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David (Haye) vs. Goliath (Valuev)

Something's telling me not to do this post, because part of me feels like I will be wrong. It's never stopped me before so here goes...

Let's be honest, we haven't cared about heavyweights in a while. A slew of sub-par champions has meant interest dwindled in what was Boxing's bread winning division. From about 2004 onwards, the light weights reign as the most exciting and generate the big PPV money.

Another change has been the star-studded USA who ruled the heavyweight division since as far as I can remember, now have no world champions. All of the champions are either Russian or from Ukraine (Kiltschko brothers) and reside/fight out of Germany. Not exactly the glamour we've come to expect.

To be frank: Heavyweight boxing is dead!

However, tonight's fight is the Heavyweight divisions most mouth-watering contest since Heavyweight #1 Lennox Lewis fought late replacement and soon-to-become (at the time0 #1 Vitali Klitschko in 2003. Blimey, 6 years ago. 6ft 2, 16 stone former undisputed Cruiserweight (one weight class lower) champion David Haye faces the biggest heavyweight champion ever in 7ft, 23 stone Russian Nikolai Valuev.

The last time I can remember a small man fighting a big man was Roy Jones vs John Ruiz. Most of us knew Roy would outbox the sluggish... actually, forget the nice terms, damn right boring Ruiz. He ranks up there as one of the worst champions in the last 20 years. Sadly, he is the guy who's supposed to face the winner of this contest.

I did a similar post of this for Mayweather vs. Marquez here. Glad to say I was right on the nigt. Tonight's fight is a harder one to pick. Here's why:

The obvious difference is size. We've been conditioned to think the bigger fight will automatically be the one who wins. Guess this stems back to school days where the big guys were always the one we stayed away from/made friends with. But who does this really benefit though? Boxers say it is harder to punch down. Why, I don't know but I'm not going to argue with a boxer! What they say goes as far as I'm concerned. I've heard many ask how David Haye is going to be able to catch him. Well Evander Holyfield - legend yes but still - managed to catch him. In fact many say 'Real Deal' Holyfield was robbed in their meeting last year, and Holyfield has been past it for at 5 years and that's me being kind! Remember, that's a man who can't get a license to box in America because they worry about his health.

The advantage size will without doubt give Valuev is reach and he'll be able to sap Haye's energy by leaning on him. Haye's stamina is a question mark; only one of his fights has gone the distance, and his one loss to Carl Thompson was due to stamina - he admitted it himself. Valuev will also be able to push Haye off at will.

Speed is definitley in favour of the smaller guy. Haye's got the speed advantage of both hands and feet. He'll be able to get in and out quick whilst landing big shots the big dude won't see coming. And boy can Haye hit! I was at the o2 when he fought Enzo Macarenelli. You could hear every big shot over the crowd noise. It's that real! As previously mentioned, Haye has stopped all but 1 of his victims.

Defence will be another of Haye's problems. He has a tendency to swing his left hand low. Lightning fast reactions (in comparison to Valuev anyway), but this is heavyweight. Questions already hang over his chin (I'm not convinced by that as yet), so hopefully this will have been worked on in the gym and stuck to in the ring. If Valuev could punch with the weight he has, his power would be immense. Another thing many people don't know is power in punch comes from the feet. That's right. Speed of punch also enhances power. Valuev's reasonably fast for a big man, but still he isn't as devastating a puncher as his size suggests.

Will Haye's inexperience of taking heavyweight punches go against him? Only one fight previously against Monte Barrett who isn't noted for punch power. Knocked Haye down though. Ref ruled it a slip, I and many other ruled it a legit knockdown. Wouldn't argue with a boxer, but I'll argue with a ref instead. Haye's got heart though. Remember when he got up following a heavy knockdown at the hands of Jean-Marc Mormeck then knocked him out in either the same or very next round?

"Speed kills" is a common theory in boxing, and that is the theory I'm going with (plus I don't argue with boxers). I very much doubt a knock-out win for Haye. When Holyfield landed big shots on him, Valuev barely blinked. I'm going for a split-decision win or he'll get robbed. You thought Don King's judges were a bit controversial back in the day? Well German's have been bad, Ask Robin Reid and many other Sven Ottke victim. Then add Don King to the situation as he is involved in Valuev's team.

If after all that Haye gets knocked out, it doesn't mean he is rubbish or I am/was chatting nonsense. This is the beauty of predictions and evil of hindsight. Plus, this is heavyweight boxing. A fight can turn or even end in the matter of a punch.

I'll admit I may be more looking at ways for Haye to win rather than taking everything into consideration equally. I've been a devout Haye fan for a very long time, and touted him to everyone I can as the next big thing in boxing. I remember when he went to America for fights as no one would screen them here. Cussed every network. Always said he'll rejuvinate the dead division. Couldn't believe no one was going to show his cruiserweight champion winning fight. Boxing needs David Haye to win


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