Haye Ready for Maccarinelli

By Francis Walker
Updated: March 5, 2008

NEW YORK — David Haye is more than just a bright face with a wonderful physique. Haye is an awesome puncher with knockout power in both fists, who happens to be a unified world cruiserweight champion.

On Saturday at O2 Arena in London, England, Haye hopes to add another championship to his collection before he advances to the heavyweight division. Haye (20-1, 19 KOs) will unify the WBC/WBA 200-pound titles against hard-hitting WBO champion, Enzo Maccarinelli (28-1, 21 KOs).

Haye-Maccarinelli promises to be an explosive cruiserweight championship unification encounter that will be broadcast on Showtime here in the United States at 9 pm ET and 2 am in the United Kingdom.

It’s one of those bouts in which two fighters that have outstanding KO power hit much too hard for the fight to last twelve rounds. This fight may boil down to the fighter that can land the first big bomb early in the fight. Haye is the better athlete and perhaps the stronger puncher of the two.

Haye, a former amateur standout in England, has fought professionally since 2002 and has amassed a 95% career-knockout victory percentage. The 27-year-old, 6-foot-3, star is big time in the United Kingdom, as all of his professional bouts have been televised nationally.

However, Haye is not a household name here in the United States which is why a successful campaign on Showtime U.S. television could boost Haye as the next bright heavyweight star.

Haye throws nothing but Haymakers. Every punch is a knockout blow with destructive power. Haye is a well-conditioned and well sculptured athlete, but his biggest weakness could be his questionable chin.

In perhaps the biggest bout of his career in November 2007, Haye survived a fourth-round knockdown to lift the WBC/WBA cruiserweight championships from Jean-Marc Mormeck in the seventh round.

“Everybody in Europe knows I’m the main man,” Haye said. “I beat Jean-Marc Mormeck in his hometown and knocked him out. I’m going to do the same thing in my hometown of South London, in the O2 arena with 20,000 people packed out. I’m going to be bringing some entertainment to boxing.”

Haye’s only loss was a shocking fifth round TKO loss to 40-year-old Carl Thompson in September 2004. Thompson took Haye’s best shots and to his amazement, Haye started losing confidence and stamina. Thompson hit Haye with some pretty big shots. Thompson took advantage of Haye’s inexperience, who was appearing in only his tenth professional contest.

Haye labels Klitschko a coward

Haye, who plans to move up to heavyweight, says “100 percent after this fight. I am a heavyweight who fights at cruiserweight. Naturally, you can come in at whatever weight you want. But I come in at 225, 230. That is my natural weight.”

Haye actually could have the size and power to challenge newly unified IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.“Look at (Wladimir) Klitschko the other night,” Haye said referring to Klitschko’s lackadaisical, but dominant 12-round decision win over Sultan Ibragimov to unify the WBO/IBF heavyweight titles.

“It was an embarrassment to boxing what he did. He should be stripped of his title just for that performance alone. It was a disgrace. And I can’t wait to go up and knock that bum out.”

“I’m going to do to him (Klitschko) what Corrie Sanders did to him with that speed and make him run like a bitch,” Haye said referring to Klitschko’s stunning two-round second round TKO loss to Corrie Sanders in March 2003.

“I’m going to go out there and knock him out,” Haye added. “He’s my No. 1 target at the moment. People regard Klitschko as the No. 1 fighter in the world. So after this fight, that’s what I’m going after. He can try to hide as much as he wants, but I’m going to track him down and take him out.”

Maccarinelli No Easy Task

A heavyweight title fight between an undisputed cruiserweight champion and a unified heavyweight champion featuring Haye and Klitschko would be exciting.

Hayeis strongly considered the man to beat in the cruiserweight division, but Maccarinelli is right there behind him. Maccarinelli is the chief sparring partner to unbeaten WBO/WBA, and WBC super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe, who fights Bernard Hopkins in a 12-round light heavyweight bout in April.

Maccarinelli, 27, Wales, United Kingdom, has not lost a fight since he was KO’d in the fourth round by Lee Swaby in Maccarinelli’s fourth professional bout in May 2000. Maccarinelli has reeled off 25 consecutive victories (19 by knockout). Maccarinelli also has four successful defenses of the WBO championship.

“I’ve followed Maccarinelli’s career, but not as a fan,” Haye said. “He has been a professional in the ring about five years longer than I have. But he’s never fought anybody that’s caught my attention.”

Added Haye: “Every time Maccarinelli has had a fight, it was against a guy that was coming off a few losses. So, to me, he’s never really been a main target until now. He’s such a target because he’s such a big name in the U.K. and people are waiting.”

Haye has incredible power and that could play a significant role early in the contest, but should the bout progress into the later rounds Maccarinelli could actually break Haye down using basic boxing. Maccarinelli, however, has a lot of pride and I think will take a number of risks by attempting to test Haye’s questionable chin.

Notes of Interest

Haye-Macarinelli is one of the most anticipated cruiserweight contest in the division’s history, as both fighters are household names in the United Kingdom.

Evander Holyfield was the first cruiserweight to unify the WBC/WBA and IBF cruiserweight titles in the then 190-pound division.

Holyfield is the only fighter to unify the WBC/WBA and IBF cruiserweight championships and win the undisputed WBC/WBA and IBF heavyweight championships.

No other unified cruiserweight champion since Holyfield has won a heavyweight title.

O’Neil Bell became second cruiserweight champion in history to unify the WBC/WBA and IBF championships by knocking out Mormeck (KO 10) in January 2006.

The undisputed world cruiserweight championship wouldn’t be unified again until O’Neil Bell knocked out Mormeck (KO 10) to become the second fighter in history to unify the WBA/WBC and IBF championships at 200 pounds in January 2006 at Madison Square Garden.