The UK’s David Haye (26-2, 24 KO’s) has been a heavyweight in absentia since his KO victory over Dereck Chisora in 2012.
The Bermondsey Bomber unified the cruiserweight division in 2008 before jumping up to mix it with the heavyweights (the first man to do so since Evander Holyfield). He even had a short-lived reign as the WBA champ after beating Nikolay Valuev. However, he was comprehensively nullified when he took the step up to face Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 and has made just the one appearance since.
Speaking with Sky Sports and later reported on World Boxing News, Haye said he has dedicated a lot of time during his absence to ensure he can compete on a consistent basis should he ever make the decision to return.
“It’s over three years now that I haven’t been in the ring but I’ve been looking after myself.”
“It’s well documented that I’ve had many injuries, shoulder injuries. I’ve just been working hard behind closed doors, training, making sure that if and when I make this comeback I’m not going to have other injuries.”
“I’ve been really working on my foundations so when I do make this comeback I don’t have to have six months to a year between fights, recovering from injuries.”
How much boxing training he has been doing -sparring, bag and pad work- in his time out is a bit of a mystery. HIs longterm association with trainer and manager Adam Booth has now come to a close, though whether that was due to Haye being away from the sport or a conscious separation is another unsolved puzzle.
Haye has spoken through the British tabloids of his willingness to take on Anthony Joshua in a big Wembley showdown. AJ is yet to make it to 20 fights but is seen as the most promising British heavyweight to break through the ranks since the emergence of Lennox Lewis in the 1990’s.
It is obvious Haye wants the big fights despite his lengthy inactivity and there are plenty of fighters out there who would fit that criteria, most of all Tyson Fury who was scheduled to face Haye at the end of 2013.
That fight was rescheduled for early the following year after Haye suffered a cut in sparring but that match never materialised, leaving Fury to claim he would never fight Haye again, even of a record purse was on the line.
Fury takes on Klitschko in October for the WBA Super, IBF and WBO titles, and if he keeps to his word in what would be largely seen as huge upset, that is bad news for Haye.
Throughout preparations for that first Fury fight footage emerged of Haye outboxing and outspeeding current WBC champ Deontay Wilder over a year before the won the belt. Perhaps that experience will embolden him to chase the green belt instead.
This isn’t the first time Haye has said he will return, but hopefully he will come back before his exceptional physical gifts begin to deteriorate.
“I want to make this last run my best – I’ll have an announcement soon. I’m in a really good place physically and mentally.”
“But now I want to get involved – I want to get back in it and start trading blows with some of these big boys.”