• Steve Bunce

Haye shouldn't abandon Vitali hopes

Steve Bunce June 19, 2012
David Haye still has the option of fighting Vitali Klitschko, no matter what he claims © Getty Images

David Haye suggested over the weekend that he's given up hope of fighting one of the Klitschkos - but in boxing, no fight is ever dead in the water.

The bottom line is there's no way Vitali will limp out of the sport after his next fight, against Manuel Charr in September. As Haye suggested, Charr is a guy who very few people have heard of.

If you show ten boxing "experts" three faces and ask them to pick out Charr, I doubt 50% would get it right. He hasn't even got bad pedigree - he's got no pedigree.

If Vitali gets rid of Charr in two or three rounds, I cannot see how he can possibly ride off into the sunset and announce his retirement from boxing. Charr is an absolutely bizarre choice of opponent.

Maybe Vitali wants a guaranteed knockout victory so he can move into full-time politics on a high note. But I don't buy that: modern fans are getting wiser, and they won't want to see him bow out with an utterly one-sided win.

So Haye, no matter what he says, still has a chance of getting in the ring with the elder Klitschko. If David does a job on Dereck Chisora on July 14, then Vitali will come back on the radar, even in America.

There's no-one left for the Klitschko brothers to fight - they've even started recycling their own opponents (as Wladimir is doing with Tony Thompson), rather than each others' - and that means Haye will always carry some allure.

Yes, Vitali has his political interests outside the ring, but that's been the case for a while - and he's still been defending world titles. Until he says he's done with boxing, a Haye clash is alive.

But if Chisora were to beat Haye - and that's a real possibility, because Chisora's done 36 hard rounds (ignoring the Remigijus Ziausys fight) since Haye was last in the ring - then the Vitali fight would be under threat (although still not dead) because David wouldn't get the money he thinks he deserves.

That's part of the reason why he's got himself in such good shape for the Chisora fight. People around Haye I've spoken to - and not people who get paid to say he looks good; I'm talking about people who really know him - are insisting they've never seen him train so hard.

My gut feeling is that even though he's talking a good fight about how easy it is, I don't think he actually feels that.

Probe Pacs no punch
The WBO's investigation into the Manny Pacquiao v Timothy Bradley fight is not going to change anything: there was always going to be a rematch.

The WBO review is purely cosmetic, and done to appease people. But the problem is that it appeases the same people who don't know about boxing. It's complete and utter rubbish.

If Pacquiao had won, of course there would have been no probe. If Bradley deserved the fight and Pacquiao had got it, people would have just got on with it. The fact that it was such a shocking loss for a big-name fighter has jarred people slightly.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.