Boxing manager, Johnny Greaves provided his view on The Hayemaker’s potential list of future opponents following his explosive return to the heavyweight division against Mark de Mori, earlier this year. The former professional boxer, who had exactly 100 contests in his career, supplied his expert analysis on the heavyweight landscape available for Haye to tread right now.
I was in the corner for David Haye and just a couple of foot away from that right hand that he landed to floor de Mori and I can tell you he’s not lost any of his power and still got the speed that he’s known for.
I thought in the first round that he would get his range and just poke out the jab but de Mori was just a lamb to the slaughter!
Luther star, Idris Elba and Sherlock Holmes actor, Benedict Cumberbatch were sat ringside at the glitzy occasion along the Greenwich Peninsula.
The viewing figures and the turnout was great but most of the fans were more like celebrities than boxing heads.
I don’t think it was pure boxing fans in there and how they sold all of them tickets, I’ll never know!
With David Haye’s next outing now confirmed for Saturday 21st May, promoted by Hayemaker Boxing in association with Salter Brothers Entertainment, in his ongoing bid for the World heavyweight championship, here’s my perception on possible opponents open to him next and later on in the year:
Malik Scott (38-2-1)
I’m sure that the Philadelphian ticks a lot of boxes for Haye. He is an experienced heavyweight who would be an excellent stepping stone towards a world title fight and, most importantly, the tattooed American seems keen to take on the Hayemaker.
Scott has already called out Haye on social media, I believe. Many fighters use this option to coerce their rivals into a fight nowadays. Mark de Mori did the same thing which led him to his biggest payday, worldwide exposure, and a massive headache the day after!
Scott’s got a great record but his defeat at the hands of Wilder in March 2014 inside a round, devalues his credibility somewhat. That may sound over-critical but his other loss to Chisora also has the same negative effect.
Many would look at that history and see Haye taking on an opponent that has previously lost to Chisora, who Haye famously beat in their highly-controversial meeting in July 2012, which was heavily frowned upon by the BBBofC.
That was Scott’s first loss and I remember it being premature and debatable. From my perspective, he was good to carry on, wasn’t wobbling, seemed clear-headed, and got up in time.
It’s difficult to get right and some referees do get stick for letting the fight go on for too long, but then some are all too ready to stop the fight too early. There were many moments in the Gatti v Ward fight that could have been ended but instead you got treated to arguably the greatest fight in the history of boxing.
A light hitter judging by his 32 per cent career knockout rate, the 35-year-old was last seen beating compatriot Tony Thompson on points in October 2015.
Dillian Whyte (16-1)
To be blunt, David Haye knocks him out in not too long a time if they ever meet. He hasn’t got the movement or skills to keep Haye off him.
Although he didn’t get a win against Joshua, he did show himself to the public to be a capable heavyweight who has a long-term future in the division. At what level that will be remains to be scene but I can’t see him lifting world titles, if I’m honest.
The Body Snatcher had his rival wobbled in the second round of their bout at the O2 Arena last December but he failed to capatalise on the success. He also showed durability to make it to the seventh round, taking the former Olympic gold medalist further than ever before – no other opponent had managed to push the big man beyond the third previously.
A fight against Whyte would see Haye analysed on his performance against a former Joshua victim and he would take the fight as a challenge to do a better job than the Olympic gold medalist did. Viewers would also be looking at the fight with same thoughts, if Haye do better and finish earlier?
Although it would mean facing a foe without the experience at world level, where Haye is planning to get to sooner rather than later, which wouldn’t do a lot for his positioning in the world rankings.
However, he is an astute businessman who would likely view this fight as a big-seller and another chance to impress and make headlines around the world.
Shannon Briggs (59-6-1)
A trash-talking extrovert who loves the camera and craves the public’s attention!
A match-up between these two will provide plenty of entertainment pre-fight, at least. I’m sure he’ll match Haye for words if nothing else! It’d be a win for the media anyway!
The Brooklyn Cannon has had his best days already, famously knocking George Foreman into retirement for the final time in 1997 and becoming only the fifth person to ever defeat the heavyweight legend in 81 fights.
However, since his previous loss to Vitali Klitschko, he has put together eight wins on the spin, all but one of those results coming by way of knockout in the first two rounds.
Haye wins this hands down in my opinion but could still be an interesting watch against a former world champion who hasn’t been stopped since Lennox Lewis knocked him out in the fifth round of their WBC World heavyweight fight in 1998.
It would provide Haye with some rounds and would capture the attention of the media in the build-up, with Haye’s loose tongue and the Cannon’s crazy capers like when he knocked Wlad off of his paddle board in Florida and his ‘Let’s go champ’ chants.
Bermane Stiverne (25-2-1)
This pair share one common goal in that they both yearn to be a world champion again.
The Haiti-born heavyweight, who is now based in Las Vegas, claimed the vacant WBC belt in 2014 after beating Chris Arreola by TKO midway through the championship fight.
However, he failed to hold onto the strap for long, losing in his first defence by the widest of margins to Deontay Wilder in January 2015.
Although he displayed durability and grit in their meeting, he also highlighted the lack of real talent in the heavyweight division at the time. He looked like a poor world champion to me but, fortunately, since then we have had an explosion of excellent heavyweight fighters burst onto the scene.
The 37-year-old has a career knockout ratio of 75 per cent and is presently ranked in the top 10 by The Ring magazine.
If Haye went up against Stiverne, who had to climb off the canvas to record a points win over Derric Rossy last November, it would give him the chance to do a number on an opponent Wilder couldn’t get rid of early.
It seems that B.WARE has no fights booked in yet for 2016, so a date in March or April against Haye would give both men a chance to further their claims for a world title shot later in the year.
I think he could be the right opponent for Haye to tackle next.
Andrey Fedosov (29-3)
The Russian is the current holder of the WBO International heavyweight title after winning ESPN’s Boxcino heavyweight division tournament.
As such, the Hollywood resident is hot property in the States at present and would provide any opponent a step up in the WBO table if successful.
The 29-year-old’s team have said they would be open to the fight if the offer was presented.
His last loss was to the above-mentioned Bryant Jennings in 2013.
Tyson Fury (25-0) WBA Super, WBO, IBO, The Ring Magazine World heavyweight champion
The Hayemaker was twice forced to pull out of big-money fights against The Gypsy King with injury; firstly, with a last-minute cut and, secondly, with a career-threatening shoulder injury.
There would be huge demand to see these two finally exchange blows and, because of the fall-out from the axed shows, there’s genuine needle there.
Because of the history, the loud-mouthed Mancunian vows to never give the cocky South Londoner an opportunity again.
Right now I’d edge towards Fury winning this due to the inactivity of Haye. That said, if the current World champ decides to hold his ground against him then he could get caught and he has hit the deck before to lesser fighters than Haye.
Deontay Wilder (34-0) WBC World heavyweight champion
The heavy-hitting WBC heavyweight champion is the other World champ that has the attention of the world right now.
Stories and video footage of wars in sparring only add to the appeal of this contest which would almost certainly be short, high-paced and brutal.
Sill not convinced by The Bronze Bomber myself; he’s speedy, athletic and powerful but just think he’s waiting to be tagged clean by a decent fighter. He’s very tall but if Haye catches him just the once then it’s end of!
I’ve seen the sparring footage of the two together and Haye looks to be getting the better of him but I’ve actually heard rumours that Wilder knocked him out! Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know but it has been mooted by reliable sources.
My money would be on Haye to win this one.
Ruslan Chagaev (34-2-1) WBA World heavyweight champion
The White Mike Tyson would be an ideal opponent for Haye.
He won the vacant WBA World heavyweight strap by seeing off the aforementioned Oquendo in July 2014. He has since defended it against Italian Francesca Pianeta, who holds victories over Frans Botha, Oliver McCall and Matt Skelton, and his next challenger is the unbeaten Lucas Browne.
I’m confident he retains his WBA title and that Haye could be the one to take it from him which would be a double-win as it could earn him a mandatory shot at Tyson Fury.
Charles Martin (23-0-1) IBF World heavyweight champion
I’ve not really seen much of him, as, like most others, I only heard about him when he managed to get a world title shot.
So, it’s hard for me to comment too much but all I would say is that it was a bit of a poor way to win a world title and the IBF have lost a lot or credibility for that, coupled with their decision to strip Fury in the first place.
These governing bodies need to work together more because that was impossible for Fury to do anything in his power to retain that belt. Yes, he’s still got the WBA, WBO and IBO titles but the fashion in which he won them against the odds in the champion’s back yard means that he deserves to keep them all.
However, Martin does not represent a credible world champion in my eyes and this would be an easy win for Haye.
Anthony Joshua (17-0)
Olympic gold medalist, Joshua has looked red-hot when feasting on journeymen and fringe contenders, which has built-up a crazy amount of hype for him, but is now evidently ready to move up a level after destroying bitter rival, Dillian Whyte in the seventh round of their December dust-up.
A fight against Haye would certainly be the 26-year-old’s biggest test yet and could easily fill a football stadium in London, where the pair both operate.
I can’t see it happening this year, in the last time out for AJ against Whyte, he did show a distinct lack of movement and a few flaws in his game. He got caught flush in round two and was forced back on occasions but he did answer the question that everyone has been asking – can he take a punch!
I’m sure his team picked up on a lot of things to work on and he definitely needs a couple of more good fights against opponents like Dillian.
There was a talk of a summer showdown and we all believe that Haye has only really returned to fight AJ but it’s too soon for the Olympian. He needs to work on those deficiencies before tackling former world champs.
Luis Ortiz (24-0)
The Cuban is unbeaten in six years as a pro but has a couple of No Contest decisions on his record due to a failed drugs test and an opponent falling out of the ring during a bout.
The current holder of the interim WBA World title, this is the exact sort of opponent that Haye should be opposing this year in order to make the waves that he wishes to make.
Haye has more experience at the world level that Ortiz, and despite a good win over Bryant Jennings, I think Haye’s knowledge and capability at the highest level wins the fight for him here, plus he does not boast an impressive roster like Haye does.
Joseph Parker (18-0)
The New Zealander has hit the headlines lately calling out Joshua, but then who isn’t at the moment?!
The 24-year-old residing in Las Vegas has a high ranking with the WBO and does have a few decent scalps on his ledger despite still being inexperienced.
That said, he has not reached the heights of taking on the likes of Haye yet.
Lucas Browne (23-0)
Big Daddy challenges for Chagaev’s WBA strap in March, so it’s unlikely he’ll be ready for Haye’s May Day.
He would provide Haye as a good opponent even though I think he’s not on his level but as a world title challenger, he would provide a boost up the WBA rankings for Haye making him a possible future foe for the Bermondsey boy.
Wladimir Klitschko (64-4)
Haye lost to the Ukrainian great in July 2011, famously blaming the defeat on his broken toe. The Londoner’s credibility took a battering on the back of the performance, result and subsequent excuse, so what better way to win over public affections than setting the record straight against the former victor.
Now could be the opportune time to tackle the ageing athlete after being dethroned for the first time in 11 years by Tyson Fury late last year.
Obviously, the next opponent has already been made with the rematch against Fury imminent, who has got his number now so will know exactly what to do to win again, probably even more convincingly than before.
He’ll land shots freely then get on his bike or spoil Klitschko’s work with his awkward style. The Ukrainian will surely be more intelligent next time round and will definitely have to throw caution to the win and let the hands go more, but the self-assured Fury takes this again for me.
He’s going to be a different fighter after suffering that loss and if he hasn’t improved since the last fight then Haye could win a fight with him by KO, in my eyes.
Alexander Povetkin (30-1)
The Russian is widely considered to be one of the best heavyweights on the planet and Haye would win a lot of kudos by taking on the 36-year-old.
I confess that I’ve not seen too much of him but he’s certainly another powerful fighter, and would provide a stern test for anyone. I know he took Klitschko the distance in his only career loss to date.
Victory would reinforce Haye’s credentials as one of the best in the world and give him huge negotiating power ahead of future contests. Plus, I believe that he’s got the WBC Silver heavyweight belt so a win against the Russian would set Haye up with a shot at Wilder’s WBC strap.
Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs)
The Puerto Rican and Haye share some common ground, considering both have seen their careers threatened by shoulder injuries.
Oquendo had been due to meet Chagaev in a rematch last year, only to suffer an injury at his Chicago training camp ahead of the clash in Kiel, Germany.
The Big O lost the first meeting with Chagaev on points, meaning he missed out on claiming the vacant interim WBA title up for grabs.
There was a rematch clause fixed into the contract, but with Oquendo out of action, the Russian is now scheduled to face the Australian Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne on March 5th.
Oquendo has been in this game for a very long time since 1997 sharing the ring with the likes of Evander Holyfield, John Ruiz and Oliver McCall.
A win for Haye and the right level of opponent to help him on his way forward.
Kubrat Pulev (22-1)
Another big, strong Eastern European fighter; they all seem to be cut from the same cloth, tough as nails and possesses a tight guard.
For anyone to go in the ring with a lad like him and have a bad night, they could very well come unstuck.
The Bulgarian’s only loss came in the form of a brutal fifth round knockout at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko in 2014.
Kubrat the Cobra would likely give Haye a few problems and possibly quite a few rounds but a victory for Haye would always be the most likely ending, probably inside the schedule.
A win would bump Haye right up the IBF rankings.
Eddie Chambers (42-4)
Another product of Pittsburgh like Malik Scott, Chambers has been working with the Fury’s which would add a bit of spice in a match-up with the Hayemaker.
After losing four fights between 2008 – 2013 and seemingly lost in his way, he has since come back strongly and reeled off six straight wins, mostly in the UK.
He’s a slick operator but no match for Haye, and a fight with him would only provide entertainment value and no real progression in Haye’s bid to rule the world again.
Bryant Jennings (19-2)
By-By’s last two encounters were held at the highest possible level so he could be a good name to add to Haye’s ledger, especially with his recent activity within the WBA scene.
He has just suffered his first stoppage at the hands of the unbeaten Luis Ortiz in December, losing out on the interim WBA World heavyweight title, and also took Wlad the distance last year.
He is still only 31-years-old and fresh. The last two outings elevated his name and stature, so would provide Haye with a very credible name if they were to meet.
Manuel Charr (28-4)
Having lost three of his last five fights, Charr shouldn’t provide much risk for Haye but that also comes with less attraction for the paying fans.
He could provide Haye with another stern test and an elevation in the WBC standings with an inevitable victory.
Tickets for Haye Day go on pre-sale to O2 Priority customers at 9am on Wednesday 27th January and will be on general sale through AXS.com from 9am on Friday 29 January.
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