David Haye captured the WBA Heavyweight Title… Now what?
In beating WBA titlest Nikolai Valuev, David Haye breathed some much-needed life back into the heavyweight division and became the darling of the British sports pages. With so much attention focused on the London native, the natural question is “what next?”
Haye’s boasting to the contrary, he will not be squaring off with either of the Klitschko brothers in the near future. On the same night that Haye out-boxed Valuev, former WBA titlest John “The Quiet Man” Ruiz knocked out journeyman Adnan Serin. Ruiz is the #1 contender and mandatory challenger for the WBA strap, and according to the terms of his agreement to step aside and allow Haye vs. Valuev to go forward, he was guaranteed a shot at the title by May 2010. BBC is reporting that Haye wants to hold his next fight at a major London venue, so Haye vs. Ruiz could happen before a roaring hometown crowd as early as February 2010.
Although he weighed in for his fight with Serin at a trim 227 lbs., John Ruiz is now 37 years old. He was never much of a world-beater in the first place, and his career has been built around the left-right-clutch-hold style of heavyweight boxing. While it is true that this boring style ages very well, it still doesn’t look promising for a match-up with Haye. Haye is much faster, and his hitting power will score better against a small heavyweight like Ruiz than it did against the Russian behemoth. Ruiz could make that a very ugly night if he comes to survive rather than to win, but either way it is hard to see Haye losing.
After Ruiz, surely Haye will challenge one of the Klitschko’s? Don’t bet on it. A Haye vs. Klitschko fight would be a big moneymaker, but no one should forget that Haye backed out of fights with first Wladimir and then Vitali earlier this year. Both Klitschko’s are furious with Haye’s business tactics and his trash talking. That will only strengthen their resolve to get the lion’s share of the purse for any fight with Haye, and it is unlikely that Haye will settle for anything less than 50-50. Furthermore, Haye knows that beating a Klitschko is a much bigger challenge than the plodding Valuev. He may seek to bide his time and hope that one of the brothers will start showing their age before moving in on them. Odds are very good that either the Ukrainians or the Hayemaker will cause negotiations to break down, in which case David Haye will be looking for a dance partner for late summer or early autumn 2010.
Richard Thomas has been in and out of boxing gyms in Kentucky, Washington, D.C. and Thailand for more than 20 years. His boxing writing can be found at eHow (ehow.com/boxing) and Associated Content (associatedcontent.com/user/122507/rich_thomas.html)