David Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) has announced his return to the ring after three and half years of uncertainty if he would ever lace up the gloves again. He will be taking on Mark de Mori (30-1-2, 26 KOs) on January 16th at the O2 Arena in England.
Some people will read the title of this article and laugh, thinking this is just another stunt by Haye and that he really isn’t coming back. Others will immediately just say “toe” and mock the Hayemaker for his shortcomings in the biggest fight of his career.
Yes, Haye did blow a shot at glory when he talked up a big game leading up to his fight and virtually did nothing in the ring vs the kingpin of the heavyweight division Wladimir Klitschko in the summer of 2011 and made a pitiful excuse after at the post-fight press conference.
David was a sore loser, yes. But as we have all seen this past year there have been several top class fighters who have used the post-fight press conference after a loss to explain either why they should have won, or give an excuse as to why they didn’t win.
So, Haye doesn’t get a pass but let’s face it, Haye deserves a chance at a comeback in the sport of boxing just as much as any other retired former world champ would. Especially one who is only 35 years of age and was a remarkable fighter to watch in his hay day (yes I meant to do that.)
After rumors surfaced of Haye fighting Tony Bellew in his return, there were questions on what division Haye would fight at: cruiserweight where he was a unified champ or heavyweight where he was a WBA champ. So it appears his choice is where the money is: Heavyweight.
It will be interesting to see how much ring rust Haye will show in his return. His opponent de Mori has 26 knockouts in 30 victories, but has virtually fought nobody of note in his entire career, and it will be difficult to see him causing Haye any trouble.
So assuming Haye gets by de Mori in January (which if he doesn’t then he should probably go back into retirement), where would Haye go next? Ladies and Gentlemen, my top five matchups for David Haye in 2016 after his fight in January.
- Kubrat Pulev (21-1, 11 KOs)
This would be a good and meaningful fight for both men, despite it not being the biggest money fight Haye could make. Pulev just recently defeated George Arias by 8 round unanimous decision in his first fight since being brutally knocked out by Wladimir Klitschko.
Pulev has beaten several notable heavyweight contenders including Tony Thompson and Alexander Ustinov. Also, Pulev had a marvelous amateur career, earning a trip to the Olympics before losing to star Cuban Oscar Rivas.
A win over Pulev would likely bump Haye into the top 10 of at least one sanctioning body thus warranting him an opportunity at a title shot. This fight could come down to which man has more left in the tank at this point in their careers. The best days for both are probably behind them, but this still could be an entertaining, and possibly easy fight for Haye that would look good on his heavyweight résumé.
- Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1, 21 KOs)
Stiverne recently fought for the first time since losing his WBC belt and it was a struggle. Known journeyman Deric Rossy knocked him down in the first round, and Stiverne squeaked away with a unanimous decision vixtory by scores of 96-93 X2, and 95-54.
Stiverne absolutely showed ring rust in his return, but will have a chance to show that he is still a contender, as he is scheduled to fight on January 16th on the undercard of Wilders third title defense. This makes a Stiverne-Haye matchup that much easier to create for some time in mid-2016.
This would be an exciting matchup between two power punchers who have a combined knockout percentage of around 80%. Stiverne is with Don King Productions, meaning that any fight that sounds wild enough can happen.
- Tyson Fury (24-0, 18 KOs)
The two were supposed to meet on a couple of different occasions over the past few years. However, Haye pulled out twice from a fight with Fury because of his shoulder, and the British mega fight never happened.
We don’t know what happens to Fury this Saturday in Dusseldorf, but win or losed, he would most likely take the fight with Haye no matter what he says, especially if Haye is active and calls him out.
Fury would have the huge size advantage over Haye, but it would be intriguing to see if Haye can use his movement around the ring and sharp punching to frustrate the young Fury, who has been known to have a questionable chin.
This is a fight that would sell huge in the UK and could probably fill a football stadium full of people, so financially this fight may make the most sense. You can argue that Fury and Haye are the two best British Heavyweights in the past five years, therefore this fight would be must-see.
- Deontay Wilder (35-0, 34 KOs)
Every boxing fan has seen the sparring footage of David Haye getting the better of Deontay Wilder a couple years back. The footage is less than a minute however, and really does not show who really got the best of whom in the full session.
But sparring sessions are sparring sessions, and a Wilder vs Haye fight would be massive in the UK or the U.S. Wilder is the current WBC Heavyweight champ, and is set to fight on the same day as Haye: January 16th.
Wilder still has to fight Alexander Povetkin, a fight that will be his toughest challenge if he faces the former Russian Olympian. If Wilder were to beat Povetkin in the summer of 2016, a matchup between him and Haye would be an entertaining battle between two power punchers who both can be susceptible to a big punch landing flesh on their china.
- Anthony Joshua (14-0, 14 KOs)
Haye-Joshua, Wembley Stadium, Summer of 2016, you can mark it down in my book. Haye has expressed interest in fighting the young up and coming heavyweight who is believed to be a part of the line of great British heavyweights such as Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis.
Joshua looks as if he’s the goods, but has not faced an opponent who has hit him square in the chin yet and has challenged him: Haye would do just that. Joshua is slated to face Dillian Whyte on December 12th and will most likely fight for the European belt sometime early next year.
This fight could most likely be made into a final eliminator: meaning the winner of the fight would be mandatory for a title shot. Joshua despite being a prodigy, is still extremely green, having never gone past three rounds and could possibly have stamina issues that we have not seen yet, issues that Haye can possibly exploit.
Haye has several options, but it’s all contingent on if he still has the ability to cause problems with his rare but special combination of speed and pure power that he possessed in his prime. Only time will tell if David Haye still has the ability to win another title, and once again become “The Hayemaker.”