Nostalgia is a dangerous thing in boxing. It can cloud ones judgement. Too many great fighters have found out the painful way that what you used to be, really doesn’t mean that much when you’re getting punched in the face.
David Haye is another such fighter, who has failed to recognise that his best days are long behind him. His aesthetic physique, like a dazzling sports car hides a multitude of problems underneath the bonnet. Only when you proudly drive it away from the forecourt does the axle break and the exhaust falls off.
The sight of a lumbering David Haye knocking over a couple of cardboard cutouts in 2016 had reminiscing boxing fans drooling over his return to the boxing ring. David Haye was back to bring balance to the heavyweight division and silence the hype surrounding a certain young fighter from Watford. Tony Bellew however, smelled bullshit and the rest is history.
Bellew and Haye are set to meet once again. For many, the manner of Bellew’s victory was inconclusive. However, what was evident was that the speed and timing that once made Haye a devastating puncher, were absent. Bellew is no slouch and he was able to slip and slide Haye’s wild, telegraphed, swinging lunges throughout the first 5 rounds.
Haye fans may argue that he was carrying an injury before he climbed into the ring, but this is the point…a fully fit, 37 year-old David Haye is as mythical as Narnia. It doesn’t exist. His career ending shoulder injury was brushed under the carpet. It now appears that the achilles rupture has joined it. I would challenge anyone to name an athlete who has returned to the summit of their sport after suffering a snapped achilles. You’ll probably have to kick through the back of a wardrobe to find one of those, too.
David Haye was a brilliant fighter, a two-division world champion, whom in his heyday would have obliterated Tony Bellew in a few rounds. The reality now however is that for all his posturing, Haye is a wounded animal and a prime, fight fit, Tony Bellew knows it.
It’s often been said that the biggest lies are the ones that we tell ourselves. Nostalgia often reinforces those lies. David Haye has stated that he is ‘fitter, stronger and more fitter’ than 6 months ago. I feel the harsh truth will be delivered by the 10 ounce gloves of Tony Bellew on December 17th and belatedly bring down the curtain and the pole crashing down on an illustrious career of a British boxing legend.by