First of all, I just need to say how pleased I am to see David Haye stepping back into the ring. One of the most destructive punchers of the last decade, ‘Hayemaker’ has always been a pleasure to watch, and the heavyweight scene is a much more interesting place with his hulking presence.
Okay, he may not be the most physically intimidating of heavyweights at 6ft 3” and around 240lbs - especially considering the array of giants who covers the heavyweight landscape - but Haye brings enthusiasm and the ability to sell a fight. His charisma and charm made him a must-see fighter, and his undoubted power in both hands is what makes the heavyweight division so exciting.
His performances against Jean Marc-Mormeck and Nikolay Valuev will live long in the memory; while I can never forget the way he goaded the Klitschko’s for nearly two years. The fight with Wladimir may have disappointed, but it was a truly massive night for British boxing, the sort of occasion that made Ricky Hatton a household name.
Having read the excellent book ‘Making Haye’ I truly believed I would never see the Bermondsey-fighter back in the ring. It seemed he would only consider a return against a Klitschko brother and that seemed nigh on impossible. Fortunately we have Dereck Chisora to thank for Haye returning to our screens on Saturday night.
While Haye had a night to forget against Wladimir – a toe injury leading to all sorts of unflattering headlines - Chisora earned plaudits for his performance against Vitali. He pushed the older brother for the full 12 rounds and, despite never looking like pulling off major upset, further enhanced his credentials on the world stage.
Of course it wasn’t this display that temped Haye into a comeback. He may have watched on from ringside, but it was the post-fight press conference that sowed the seeds for a return. We all know what happened, and whether you agree, or disagree, with the reaction of the British Board of Control, you have to admit that you are glad these two will settle their differences in the ring.
So just what makes this bout worth watching? There are no titles on the line. In fact, it seems more a matter of Haye wanting to silence a man he genuinely dislikes. The south London fighter did not feel any distaste towards the Klitschko’s. I am sure he respected the way they did business and held themselves. However, he knew he had to get under their skin in order to make the fight happen.
With Chisora, this is a man, that according to his trainer Adam Booth, he hates. “This is personal. This is way more personal than the Wladimir Klitschko fight. That was business, but he hates Dereck Chisora. I've used his hatred of Dereck as fuel for training to make him do more. He wants it more.”
Chrisora, for his part, has plenty to gain from settling his differences with Haye. He has lost his last three title fights. Yet, despite the off colour display against Tyson Fury, there have been signs that he has the tools to compete at the very highest level.
Despite how the judges viewed his fight with Robert Helenius, it seemed clear he had beaten the Finn; while his showing against Vitali proved he had heart and an incredible chin. But what he needs is a big win. Overcoming Haye would go a long to way to proving he has a genuine chance of lifting a heavyweight world title – a match-up with WBA champ Alexander Povetkin would certainly be interesting.
Both men have been involved in controversies when it comes to the dominant Klitschko’s, but this could be their chance to steal some of the limelight for themselves. Some fight fans cannot admire the skill of the Ukrainian brothers and claim they are killing the sport.
Vitali will soon be retired, while Wladimir appears so short of options that he has even resorted to mentioning Tyson Fury as a future opponent. Neither Fury or David Price are ready for the challenge the WBO, IBF and WBA Super Champion presents, while the rest of the division presents little to be excited about.
Haye and Chisora should bring some passion into the ring. There is bad blood between the fighters and a need for both to impress. Who knows what the future holds for the two London fighters, but a domestic heavyweight battle is bound to create a buzz. Despite Amir Khan attempting to win back his light-welterweight titles from Danny Garcia on the same night, the eyes of the boxing world will be on West Ham this Saturday.