Nikolay Valuev vs. David Haye has been tagged as “David vs. Goliath”. Makes sense. One guy is named David and the other guy stands 7 feet tall and is the tallest champion in boxing history. This is just one of a couple gimmicks that make this fight worth seeing. It may also serve to add some much needed intrigue into the much maligned heavyweight division.
Valuev vs. Haye Preview & Hype:
Nicolay Valuev (50-1) is a sight to see. The man towers over his opposition. At 7 feet tall, not even the Klitschko’s can look at him eye to eye. There is always hype surrounding this man’s fights but not because he’s an exceptionally great fighter, because of his giant stature. The fact that Valuev also owns the only legitimate title belt not owned by a Klitschko doesn’t hurt either.
The challenger, David Haye (22-1) is also a sight to see but for a completely different reason. He’s an exciting fighter inside the ring but most notably he has one of, if not the loudest mouth in the entire sport. The man is never at a loss for words and the words he chooses are always colorful and many times cause controversy. Haye has already thrown the insults “ugly”, “hairy” and “disgusting” Valuev’s way and that’s just to name a couple. While Haye has his fans this also turns many people off to him. Either way, everyone wants to see him fight because of it.
This will be Haye’s first title shot at Heavyweight after being a Cruiserweight Champion. Cruiserweights fight at a maximum of 200 pounds; Valuev clocks in at 300+ lbs… just a fun tidbit.
Let’s break down the key factors in the Valuev vs. Haye fight and see who has the advantage in each.
Both guys have very impressive records and both guys have done it against limited competition. David Haye can claim victories over Giacobbe Fragomeni, Jean Marc Mormeck and Enzo Maccarinelli at cruiserweight. David Haye also beat former contender turned punching bag Monte Barrett in Haye’s only bout as a heavyweight leading up to the Valuev fight.
Valuev boasts victories over John Ruiz (X2) and Evander Holyfield. While Holyfield is a big name, Evander is in his 40’s and anyone who watched that fight knows that Holyfield was the victim of some biased judging; Valuev should have lost that fight. While Haye may have the better competition on his resume, his also came at a division other than Heavyweight. Neither guy is setting the world on fire here.
What are the chances that a man who is almost a foot shorter and almost 100 pounds lighter than his opponent actually has the power advantage? Well, in this case, it happens to be true. Haye has 21KO’s in his 22 wins and is known for his knockout punch. Valuev on the other hand is not a power puncher despite his size. He is more comfortable working his jab, controlling tempo and keeping his opponent at a distance,. It sounds crazy. I had to see it for myself to believe it.
What are the chances that a man who is almost a foot shorter and almost 100 pounds lighter than his opponent isn’t the faster fighter? No chance. While Valuev actually has quicker hands than you would think, that’s not saying much. Haye has all the speed in this matchup. In my opinion speed is the key to the fight for Haye. He has a tremendous size disadvantage so the only way he’s going to get inside and score is to use his quickness and his above average footwork.
I’m not sold on either guy’s toughness. One guy is a giant who fights like a lightweight and the other has been on the canvas more than once, against competition that should not have put him there. These two fighters, for all their differences, also have something in common. They’ve both been ducking the Klitschko’s. Both have claimed to want a fight with them but for some reason neither has been able to actually step it in the ring with one.
Valuev has never seemingly even been close despite saying numerous times that he wants to and Haye recently pulled out of his fight with Wlad citing an injury, after a tremendous amount of trash talk had already taken place. He then backed off a fight with big brother Vitali to make this bout instead. Maybe after this fight we’ll know which guy is tougher.
Valuev vs. Haye Prediction:
Haye comes into this fight as a solid betting favorite and I’m going to roll with Vegas on this one. I thought Valuev lost convincingly to a shot Evander Holyfield in his last time out which tells you a lot about where Valuev stands. As far as I’m concerned Valuev is a paper champion and it’s just a matter of time before he loses his belt and fades off into the sunset. This will be the fight where that happens.
While I still think Haye would get crushed by either Klitschko, Valuev is not a Klitschko despite the size similarities. Not even close. Valuev will not be able to keep Haye off of him with his mediocre jab. Haye will spend the entire fight using his speed to get inside and rip combinations to the body and head of Valuev. Haye will either win a convincing decision or if Valuev gets careless, a late round KO is possible as well for The HayeMaker.