This writer grew up watching Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Lennox Lewis, and, at some point, David Tua dominate the heavyweight landscape in the 90s. Back then, the heavyweight category was the best in the house as each name would really fuse entertainment and prizefighting every time they step inside that squared circle. But things change and along with it is the luster that once resided in the heavyweight division.
The heavyweight at this time and age is not dying, but dull. While it is easy to put the blame on the Klitschko brothers for being too good with the “hit without getting hit” philosophy of the sport, one should also take into consideration that most heavyweight contenders the brothers Klitschkos danced inside the ring with are too happy to scrap a huge payday and care less about knocking the other guy out.
If there is anything I understand about the heavyweight division, it is more on action, on being flashy and angry, and being cocky. The heavyweights I grew up on were more than mean. They were resolute in killing the other guy inside the ring, figuratively and literally speaking. It was never about the methodology and science (with the exception of Muhammad Ali, of course). It was simply taking the other guy out in the flashiest manner possible.
Having said that, it can also be noted that heavyweight fights were not that immaculate, as far as blood and gore and war inside and outside the ring is concerned. There were big fights that fizzled after the hype, such as the Lennox Lewis vs. David Tua matchup.
But going back to the blood and gore and war, can the same be said about a Klitschko fight? Not really. Both Klitschkos are defensive fighters and they are damn too good at what they do, which makes any boxing event they participate in into a glorified target practice.
Now comes David Haye, former undisputed cruiserweight world champion. WBA heavyweight titleholder Haye is assigned to take on Wladimir and get his three heavyweight belts (WBO, IBF, and IBO). This writer is not giving Haye much of a chance, considering the huge disparity of physical edges Wlad has over the brash Briton in terms of height, reach, and size. Haye is a cruiserweight at best and is yet to be tested at as a heavyweight.
Haye has not fought a credible heavyweight (this writer do not consider behemoth Nikolay Valuev credible). But given Haye’s speed and explosive style, he could, at the very least, make heavyweight boxing exciting again. And perhaps, warp us all back through time when Tyson, Holyfield, Bowe, Lewis, and at some point, Tua dominated the heavyweight landscape.