David Haye’s recent victory over Frenchman Jean Marc-Mormeck will likely prove the Londoner’s last at the 200lb Cruiserweight limit. Much though it will irritate him not to flatten Enzo Maccarinelli, the WBO belt holder, to further confirm his dominance in the division, it is clearly no longer possible for him to squeeze his muscular frame inside the limit. Travellers on the Haye bandwagon believe the heavyweights will prove no greater obstacle to the speed and power of the Cruiserweight champion.
In the immediate aftermath of his thrilling victory over Mormeck it would be easy to succumb to the theory and share in sycophantic applause. Does the heavyweight division really host anyone capable of repelling Haye’s voyage to the ultimate prize? A few days on from Haye’s famous victory a cold shower may be in order.
Firstly, it would be an act of criminal neglect to overlook the ease with which Mormeck landed right hands through Haye’s absent guard. It would be bordering on the insane to believe a heavyweight punch dropped over the same low left hand wouldn’t send Haye to la-la land. This is, after all, a fighter dropped by Lolenga Mock, a hard punching Super-Middleweight.
In the absence of his own left hand, I’ll defend Haye here. Improvements have been made, most notably the development of some ring-sense and a greater adherence to fight plans. When floored by a glancing left right in the fourth round, Haye sensibly took a knee and regrouped. Drawing on the experience defeat to Carl Thompson imparted, a fight where he had to ask for his kitchen sink back in the dressing room and proved he could breath out of his derriere.
He also showed maturity in targeting Mormeck’s body from distance, punches that eventually set up the finishing blows and he didn’t try and knock the proud champion out with every shot. A habit Haye had in the embryonic stages of his career. But, Mormeck took some of Haye’s bigger shots and landed several of his own. He avoided the Haye jab routinely, and was able to close the gap to land his own shots on the inside with comfort at times.
Haye isn’t without flaws. Perhaps I’m too eager a critic. After all, he was facing the main man at the weight, away from home – he was bound to ship some shots – and with a lot of his effervescence left in the steam room and hills of Northern Cyprus. Making 200lbs was a three-month ordeal and Haye cannot have been at his optimum condition as he stepped between the ropes. In fact, he commented a month or two ago, that he was prepared to risk 70% of himself being enough to win, despite the risks attached, rather than bypass the match up and head for the relative comfort of heavyweight.
I’ve advised caution in this quest for heavyweight honours and talk of a three year plan suggests Frank Maloney and Adam Booth intend to take a pragmatic route to the top. Whether Haye’s over-eagerness exerts influence outside the ring remain to be seen, I cannot imagine he will contemplate a string of trial-horses or faded veterans for too long. Haye has always been ambitious and confident.
The low left will never leave, like his contemporary Carl Froch, Haye isn’t going to change his style dramatically and to do so would probably uncoordinated him and reduce his offensive prowess and balance. Haye is what he is; a puncher who exposes his chin. Entertainment is almost certainly guaranteed. I still shudder when I think of a 240lb heavyweight throwing right hands at him though, although they will be more ponderously delivered their effect will be all the greater for the weight of punch.
Is there a balm or salve available to cool my concern? I’m happy to report that there is and if you share my reservations about David Haye’s chances at heavyweight with the flaws he still carries do what I did. Begin to list your top 35 heavyweights.
Now doesn’t that feel better?