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Is David Haye vs. Ruslan Chagaev Next?

Chagaev Dominated Kali Meehan in Return Bout; Now Haye’s Mandatory Challenger

In a fight that was overshadowed by the glorious drama of Marquez vs. Vasquez IV, Ruslan “The White Tyson” Chagaev began his comeback from the whipping he received at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko by cleanly outpointing Australia’s Kali Meehan. The Rostock, Germany bout was a WBA title shot eliminator, so Chagaev now stands as the WBA’s #1 contender to David Haye’s crown.

I hope David Haye takes his new #1 contender on early this year, as the bout would be further seasoning for his still-thin heavyweight credentials. A fast, 6’1″, 230 lbs. southpaw with an aggressive style, Chagaev has a well-rounded amateur background and is good enough to own good wins over both of Haye’s best heavyweight dancing partners, Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz. Unlike Valuev, Chagaev is not a plodding, slow sideshow freak. Unlike John Ruiz, the 28 year old Chagaev is not over the hill. The fight would be that thing the heavyweight division desperately needs: an exciting contest of two guys who like coming forward with their speedy hands and good power.

In that contest, I like the Briton’s odds. I think all the talk about Haye being “chinny” is over-done. Haye was in his 11th professional fight when Carl Thompson knocked him out, and that was six years ago. He has been down only once since, against Jean-Marc Mormeck. No, Haye’s jaw is not made of granite, but nor is it made of glass. One thing is certain, however. Despite all the “White Tyson” talk, Chagaev is not really that much of a puncher. His last knockout victory was over journeyman Michael Sprott, and Chagaev has never so much as dented the chin of a top heavyweight. If Chagaev comes to Haye, Haye will find it easy to land his right hand “Hayemaker” and win an impressive victory over a real contender in his prime.