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Haye turns his sights on Chagaev defence

ESPN staff
January 10, 2011

David Haye has turned his attentions to fighting WBA mandatory challenger Ruslan Chagaev, admitting that his "once in a lifetime fight" with Wladimir Klitschko is unlikely to materialise.

Klitschko and Haye finally looked set to meet in the ring following protracted negotiations, only for the Ukrainian to re-arrange his bout with Dereck Chisora for April 30.

Consequently, the fight most people have clamoured for is dead in the water, with Haye required by the WBA to make the third defence of his title against the German-based Uzbek Chagaev.

Klitschko, the IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, has made it clear he is willing to fight Haye on July 2, but with Haye lining up a clash against Chagaev in May, that date is unrealistic according to the Brit.

"Fight fans just want to see the best against the best - if only it was that simple," Haye said. "Very rarely in boxing do you get a situation where you have all the pieces of the puzzle, all the politics have been smoothed over.

"Then all of sudden he announces he is fighting Chisora, knowing I have to then fight Chagaev. To then fight me after is impossible - it is a shame he has now shown his true colours.

"What is wrong with now? Nothing. It does not make sense, especially after all the public campaign to get me in the ring. This would be a once in a lifetime fight. Once I retire, people will always ask him 'why did you not fight David Haye?' and he will have to live with that. If it does not happen now, it never will.

"Hopefully he is getting some serious stick, will read what the world is saying about him and think 'okay maybe I will just cancel this fight and do the fight everyone wants to see'. It is pretty sad but shows the mindset of Wladimir Klitschko and why he will go down in history as a heavyweight who just fought the worst possible people out there."

Throughout his career, Haye has insisted he will hang up his gloves before his 31st birthday in October, and the former undisputed cruiserweight champion is adamant he will stick to his word.

"I am not going to go down in history as the greatest heavyweight of all time, but I have got to be satisfied with what I have achieved," he said. "In these next 10 months, I have got to have some memorable fights, which now has to start off with mandatory challenger Chagaev.

"I have seen fighters who try to fight into their twilight years and you end up just getting beat by younger, fresher, hungrier guys. Whether the guy is better than you, it is irrelevant - they are younger, fresh and healthy, while you are old and shock-worn.

"Sooner or later you are going to end up coming a cropper. That is how boxing has worked throughout the years, so I want to be one of the very few fighters who gets out on top, in their prime."

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