*Sigh* Once again my blind optimism towards the sport of boxing has lead to my utter disappointment in a high-profile bout.
Klitschko vs. Haye was supposed to be a score-settler, a fight that would do wonders to improve the image and worth of the winner.
True, David Haye has been overrated since day 1.
True, Wladimir Klitschko is one of the most boring and methodical fighters in the sport.
At the end of the day though, my gut told me this fight could’ve been something special.
Little did I know, my gut is retarded; most likely as a result of me having exclusively dined on hot dogs for the first 10 years of my life.
Like the hot dog munching, and very much overweight kid I was though; I came into this fight with wide-eyed enthusiasm, hoping and praying that Santa would drop down my chimney, the troops would come home from Iraq/Afganistan/The Moon, and heavyweight boxing would live again.
Sadly, as the title of this post would indicate, this was not the case.
Klitschko jabbed the night away and basically did the same as always, but in my opinion, and the opinion of virtually anyone who saw this fight that isn’t from the UK; Haye was largely the culprit in creating the flop-fest that was Klitschko/Haye.
That’s right, I said “flop-fest.”
For those who may not know, a “flop” is a term used in sports to describe the act of overplaying a foul or injury for the purpose of gaining some sort of advantage, usually through falling to the ground in dramatic fashion; hence the term: “flop.”
In soccer, players will flop to penalize the other team and get them carded.
In basketball, flops are used to gain the referee’s attention for calling fouls.
In boxing, the closest thing to a flop, one usually sees is that of a fighter feigning serious injury from a headbutt or foul for the sake of catching a breather.
It’s underhanded, yes; but in most cases a feigned injury in boxing is usually derived from a legitimate, if not minor foul that is simply exaggerrated.
It’s very rare to see dramatic “flops” in boxing that come as a result of entirely false circumstances.
Such was the case with David Haye’s performance in yesterday’s fight.
At an imposing 6′ 6″ and 240 lbs, Wladimir Klitschko is widely known as a fighter that gets a lot of mileage out of leaning on and holding his opponents.
Holding is technically an illegal tactic in the sport of boxing, however this doesn’t stop every fucking trainer on the planet from teaching their fighters to tie-up their opponents when injured or in close-quarters.
Given Klitschko’s rather extreme height and reach, it only makes sense that he would lean on his opponents or tie them up when they venture too close, as with a wingspan like his; it’s hard to imagine his in-fighting abilities would be all that great.
In knowing this about Klitschko’s tactics, my guess is that David Haye’s camp made the decision to employ a “clever” strategy to counter the leaning and holding.
Said brilliant strategy, in the fine tradition of soccer; saw Haye flopping to the mat at the slightest touch of Wladimir Klitschko’s forearms or shoulders.
I can’t blame him for trying, as the strategy largely served it’s purpose given that Klitschko ended up getting a point deducted at one point; but the fact of the matter is, David Haye absolutely sucks at flopping.
I’ve seen William Shatner take falls more convincingly than the shit Haye was pulling yesterday.
Seriously man, the big Brit flopped to the canvas with such frequency that my brother had to call bullshit, exclaiming that he’d seen WWF matches where guys spent less time on the mat.
To make matter worse, it was clear that Haye just wasn’t in the fight by about the halfway point, seemingly checking out both mentally and physically for the most part.
The man’s stamina has always been in question throughout his career, and had he not been knocked out as a result of being gassed in a previous fight; I’d say it was on no better display than it was yesterday.
I hate to judge a book by it’s cover, but I’ve always felt that David Haye’s heroic bodybuilder physique was always ill-suited for pro boxing.
Like the similarly buff and bulky (and overrated) Jeff Lacy, Haye always looked the part, however his form was constructed of far too much “glamour muscle” to support the tremendous stamina and flexibility requirements of pro boxing.
If you want any evidence as to the state of Haye’s stamina throughout the fight, just look to his corner between rounds, and indeed before the fight even started; and take a look a how much water he chokes down throughout.
The man must have drank 2 gallons of water, which in case you didn’t know; is a big, big no-no in boxing.
Haye landed a handful of pretty big shots in the fight, though they all came one at a time.
Klitschko was hurt maybe once in the fight, in the last round; and from what I could tell he recovered surprisingly quickly.
All in all, it was a boring night (afternoon?) at the fights, with the only real drama spawning from the looming possibility that either fighter could hurt the other at any point due to their shoddy chins.
I will say this though, the entrances for both fighter’s were some of the most elaborate I’ve ever seen, though it would’ve been nice if they had been better coordinated.
Kudos to George Foreman for spoiling Klitschko’s big reveal on live television.