It’s being billed as the biggest heavyweight fight in years, but will the Wladimir Klitschko vs David Haye bout in Germany on July 2 be able to live up to all of its pre-fight hype? As far as top names go, the fight’s a winner. The 35-year-old Klitschko comes in as the WBO and IBF champion while the 30-year-old Haye is the WBA belt holder.
Klitschko’s record stands at 55-3 with an impressive 49 knockouts. Haye will enter the ring at 25-1, with an equal amount of power, shown by his 23 KO’s. However, it could that both men’s power actually turns this highly-anticipated matchup into a one-punch dud.
Most boxing fans love to see explosive knockouts, but this fight could be over as soon as one of them lands his first solid punch. While Klitschko of Ukraine and Haye of England have only lost four fights between them, they’ve all been by way of devastating knockouts.
Klitschko has been stopped by Lamon Brewster (five rounds) Corrie Sanders (two rounds) and Ross Puritty (11 rounds) in his career while Haye was halted by Carl Thompson in the fifth round and dropped by Jean-Mark Mormeck. Klitschko was also dropped three times against Samuel Peter in 2005.
Haye’s only loss came back in 2004 and Klitschko hasn’t been beaten since then either when Brewster laid him out. But, they haven’t exactly been fighting any world beaters over the past seven years. Sure, Haye’s beaten the likes of Monte Barrett, Nikolay Valuev, John Ruiz, and Audley Harrison since the former cruiserweight champion moved up to the heavyweight division in 2008, but none of these guys are anywhere near hall of fame material.
In fact, Haye’s last fight against fellow Brit Audley Harrison in November was one of the worst in the history of boxing. It was so bad the British Board of Control debated over paying Harrison, but he eventually got his money, which he didn’t deserve based on his disgraceful performance in the ring.
Klitschko’s also been on a winning streak against known-name fighters, but nowhere near the elite level. He’s beaten Calvin Brock, Ray Austin, Chris Byrd, Tony Thompson, Eddie Chambers, and Peter in a rematch in his last fight which came about nine months ago.
The lack of competition means these guys will both be taking a big step up in class when meeting each other. But as their records show, they both also have problems taking a punch from hard-hitting fighters.
Haye definitely has the most entertaining style of the two since Klitschko fights in a more systematic style behind his rigid jab. However, will he be willing to trade shots with the 6-foot-7 Ukranian? He more or less has to because it’s about the only way he can win. Klitschko will be happy to use his superior reach and skills to keep Haye at bay.
The big question is how will each fighter react when they’re nailed flush on the jaw? It’s possible that both of them could crumble, so the guy who lands first might end up winning this fight early on. Haye will have to rely on his speed of hand when throwing quick combinations while Klitschko will throw powerful right hands behind his jab.
Both men have shown heart by getting up off the deck to win fights and it’s possible they’ll both have to pick themselves up again if neither of them can finish the other off early on.
The advantages however all point to Klitschko as he’s a natural heavyweight with a lot more experience. If both fighters can stand up to each other’s power this could be a classic, if not, this is going to end early…perhaps too early.