What are David Haye’s Chances tonight?

I have spent the latter end of the week weighing up what chance David Haye has of beating Wladimir Klitschko tonight and have found it is a bit of a head versus the heart situation.

My heart is telling me David Haye, but my head is saying look at the difference in size, reach, experience, etc, etc, and taking all this into account, how can any sane minded person consider backing Haye?

But I really do believe Haye has a chance, I think that all Haye’s thrash talk this week has been designed to draw Klitschko out of his comfort zone and into having a real tear up.

Haye – and I think this too – must believe that if Klitschko ‘hides’ behind his jab all night, that there will only be one winner. Haye will have his work cut out to win on points, I also believe that he will struggle late on if he has the Klitschko jab wearing him down all fight – and that’s why he has been trying to provoke Klitschko all week.

A well connected boxing coach in Coventry claims to have had word from the Haye camp that all his training is geared towards a 4th round stoppage. I know the source and he is a reliable chap, but common sense tells me that the Haye camp aren’t going to be revealing all their detailed plans to any old Tom, Dick or Harry – which is why I’m not as confident as a lot of my mates are, who have backed Haye to win in the 4th.

Some of thrash talk hasn’t been nice from Haye and I can understand why some of the public seemed to have turned on him, but I’m still supporting him.

For the reason I’ve given above about Haye wanting a tear up, I’m going to go for a bet on both men to win in rounds 4-6 in a ‘Grouped Round’ bet (both men are available at around 8/1 on Betfair ). I think that Haye will try and force the issue and go for it early on, meaning an early end to the fight one way or another.
A reason for not going for a finish in Rounds 1-3 is because I think Haye will have a look for a couple of rounds first, before going for it. He did a similar thing in the Audley Harrison ‘fight,’ where people seem to forget, Haye also didn’t throw many punches during the first two rounds.
And as I don’t want to end up feeling like the man who left the lottery syndicate the week before the big win, I think I will have a silly couple of quid on Haye to win in the 4th round.

A sad day for sport

It was poignant that ‘Whispering’ Ted Lowe should pass away just a few hours before the start of the 2011 snooker World Championship final. If that were not bad enough, only a matter of hours later Sir Henry Cooper also passed away.

I grew up listening to Ted Lowe and his voice was unmistakable, he is up there with the all time broadcasting greats for me, Sir Peter O’Sullevan, Bill McLaren, Harry Carpenter, Dan Maskell, Kenneth Wolstenholme and Richie Benaud.

Sir Henry Cooper was another legend of sport, the only boxer to ever be knighted and apparently the perfect gent. Cooper’s most famous boxing moment came in defeat to – the then called – Cassius Clay in 1963, but this is somewhat a misrepresentation of Cooper’s successful boxing career.

According to boxing writer Colin Hart, Cooper is supposed to have lost the will to live having lost both his wife and twin brother over the last couple of years.

Lowe was 90 and Cooper 76, rest in peace.

RIP Gary Mason

I was shocked and saddened to hear the news yesterday that former boxer Gary Mason had died in a cycling accident on Thursday.

I always remember Mason as a brawler with a neck wider than his head, he was an ox of a man. He was unlucky in the fact that he lived in the shadow of both Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis, with Bruno’s popular personality and the up and coming Lewis’ undoubted talent continually getting more of the British public’s attention.

Reading all the obituaries this morning, I get the impression that Mason’s personality probably prevented him achieving more in the ring. That was also an impression I picked up from tributes paid to him on the radio yesterday by Colin Hart of The Sun and Bunbury founder David English.

All point to the fact that Mason was a bit of a character, a bit of a jovial jolly chap who didn’t take himself, or life in general, that seriously. I get the impression he was happier having a good time than really putting in the graft to be the best.

That’s not meant as criticism, it takes a certain type of serious single minded individual to show the type of dedication needed to make it too the top. It would appear that Mason just wasn’t that type of person.

The story of him getting fired from being a hospital security guard for flirting too much with the ladies seems to sum him up for me, it sounds like a typical example of Mason not taking things too seriously and just enjoying himself.

In the ring he had a massive heart, he would fight to the bitter end. He was as hard as nails and had a chin most boxers would swap their mothers for.

I have never forgot the sight of him fighting Lennox Lewis with just one eye open, it showed guts beyond belief. That was his only defeat and was no disgrace, and was as much down to the fact that Lewis ruthlessly exposed the eye problem that would eventually end his career.

He had a 37-1 record with 34 knockouts and was 48 years old.

RIP Gary Mason

Amir Khan proves his class

Yesterday I watched a rerun of Saturdays fight between Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana from Las Vegas and have to say it was as good a fight as I have watched for a long time.

Gradually I have found myself warming more towards Khan after initially not having any interest in him. I know all boxers are a bit gobby, they need to be confident otherwise they shouldn’t get in the ring, but I found Khan to be worse than most.

Khan fought Michael Gomez at Birmingham’s NIA in 2008. An old school mate was on the undercard and a few of us went over to watch him. Such was my dislike of Khan, I left before his fight and crossed the road to the bars of Broad Street preferring to go for a couple of pints rather than watch him fight in another non event.

I thought he talked himself up too much when he was younger, I always got the impression he wasn’t as good as he thought he was and I am happy to admit disliking him over this. Yes, he won an Olympic Silver, a good achievement, but lets not forget our old friend Audley won a Gold.

Khan used to talk the talk but he was only really beating Frank Warren’s hand picked journeymen victims, all throughout this he kept telling the world how great he already was, when he wasn’t, he had fought no one of any real note.

Since his defeat to Breidis Prescott later in 2008, I have to admit I have been really impressed with Khan. He fought the hand picked Oisin Fagan to get himself back to winning ways and since then has stepped up in class and fought and beat some top quality opponents.

All this hard work culminated in Vegas on Saturday, where Khan proved himself a real fighter, an entertainer and to have a massive heart. At times in that fight Khan went places I didn’t think he was capable and showed that he dosen’t have the so called ‘glass chin’.

He did the lot, we all know he can box and move and we all know he can entertain, but I didn’t expect to see him stand and exchange with Maidana in the way he did. Khan took some punishment and hung in there and still came back at his opponent.

Any doubts over Khan’s credentials as a world class performer were banished on Saturday, I now believe him to be the real thing and a true champion.

Audinary, Audrey or Fraudley?

I’ve heard them all today. I’ve also heard Audley called a coward, a fraud, a disgrace to boxing, etc, he has been absolutely caned.

All the jokes have been doing the rounds as well, like ‘What has Audley got in common with Michael Jackson? They both wore gloves for no apparent reason’. And in his new career, he should try boxing as he has never done it before.

He has been slaughtered by the boxing world as well. Frank Warren said he shouldn’t receive all of his share of the purse, as it sends out the wrong message if you let people think they can just turn up and not try, just to get their money.

Frank Maloney put the boot in as well saying “Harrison should be locked up for impersonating a fighter. If the Board let Harrison have his purse it is sending out totally the wrong message.”

Having had a couple of days to digest it all I’m going to buck the trend and stick up for Audley (just a bit). I know he only threw one punch, which is a disgrace, but Haye wasn’t too active himself in those opening 2 rounds.

Those who say Audley only turned up for his money are also wrong, if that was the case then why did he get up after the first knock down?

For all the people moaning about wasting their money on a ticket, or giving Sky 15 quid, they have only got themselves to blame. No one can say that they hadn’t been warned, all you have to do is look at Audley’s track record – it speaks for itself.

So get over it and stop whinging!

Yes, the fight was a total mismatch, a total dog with fleas, but I don’t believe it was a fraud. Harrison was humiliated on Saturday as Haye was simply just too good, and he has to live with that. Thats it though, there was no robbery, no betting sting, it was just one of those things.

David Haye V Audley Harrison

The big fight is nearly upon us and I really hope it lives up to all the hype. All too often in the past, ‘Audinary’ Harrison’s fights have badly failed to live up to expectations.

This time we have certainly had an entertaining build up to the fight, lets just hope the press conferences don’t turn out to be more exciting than the actual fight is.

Audley has previous for talking a good fight and failing to deliver, surely the fact that this is his last chance means we won’t be treated to another one of his hugging contests.

The fight has certainly captured the imagination of the British public, if not the Klitschko brothers, who have branded it the heavyweight championship of London. In fairness Wladimir’s next opponent is Dereck Chisora, so he shouldn’t take the piss out of Haye too much.

Even giving Audinary a 3 stone weigh advantage, I still expect Haye to be victorious. I believe the biggest risk to Haye’s belt is his own ego, but to look at him, he looks like he is taking the fight serious.

I also hope Haye wins (not because I’m anti Harrison, as I’m not) because a defeat will be a massive set back in his quest to take on either of the Klitscho’s. There is plenty of hype about who is ducking who, but ultimately I think all parties want the fight and a Harrison victory would throw a huge spanner in the works.

I wouldn’t put a penny on Harrison, but I also wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if he caused an upset. After a career that promised so much and delivered absolutely nothing, it would be just like him to knock Haye out.

Hatton punishment a joke!

When I wrote on this blog last week that Ricky Hatton should be punished if it was proven that he had taken cocaine, I meant a proper punishment, not the pathetic crap one that the British Boxing Board of Control have handed out to him.

Having been found guilty of misconduct, Hatton was fined £20,000 and had his boxing licence revoked.

What kind of punishment is taking away his Boxing Licence when he is probably never going to fight again? Even if he is to fight again, it won’t be for some time as he wouldn’t be let near a ring in his current condition, so this whole thing seems futile.

A real punishment would have been to withdraw his promoters licence, that is the only part of the fight game that Hatton is involved in, and therefore the only thing that would really have punished him.

I heard Frank Warren also criticize this decision the other day. Warren rightly pointed out that Hatton didn’t even bother to turn up for his hearing, and yet he was capable of doing both a TV and newspaper interview while in rehab.

I don’t think that is setting a great example by either Hatton or the BBBC. Hatton should have shown up for his hearing. And the BBBC should have shown a zero tolerance to drugs in Boxing and gave him a proper ban.

The excuse that they didn’t withdraw his promoters licence because it would have punished all Hatton Promotion’s employees and all the people associated with the organisation just dosen’t wash. It’s not the BBBC’s job to protect Hatton Promotions and its staff, it’s Ricky Hatton’s, and he is the one who has failed them all.

I’m sure a lesser known name wouldn’t have been treated this leniently.

Tears and Shame for the Hattons

On hearing about the News of the World’s latest sting last Sunday, I have to admit to – at the time – having no sympathy for Ricky Hatton’s alledged drug taking. I don’t like the News of the World and their brand of reporting, but in this instance maybe they have done some good in bringing Hatton’s problems out into the open, as now it has been brought to a head.

A couple of days on, and with more of the facts now emerging it would appear that Ricky Hatton has been suffering from depression and has been drinking heavily. The interview on Sky Sports News tonight with Hatton’s father, Ray, made painful viewing as he partially revealed the extent of Ricky’s drinking and depression.

To see a man like Ray Hatton almost bursting into tears on two or three occasions during the interview shows how much all this has hurt him. According to Ray Hatton, Ricky has become depressed in the wake of his two defeats to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.

There is no shame in losing to either of them as they will probably go down as two of the best fighters of their generation. Maybe Hatton didn’t do himself justice against Pacquiao who destroyed him, but it’s still no disgrace in losing too him.

It’s hard to know if Hatton could have achieved more if he had taken better care of himself between fights, you don’t see too many elite sportsmen let themselves go between events in the way Hatton did between fights.

The way he is alledged to have drank after a fight and before starting to train for his next fight probably wasn’t conducive to a long lasting career, and in hindsight maybe he has had an alcohol problem for a lot longer than he realized.

I don’t condone what Hatton is alledged to have done, and when he has recovered the British Boxing Board of Control should hand him the relevant punishment, for both Hatton the fighter and Hatton the promoter, a ban of some sort I would imagine.

But as we have seen with the sad case of David Bairstow, sportsmen who have nothing to occupy their lives after their careers have ended can slip into depression, and in some cases it can end in tragedy.

So in the bigger picture of things, I hope Ricky Hatton gets the help he needs and beats his depression. Even if he dosen’t fight again, and I hope he dosen’t, he still has a lot to offer to the sport of Boxing.