Haye searching for a tree to fell in division of deadwood

Chinese proverb say “don’t try to be lumberjack in desert”. Okay, to my knowledge there is no such proverb but it would apply neatly to David Haye’s current quest to find a big, tall meaningful opponent for his next heavyweight fight. Today’s press conference, to announce the date, venue and opponent for his long awaited second appearance at the weight has been pushed back a fortnight simply because he cannot get the signature of a preferred opponent on the contract.

The widely presumed candidates include Hasim Rahman and James Toney with the perennial contenders Oleg Maskaev, Monte Barrett and Andrew Golota also whispered. Toney and Rahman seem to be the preferred choices given the specific references Haye made to both following the veteran pairing’s clash earlier this year. Rahman meekly withdrew with a cut and the contest’s verdict seemed to rule out the former heavyweight champion and ruled in Toney.

The result was changed to a NC, pushing Rahman back to the fore given he represents a more predictable foe and has more public renown here in the UK – who will be buying the tickets – having dumped Lennox Lewis on his ill-prepared rump in 2001. Having assured everyone he will cut a swathe through the immobile giants of the division, a technical, awkward clash with the sly and squat Toney wouldn’t be the eye-catching performance Haye will crave.

As a former Middleweight, 40 years old with a less than athletic physique Toney is not the type of aesthetic fodder Haye will be looking for despite the veteran’s unquestionable pedigree. Haye is a signed up fan of UFC and realises the importance of appearance in presenting himself and the fight he’s promoting. I just don’t see how Toney fits that bill.

The delay therefore, if the space between the lines is to be filled, is presumably due to the fee Rahman is seeking to act as Haye’s sacrificial lamb en route to Wladimir Klitschko next summer. If the over-rated Ukrainian, prone to self-combusting at inopportune moments, hasn’t been nudged from his perch before then.

And it is that possibility that is behind Haye’s eagerness to get to him first.

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