What to Make of Haye’s Comeback?

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David Haye stops an overmatched Arnold Gjergjaj in less than two rounds

By: Jake Collins (@MelanCholyFolly)

Growing up, I used to be a big WWE fan. The drama and circus acts of people trash talking each other during matches was great fun; the fact is wasn’t real fighting didn’t really matter to me because I was entertained. My surprisingly human like flippers would clap together as I watched happily like a seal waiting for his fish. Overtime and with the inexorable downer that is maturity, I began to more interested in boxing. Boxing was what really entertained ‘adults’, surely? Well, so I thought…

David Haye’s comeback – at best – can only be described as a farce. I get you’d want a tune-up fight, maybe two against a domestic level fighter maybe. This is the former heavyweight champion of the world remember.

What we’ve been served however, is no less than a McMahon-styled performance that people are staggeringly happy to part money for. Haye’s two choices of opponents have been downright abysmal. I don’t know what black magic was worked to give De Mori a top 15 ranking (or why Briggs is 7 with the WBA, more on that later) but it was absolutely farcical.

It was Haye’s first fight back after a few years out though, so let’s give him the benefit of the doubt there. To his credit his selected an unbeaten fighter who’d spent much of his career fighting in the boxing nebulous that is Switzerland.

Arnold Gjergjaj folded much the same way as De Mori did. As soon as he was hit (put down with a jab no less), he didn’t really want to know. These two fights have actually given Haye a fairly high ranking with the WBA as well, meaning him against Briggs will propel the winner up the rankings even higher.

Before and after the fight, we’ve had Briggs doing his usual “let’s go champ” routine to try and orchestrate a fight. The faux-rivalry between him and Haye is really WWE stuff, frankly quite ridiculous.

We’ve all brought into ‘hatred’ and the like between fighters, but this is surely the most transparent build-up to a potential fight I’ve ever seen. What’s more, Haye actually considers this a big fight. He ruled out a rematch with Wlad Klitschko citing that he is “too old” but is seemingly happy to progress with former champion Briggs who is 44 and held his title in 2006.

Briggs was at his boxing prime literally a decade ago. That was realistically his last win of note too, defeating Liakhovich for the WBO Heavyweight title before losing it in his subsequent fight.

Haye against Briggs is not a competitive fight. It isn’t a meaningful fight. It isn’t really anything beyond parody. Haye clamied he’ll be knocking Briggs out – of course but the problem David, is that no one asked for proof.

I mean, it’s great we’re having boxing on free TV (Dave). I always welcome that. What I don’t like it people just getting into boxing thinking that joke mismatches like this are all the norm in boxing and something to be encouraged.

With the De Mori fight, the production wasn’t terrible and we was even treated to Paul Dempsey – who I think is an excellent presenter. Allegedly however, Dempsey was banned from the second event due to asking ‘awkward’ questions of Haye in the post-fight interview. He asked if Haye was just doing this for money due to being a bit skint and if the caliber of opposition should be questioned. Both perfectly valid questions and both questions I’d have much preferred an honest answer to.

Haye is losing a lot of credibility with the more hardcore boxing fans. I think he lost a lot of it by blaming the loss against Wladimir Klitschko on his little toe and then pulling out of the Fury fight twice.

Still, boxing fans are often forgivers and lining up decent fights upon the much clamored return would have ensured people call for him to fight the champions in the division. Instead, we’ve been given this mockery of a salesman and are seeing a packed 02 arena full of celebrities who have no interest in boxing (and most likely were paid to appear there).

I’ve always considered Haye’s career at Heavyweight as a little bit of a myth. His best win at the weight is probably Chisora or John Ruiz, neither of which would really be discussed as true top level operators of the sport. I truly respect what Haye did at Cruiserweight but I think that tends to give him a bit of a pass when people discuss his reign at Heavyweight. Even so, you’d be hard pushed for someone to doubt his ability as a fighter. So I don’t think it’s really much to ask for him to fight a live body to show he deserves the big fights he’s ubiquitously yelling about.

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