Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 25th
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david-haye-boxerMany a fighter is appreciated more post-career than during.  Pernell Whittaker put together a streak of 6 titles in 4 weight classes, while scarcely being tagged with a clean punch.  It was not until he began to slip that he was viewed, correctly so, as one of the top 5 lightweights, and top 5 defensive wizards of all time.  Certainly the Klitschko dominance will be viewed with more respect once they both retire.  Oscar de la Hoya has spent so much time as a celebrity, that only now are people beginning to remember he was one of the most accomplished (and for a spell) dominant fighters in history.
I am not comparing David Haye to any of these men in overall skill, but he does seem to have the Ali factor in that way... he talks such a great game, we often forget he can fight.  Overcoming a weak chin and inadequate stamina to win multiple titles is no small feat.  Those two things are responsible for the diminishing of many a career: Andrew Golota, Frank Bruno, Junior Jones... with their offensive brilliance, who is to say what they could have become if they could last and take a punch?
Only Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye stand as modern examples of overcoming these obstacles to potential hall of fame careers.  Haye ran out of gas in his loss to Carl Thompson, and has never had stamina be a problem again.  He had a "chinny" reputation as early as the amateurs, yet since his move up to heavyweight, has been able to avoid getting caught with too many big bombs.  Because his retire and un retire act gets old.... because he talks his way into fights he may not have earned... it takes away from his true accomplishments.
David Haye was the linear and multi-belt cruiserweight champion.  He left that division as champion, and king of the hill.  Only Evander Holyfield before him had done that.  Many a fighter left cruiser to campaign at heavyweight while still champ, but they had only one belt at the time.  Haye was "the" champ.  He also toppled the then-still vital giant in Nicolai Valuev, retired John Ruiz, and went all 12 rounds with Wladimir Klitschko, even managing to win a few.  Because he had talked so much about knocking out his opponent, only to fight safety-first, it seemed like such a pathetic showing, yet it was one of the best against big Wlad in quite a while.
He then followed all of this by coming off a layoff to knock out the seemingly iron-chinned Dereck Chisora..  a man supposedly big punchers like Fury, Helenius, and V Klitschko could not hurt, let alone stop.  Even if Haye gets wiped out by V Klitschko when they meet (which they likely will, and he likely will), we should still respect Haye's resume, his fighting skills, his marketing ability, and his impressive nature to overcome obstacles.  I, for one, will not be counting him out just yet.
Chris Strait

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