• Steve Bunce

Haye's cut could end up hurting Fury

Steve Bunce September 24, 2013
David Haye has the experience for an extended break from the ring, but Tyson Fury needs regular fights © Getty Images

There is nothing quite like contrasting tales in the boxing business.

Tyson Fury wanted to fight in October and December; David Haye has now confirmed he will not fight until February. Peter Fury remembers a time when swellings under or above a boxer's eye were cut with razors during fights; Adam Booth has struggled to explain to some people why his man was sparring so close to such a big fight.

At some point late last Friday, during a closed sparring session in a gym in Vauxhall, a young kid from Croatia called Filip Hrgovic sliced open Haye's left eyebrow with a wayward right elbow.

The split-second defensive move ruined any chances of this Saturday's fight ever taking place, and for a time whether or not the pair would make it to the ring at all. The reaction to the accidental and very real gash has been startling; Haye needed six stitches and the craft of a plastic surgeon to close a nasty wound. It's a cut - a real cut - but his excuse did not satisfy everybody, particularly Team Fury.

"I would fight with two broken arms," said Tyson, while his uncle and trainer Peter added: "In the old days they just cut open a bruise and the fight went on."

Tyson has been collecting badges for his bravery for a long, long time from a variety of people, but this wasn't a question of Haye's stomach for the fight. The cut ruled out any possibility of Haye passing the British Boxing Board of Control medical, and that really is the last word on any suggestion that he could have applied make-up and conned his way to the domestic showdown. He has a nasty cut above his eye, an inch or more long - it's not like he's nursing an unwanted pimple!

The main problem with Haye's withdrawal is that Tyson has been saying, long before the contract was signed, that the fight would never make it to the ring. "He will not fight me," Tyson said. "This fight will not happen." We'll now have to wait until February to see if Haye can finally make him eat his words.

Late sparring injuries are regular mishaps in the boxing business, especially in big fights, and a new date was easy to find. But no matter how genuine the reason for the collapse of the fight just eight days before the first bell, it has left an unfortunate impression on everybody in the boxing business.

Perhaps the fight is simply too good to be true. It has been a troubled fight in many ways, a fight with too many rumours swirling around it from the start and with too much at stake for both men.

Has Haye started negotiating for a fight with Vitali Klitschko? It's possible. Peter Fury claimed that Haye started to plan a fight with Tyson in the summer before an injured hand forced him to withdraw from a planned fight with Manny Charr - a match that never made sense, to be honest.

The cut only intensified the lack of trust that has been slowly bubbling as the showdown approached. Tyson still wants the fight but he was still looking at his options for the rest of the year until the new date was confirmed.

Steve Bunce and Barry Jones chat to Mick Hennessy about David Haye's dramatic last minute cancellation ahead of his fight with Tyson Fury and insists that the fight will still happen at a later date

Mick Hennessy, the fight's co-promoter, confirmed that he was exploring the possibility of getting Tyson a fight, in as little as three weeks. Hennessy is looking closely at exploiting a legal gap in the original fight contract, which ruled out any warm-up fights. Nobody wants to break the contract, but keeping Tyson on the sidelines for three, four, five or even six months would be a disaster - he needs regular fights and a solution inside or outside of the existing contract may need to be found.

Haye, in contrast, has mastered the art of long breaks between fights and will not be bothered by a continued absence from the ring. He will simply let the wound heal, take advice and work out a strategy to regain the confidence of the fight fans and push for another shot at the Klitschkos.

A fight in Germany with Vitali for the WBC world heavyweight title will break all records in Europe for a title fight. Even with the rearranged fight, Tyson is in danger of becoming a witness to the latest Haye carnival having been the accidental victim of a random act of violence in a low-key sparring session. Boxing can be very cruel, make no mistake.

© 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.