David Haye returns to the ring this Saturday following a three year absence, facing lightly regarded WBA contender Mark De Mori, in a ten round contest at London’s O2 arena.
It’s a fight which draws a certain amount of intrigue to boxing fans. Although Haye achieved multiple world titles at two different weights in a ten year career, many feel that the Bermondsey man didn’t fulfil his potential in the heavyweight division especially. Wins against Monte Barrett, Nikolai Valuev, John Ruiz, Audley Harrison and Derek Chisora don’t stand out particularly highly under scrutiny – unsurprisingly neither will a win against the Austalian De Mori.
However, it’s what’s potentially in-store for Haye further down the line which, should he overcome De Mori, has the excitement building.
Tyson Fury’s remarkable win over long-reigning champion Wladimir Klitschko blew the heavyweight division wide open last November, with Fury set to rematch the Ukrainian sometime during the first half of 2016. WBC belt holder Deontay Wilder is scheduled to defend his title against Artur Szpilka the same night as Haye at the Barclays Center in New York, whilst the vacant IBF title will be contested between Charles Martin and Czar Glazkov on that same under card. The heavyweight titles aren’t tied up anymore – three targets for Haye to aim for.
The question is – what makes a 2016 David Haye come back successful?
Bluntly to start, nothing less than a thundering knock out against Mark De Mori this weekend. British freeview channel ‘Dave’ has picked up the main event in London, every household in the UK with a television licence (and some without!) have access to watch the fight – a bold business move by the ‘Hayemaker’? Possibly.
Featuring and finishing a respectable third on ITV’s hit ‘I’m a Celebrity, Get me out of Here’ in 2012 helped repair a somewhat damaged rapport with the British public. A come back fight on freeview could help re-engage a disillusioned or perhaps forgetful fan base and could potentially help the sales for any future contests on a pay-per-view platform.
Consistency inside and outside the ring will also help the 35-year old in his pursuit of former glories. Boxing’s sanctioning bodies and their rankings system are a fickle business, to manipulate that business you have to be in the ring on a consistent basis. Long spells on the sidelines won’t do Haye any good in climbing those rankings to a mandatory title shot. The ‘Hayemaker’ should attempt to fight AT LEAST three times in 2016 – if not more.
Outside of the ring that precedent should remain the same also. Haye is never one to fall out of physical shape, consistently looking like an extra from the film ‘300’ is excellent, but weight training and boxing training are very different. Stay in the boxing gym Mr Haye.
A good relationship and chemistry with new trainer Shane McGuigan will also be pivotal to the Londoner’s success. At times, Haye could be criticised of failing to listen to former trainer Adam Booth’s instructions in the corner in between rounds – most notably during his twelve round defeat to then lineal champion Wladimir Klitschko back in 2011.
2016 and desires of success won’t entertain such a monumental flaw, Haye will have to carry out the instructions offered by new trainer McGuigan down to a tee if he is to succeed. Boxing at times is a one man show – to make it easier, sometimes it needn’t be.
Notably, Haye should cool off on the outside of the ring hype. Talking trash is a great PR move if you can back it up, but the scale of the hype Haye embroiled himself in prior to his clash with Klitschko, then not to deliver was kind of embarrassing. Let the public decide if you’re to be their hero or villain. The Sky Sports marketing machine will undoubtedly cast you as the bad guy in a potential fight with ‘holyer-than-thou’ Anthony Joshua in a mega box office clash if it is to happen in 2016, don’t help them with it.
Try and stay injury free. This is hard, particularly because Haye can’t choose when he gets injured and when he doesn’t, but don’t do anything which could jeopardise a fight taking place. Sparring without headgear is a huge blaring warning sign two weeks out from a fight, the paying public won’t want to be burnt a fourth time by a Haye non-event.
Take a risk with opponents. Here’s to hoping Haye doesn’t spend 2016 fighting a host of outsiders on the fringe of top twenties in a sanctioning body. The people want action. Want to be a national hero once more? Jump in their with some significant fights. Aim for the top five and turn their wrist until the fights happen. Fights with Anthony Joshua, Luis Ortiz or Kubrat Pulev will send the fans wild. Fights with the fourth best Australian, seventh best German and third best Frenchman nobody has ever heard of, won’t.
If Haye can get the public onside, train properly, fight regularly, attempt to stay injury free and deliver some devastating knock outs – he will deliver a 2016 to remember.
The heavyweight division isn’t too abundant with quality right now, stand out names such as Tyson Fury, Wladimir Klitschko, Alexander Povetkin and Deontay Wilder sit in the upper echelons, but wins against anybody else in the top ten is definitely achievable for Haye in 2016.
Time to hear ‘Ain’t no stoppin’ us now’ blare out a few more times this year – please don’t disappoint.