COMMENTARY | On September 28 in Manchester, England, British Heavyweights David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) and Tyson Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) square off to determine not only who the baddest man in the U.K. is, but more importantly, to determine which man advances into a likely showdown against Wladimir Klitschko.
Each man has his supporters, but Haye is favored to win the match. For fight fans at large though, and the sport of boxing, Tyson Fury needs to prevail.
Haye has already had his shot at Klitschko the Younger. And it wasn't pretty. In fact, the July 2011 Klitschko vs. Haye fight in Hamburg, Germany, was a nearly unwatchable affair, and the event remains one of the biggest disappointments in the sport's recent history.
After years of braggadocio and trash-talking to land himself a date against Klitschko, Haye put forth a miserable effort, seeming content to waste everyone's time by surviving his way to a lopsided decision loss rather than risking a close encounter with Klitschko's freight train right hand.
Rarely has such extreme pre-fight boasting led to such a non-performance in the ring.
Since then, he's fought just once, dominating another Brit, Dereck Chisora, and stopping him in Round 5. Yet if he defeats Fury, he'll find himself in position to get another paycheck against Klitschko.
The Heavyweight division is desperately in need of fresh faces. Rising American Seth Mitchell? Just knocked out by Chris Arreola, his second knockout defeat in a year. Arreola, himself a former overhyped American prospect, has already served as cannon fodder for Vitali Kltischko. Arreola has also lost to Tomasz Adamek, another victim of a cringe-worthy beatdown at Vitali's hands, and another fighter who nevertheless seems to have crawled his way back into title contention.
There was David Price, until he was unceremoniously knocked out twice by American Tony Thompson, himself a two-time Klitschko challenger. He was stopped in six brutal rounds in July 2012, and previously lasted until Round 11 against Wladimir in July 2008.
Thankfully, by handily defeating Thompson in August, the undefeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev (18-0, 9 KOs) saved us from the travesty which would have been a potential third fight between Thompson and Klitschko.
Fury needs to do the same for us here. He's a polarizing figure to be certain, but he certainly knows how to work a crowd and generate interest. And at 6'9" with an 85" reach, and some 250 pounds of mass, he has the size and strength to at least pose an interesting challenge against Klitschko.
I'm not saying he'd win. The fact that former Cruiserweight champ Steve Cunningham was almost able to knock him out in his last fight this April certainly doesn't bode well for his chances. But he's undefeated, he's big, and he'd make watching a Heavyweight title fight between a British challenger and a Ukrainian champion something that American fight fans would actually want to see.
Most importantly of all, a Klitschko vs. Fury fight would not be a boring, ugly and one-sided assault which we've already seen, and that's what the division needs more than anything else.
Wladimir is taking on the undefeated Alexander Povetkin (26-0, 18 KOs) in October. Povetkin, of course, has avoided the Klitschko brothers for years, scooping up fake titles along the way thanks to the dubious practices of the sport's myriad sanctioning bodies.
Once he's presumably whitewashed, the only logical opponents for Klitschko are Fury, should he defeat Haye, and Pulev. And make no mistake, it will be the winner of Haye vs. Fury which gets the Klitschko fight, as Pulev simply doesn't bring the same marketability to the table.
Americans Bryant Jennings and Deontay Wilder don't have the seasoning yet, and would be well-served facing one another before leapfrogging up into Klitschko territory. Robert Helenius and Bermane Stiverne aren't going to generate any interest -- not when Helenius was lucky to get a controversial decision against Chisora, and Stiverne's best win is against Arreola.
See the trend? The Heavyweight division is stuck in a perpetual cycle, with fighters getting destroyed by one of the Klitschkos, turning around and defeating another retread or two, and then receiving a second chance to be pummeled.
That's why boxing needs Tyson Fury to defeat David Haye. He'd at least temporarily stop the uninteresting and unending bombardment to our senses that is watching the same exact fighters continually rising into and falling out of contention from beating one another.
Jake Emen runs the boxing news website ProBoxing-Fans.com, where you can find breaking news stories, interviews, rankings and more. You can also follow Jake and ProBoxing-Fans.com on Twitter, @ProBoxingFans.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Haye
- Tyson Fury
- Wladimir Klitschko
- Chris Arreola