contributor to USA TODAY’s boxing coverage. He compiles the “Ringside Reports” section for THE RING Magazine each month. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger