Saturday, July 02, 2011

Klitschko Cruises Over Haye

Many thought that David Haye would put up a compelling performance against the heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, because of his speed and his athletic ability. But it wasn't to be. Haye had a plan to avoid Klitschko's jab. He just didn't have a plan to initiate any offense. And he didn't counterpunch. The result was a bad fight.

Much like a balloon being inflated closer and closer to its breaking point, the tension rose throughout the pre-fight festivities. But, instead of bursting in the ring, the air was slowly let out over twelve largely uneventful rounds. The problem was that Haye succeeds from the outside, but Klitchko is the taller and better outside fighter. As a result, Haye's leaping hooks came up short. Klitschko was content to merely avoid the blows, which made for a boring bout.

Haye's lunging punches were few and far between to begin with. Klitschko utilized the jab. While he didn't crush Haye's sole with the left-hand lead, as he does to some opponents, the jab allowed Klitschko to control the contest. After the fight, Haye blamed a broken toe for not being able to push off when he leapt in at the champion. But his hooks from the outside were so short that it didn’t matter. The one big punch he ladned in the fight occured in the 12th where he was short with a left hook but came back with an overhand right that landed. It wasn't clear which toe was broken, but if it wasn't the big toe on his left foot, it was a moot excuse.

The big picture for boxing is a bleak one. Whenever a fight has crossed over to engage mainstream sports fans in recent years, it has been a stinker. Manny Pacquiao is too dominant offensively, causing his opponents to refrain from mounting a counter-attack. Floyd Mayweather is too good defensively and too accurate with his potshots, resulting in lackluster fights. Klitschko's dominant jab is not the most exciting. So boxing, already a niche sport, has had several bad showings on the big stage of late. This fight continued the streak.

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