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Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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# In The Ring
How can Haye come back from Klitschko humiliation?
Following his lethargic and uninspired performance against Wladimir Klitschko last week, have we seen enough of David Haye?

WHERE NOW FOR David Haye? 

After last weekend’s disappointing loss, the Briton now faces the seemingly impossible task to rebuild his career. On one hand, things shouldn’t be ‘that’ bad. His defeat to Wladimir Klitschko was only his second ever; he’s still marketable (particularly in the UK) and at 30, has lots to achieve in the sport and plenty of time too. 

However, that’s not the case. There won’t be a rematch against Wladimir Klitschko because it will not sell. Haye’s lethargic performance put paid to that. He also can’t fight the other Heavyweight titlist, Vitali Klitschko, because that would be more of the same and we’ve seen enough already, thank you. Otherwise, there is no-one else – no prominent challenger to defeat, no score to settle, and barring perhaps the winner of Derek Chisora-Tyson Fury, no intriguing domestic battles on the horizon. 

Haye is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He is a victim, in many ways, of the poor state of the heavyweight division. A win for the Londoner would have re-ignited the sports blue riband class, but his defeat simply leaves fans feeling blue. Ironically, he needs someone like himself – someone to shake things up. 

David Haye has said he will retire before his 31st birthday this October. He may yet do that, but he would be going out with a whimper, and not on the terms he would have desired. 

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It’s perhaps the most futile announcement in the history of the sport, but Ricky Hatton confirmed his retirement this week. He last fought in May 2009, when he was sparked cold by Manny Pacquaio in Las Vegas. There had been some speculation of a ring return, none of it serious, but nonetheless ‘The Hitman’ says his statement comes as ‘a relief’.

Questions will now be asked whether Hatton is Hall of Fame worthy. His in-the-ring achievements suggest no – he lost his two biggest fights, and recorded few wins against top-level opponents. However, it can be argued that he was beaten only by the world’s best pound-for-pound, and if presence and the ability to attract a crowed and attention count, then the Hitman should be a shoe-in. He has my backing for sure.

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It would be wrong not to mark the passing of one of boxing’s finest writers, George Kimball, who lost his battle with cancer this week. I met George Kimball once, after an Andy Lee fight in. He brushed off my attempts to talk to him – he was working to be fair – but I’ll say now what I would have said then. No matter what he wrote, no matter who he wrote it for, I would read and enjoy it. George was a wonderful writer, passionate and knowledgeable about his sport, who told stories with a skill and craft the rest of us strive for. Many of his tales were of his own experiences, and his life in itself is remarkable.

Kimball’s book Four Kings is the seminal accound of the middleweight division in the 1980s, and the various fights between Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Thomas Hearns and Roberto Duran. It is a must-read for any sports fan. Full of anecdotes, my personal favourite is of the aftermath of a fight between Scott LeDoux and Johnny Boudreaux. LeDoux was judged by many to have won the contest, but the judges disagreed and he was awarded a controversial loss by the judges. Angered by pre-fight talk that the fight would be fixed, and by post-fight comments from his opponent, LeDoux attempted to attack Boudreaux who was being interviewed by Howard Cosell on American television. Let’s just say that what occurred then was far from a proud moment for the esteemed commentator.

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Tyson had his licence to box in Nevada revoked on this day 14 years ago, while he was also fined $3m. He would be granted permission to box again a year later, and in 2009 he even apologised for his actions. Oprah made him.

July 9th 1997 brought an uninspiring end to one of the darkest and most disgusting hours in boxing’s recent history. Ten days earlier, Mike Tyson had been disqualified for twice biting the ear of Evander Holyfield during their second fight in Las Vegas. He had been angered by perceived fouls coming from Holyfield. Referee Mills Lane (he of Celebrity Deathmatch fame) brought an end to the contest, though Tyson’s behaviour in the ring afterwards showed he was in no mood to stop fighting, with anyone. You can see the fight here.

Tyson had his licence to box in Nevada revoked on this day 14 years ago, while he was also fined $3m. He would be granted permission to box again a year later, and in 2009 he even apologised for his actions. Oprah made him.