The Heavyweight Division Shifts Once Again
The heavyweight division could be as exciting as it’s been for many years as things stand in 2016 and over the last 7 days, has seen considerable movement yet again.
Last weekend was a dramatic weekend of boxing action in the heavyweight division. From David Haye’s comeback at London’s 02 to Deontay Wilder’s latest defence of his WBC belt and the crowning of a new IBF champion in the US, there was plenty to talk about.
Heavyweight ‘Gypsy King’ Tyson Fury even got in on the action – storming the ring following Wilder’s victory for a slightly awkward confrontation with his American counterpart.
Let’s start closest in the UK with the ‘Hayemaker’. Returning to the ring in front of 16,000 fans and live on TV channel Dave, the former undisputed cruiserweight champ was making his comeback after three years out and re-habilitating his surgically-repaired shoulder.
So what did we learn from Haye’s one-round demolition of Mark de Mori?
Well, first of all, Haye’s explosive power remains a dangerous weapon. The Hayemaker set his feet and threw bombs from the outset. His unbeaten (and unheralded) opponent couldn’t take his power and it’s doubtful many heavyweights could.
(Hat tip to YouTube account PhyzikalGamer for the upload):
Haye was also was noticeably bigger in the ring after weighing in around a stone heavier than his previous average fight weight.
A lot was made of this during Dave’s coverage of the fight with both Haye, new trainer Shane McGuigan, and colour commentator BJ Flores, implying it was a calculated move to insulate the boxer’s body from further injuries while adding to his power.
There was also the suggestion that the added weight will help Haye take a shot better from the bigger heavyweights he may end up competing against.
This may be true, but it has never really been Haye’s style to take shots and I don’t think he has any intention now. Despite his power, Haye is not a brawler; he’s a boxer-fighter and alternates his style between being elusive in defence and destructive on the attack – fighting only when he wants to.
Former trainer Adam Booth had Haye built for speed and if he loses even a little of that it could be a weakness rather than a strength. Haye looked very good on the night, but while his hands looked as fast as ever, he definitely moved around the ring with a little less speed due to his extra bulk.
Only time will tell if this change in physique will pay off or not. One thing is for certain however, if Haye can stay fit (and I really hope he does) then he’s still a major force in the heavyweight division. In my opinion, only the best heavyweights and leading prospects, like Anthony Joshua, would be able to hang with him.
Haye knocks out any heavyweight below that level. Speaking of AJ, Eddie Hearn has quickly moved to pour cold water on a Haye-Joshua showdown (at least for now) claiming his goal is to steer his young heavyweight to a title shot, and not necessarily a fight with the ‘Hayemaker’.
This was to be expected of course.
Haye is far too crafty and experienced for Joshua right now and while it wouldn’t be a foregone conclusion, I’d favour Haye to detonate one of his big bombs on Joshua before the Olympian could get to him.
Haye isn’t getting any younger however and Hearn knows it. The more they delay this potentially inevitable showdown, the more it favours Joshua.
So what of US heavyweight champions, Deontay Wilder, and the newly crowned Charles Martin last weekend? The fights were actually the reverse of how I expected them to unfold – at least in terms of excitement.
Martin-Glazkov was a total bore-fest that ended in a very unsatisfactory manner while Wilder’s defence was the more entertaining although that was mostly due to the champion making extraordinarily hard work of his smaller opponent.
His one-punch knockout to end the fight was admittedly impressive however and a reminder that as wild as Wilder is (no pun intended), he does carry tremendous power.
(Hat tip to Showtime Sports for the upload):
He may be raw, and the jury is still out on whether he can really take a shot himself, but he remains WBC champion and a legitimate threat to any heavyweight out there including Fury, Haye and Joshua.
However, before all those fights can happen, Wilder has to finally face his own danger-man in mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin.
Despite the size and reach disadvantage, the Russian is a real threat to the WBC champion and I would be a very interested spectator if these two faced each other.
Povetkin would be the best fighter Wilder has faced to date and a serious test of how good the ‘Bronze Bomber’ really is.
The jury remains out on new IBF champion Charles Martin meanwhile.
Although he surely would have won without the freak injury to Glazkov, Martin didn’t look great and I would pick most of the top heavyweights and contenders against him on that showing.
And as the perceived ‘weakest’ of the champions, he is going to have a big target on his back from now with the likes of Luiz Ortiz and Joseph Parker (who won in Samoa this week and moved to 18-0) out there.
With Wilder-Povetkin entering into negotiations this week and speculation mounting about the details of the Klitschko-Fury rematch, the bottom line is this: the heavyweight division is back!
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