What an extraordinary night in Nuremberg. Not least because Great Britain finally have a worthy heavyweight champion of the world again, but because of the manner of the victory against all the odds. Who actually gave David Haye a chance against the 7 foot monster that was Nikolai Valuev? Certainly not eccentric promoter Don King, who stated Valuev would definitely “knock Haye out”.
The fight was billed as ‘David versus Goliath’ and most felt that there was no way David could slay Goliath on this occasion. Cynics all said the South Londoner gave away too much in height and reach, and that Valuev was simply immovable.
Haye proved them all wrong with a classy and measured display of hit and move, not allowing the cumbersome Valuev to trouble him throughout the fight. Haye said before the fight that his speed and power would be too much for the giant Russian, and so it proved.
The Londoner’s athleticsm was too much for the Russian, who was made to look as slow and technically limited as his critics have labelled him.
The split points decision win was simply remarkable given that Haye fought most of the fight with a broken right hand, which his trainer Adam Booth said was sustained in the third round from punching Valuev.
“His head is solid, the hardest thing I’ve ever hit,” said Haye. “It’s like hitting a solid brick wall.”
British boxing fans should rejoice at their first heavyweight champion, yet all eyes will now be on a mouth watering clash with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko which is now surely guaranteed, given Haye comes through a mandatory defence of his new title against challenger John Ruiz as expected.
The Hayemaker has all the weapons to hurt the Ukrainian. No one gave him a chance against ‘the beast from the east’ Valuev, but come next year, we could once again be looking at the first British undisputed heavyweight champion of the world since Lennox Lewis.