Thursday, June 30, 2011

Klitschko-Haye Preview

We finally have a legitimate heavyweight boxing match for the first time in nearly ten years. The champion, Wladimir Klitschko, has been dominant for about five years. David Haye seems to have an actual chance to unseat the Ukrainian champion.

Against my better instincts, I actually root for Haye. He exudes an arrogance and a flash that I don't appreciate. But I feel it's all contrived. Deep down, I believe he's a humble and driven man. But I don't know him at all. On the other hand, I admire Klitschko's ability and dominance. He has a quiet confidence and an unquestioned intelligence that I admire. Yet, I want him to lose and root against in virtually every fight.

There in lies the contradiction within this fight. I suspect most people are feeling the same confused feeling heading into the contest on Saturday. Lennox Lewis has said that his heart says Haye will win, but his head picks Klitschko. I concur.

The thought is that Haye is athletic enough to avoid remaining gun-shy at the end of Klitschko's powerful jab and has the power to do damage once he gets inside. Perhaps his lateral movement will keep the champ off balance.

Unfortunately, I just don't see it happening. Haye will likely enjoy little more than a few moments of joy, which is more than most opponents can say. Klitschko's jab is one of the most dominant weapons in the sport. And just in case you somehow avoid that focused and thudding punch, Klitschko's has his right hand constantly cocked and ready for you to walk into it. Haye is a good outside fighter, but Klitschko is a great one. He's considerably taller than the skilled Brit. He's technically better and is stronger than the challenger.

Haye might even steal a round on route to a lopsided unanimous decision. That is, if he isn't stopped in the late rounds. I hope I'm wrong.

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