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Michael Taylor 6th Nov 2009 - 16:44

For heavyweight’s sake Haye needs to win

It has been an embarrassing decade for heavyweight boxing in terms of great talent but, if David Haye lands a knockout blow on Nicolay Valuev this weekend, there could finally be light at the end of the tunnel.

The Hayemaker travels to Nuremberg in Germany looking to land the WBA Heavyweight title at his first attempt but, for spectators and boxing itself, there is far more resting on his performance than titles.

He needs to produce big, a performance that sends shudders through boxing's top weight division, something that could finally signal an end to the Russian Revolution that has dominated since the turn of the century.

He needs to show this generation has finally produced a slick, power puncher that can end a fight within seconds, and he needs to do it against one of the lumbering Russian's who have brought the division to its knees.

For far too long now we have seen the likes of Valuev, the Klitschko brothers and Sultan Ibramigov defending world titles against battle weary, slow battlers who are simply too immobile to cause genuine problems.

It says a lot when all the pre-fight analysis is purely about how Valuev's monstrous height is Haye's biggest challenge, not the fact the giant can outbox him.

This is not to say I disagree entirely with the David vs. Goliath hype.

Haye is giving away seven stones and eleven inches, enough to get even the most ardent Haye backer worried but in terms of boxing ability Valuev is giving away far more than that.

The Russian was quite simply appalling in his last bout against Evander Holyfield and unless he ups his game ten-fold then there is absolutely no way that Haye won't land shot after shot.

Don't let Britain's 8/13 favourite's ability to knock opponents out fool you either - he is an extremely smart fighter.

He'll bide his time, wait for openings and not force things in the early rounds, although his pace is likely to see him get inside without much trouble.

From how he looked in the weigh in, when he tipped the scales at 15st 8lb, he's trained and built to last the distance, plus some, if required; not that I think he'll need to be.

Valuev may have survived 52 bouts without being stopped but he hasn't been near anyone who can deliver a big right with Haye's force.

Such is my confidence in Britain's biggest hope that I'd be looking towards a mid-bout stoppage, taking the 25/1 about a Haye win coming in either the seventh, eighth or ninth rounds (all priced 25/1 individually).

My only real concern for the Hayemaker is not that Valuev lands one of his clubs and sends the favourite tumbling, rather Haye being able to take a points decision in a country that notoriously throws out some bizarre and controversial decisions.

He's sure to be aware that nothing is guaranteed if it goes to the cards though, and, for me, it adds that little bit extra value to a victory coming within the limit.



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