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David Haye vs. Wladimir Klitschko: Celebrating the One-Year Anniversary

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Perhaps history will be kind to David Haye.

The former undisputed cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight champion enjoyed a spell at the top table of British sporting figures for the best part of three years before his diners card was rescinded after losing it all to Wladimir Klitschko on a wet night in Hamburg.

On reflection, the fight has marked a dramatic descent for Haye who has become almost a figure of fun and derision as his promises of glory proved unfounded and his post-fight excuses unpalatable.

At the time of writing he is preparing to enter into a ring with Dereck Chisora, thus breaking his promises not to a) fight after his 31st birthday and b) take on anyone without a Klitschko surname.

As far as a reputation goes, Haye could be doing better.

Yet, in a funny way, the manner in which he has lost so much in suffering only his second career defeat, speaks volumes for what he was prepared to risk in trying to scale the highest heavyweight height.

I was initially highly critical of Haye’s tactics in attempting to negate Wladimir’s size advantage. Anyone who watched a lumbering Samuel Peter face the same opponent in 2005 will recognise the almost comical attempt to replicate that ultimately unsuccessful blueprint.

And for 90% of the general sport watching general public this is what David Haye means to them- a frustrated presence, unable to land more than a handful of meaningful punches on the biggest night of his career.

Whether or not history remembers Haye in the same fashion is up for debate, however it is unlikely that his future ring endeavours alone will rescue his profile.

A one-sided victory over the dogmatic Chisora will hardly register on his resume of top-level fights- regardless of how much money he pockets as a result.

Even were he to fight on past this summer and regain a portion of the world heavyweight title, such a success would be meaningless unless he recorded a win over one of heavyweight boxing’s Royal Family.

With Vitali Klitschko heading towards retirement later this year and his younger brother looking to explore other options, there is little prospect of redemption coming Haye’s way.

Yet, as one of only five British men to have held a world heavyweight title and as one of few undisputed cruiserweight kings, his profile shouldn’t need rescuing, but it does.

We should remember his willingness to travel to France to face Jean-Marc Mormeck and recover from an early knockdown to record a sensational stoppage and capture his first world crown.

Or perhaps he should be heralded for his two round demolition of Enzo Maccarinelli in 2008- Haye’s final fight at cruiserweight before launching a one man war on the heavyweight division.

Even through arguably his least entertaining fight- victory over NikolayValuev in 2009- Haye was so disciplined and accurate in outworking the man mountain from Russia and recording another landmark away day win.

Perhaps his biggest crime was encouraging people to believe the ultimate dream in boxing’s flagship weight class was possible.

Haye’s defeat in Hamburg was the death toll for Sky’s pay-per-view offerings and, his toe-curling array of excuses afterwards was always going to take the sheen off his career achievements.

Boxing only gets fleeting moments in the sporting sun, so whilst the one man Haye hype machine was financially lucrative, his failure to deliver was chastening.

For all the fans he gained through four years as a top level fighter, he lost an equal number somewhere between the 2010 Audley Harrison farce and his performance in Germany 12 months ago.

When the vitriol dies down, it is this that Haye is doomed to be remembered for. No amount of Dereck Chisora shaped paydays will numb that pain.

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