I wrote with relative disdain about the announcement that David Haye was going to fight Audley Harrison and, after the non-spectacle of last night, I feel perfectly vindicated to have done so. Haye won comfortably as most people expected him to. But what has he achieved?
Haye admitted that he had backed himself for a third round victory. It explains why he chose not to throw a punch in the opening two before then unleashing a vicious barrage of blows that ended the fight abruptly a minute into the third round. There will most likely be quite a lot made of Haye's admission, which does equate to a form of match fixing. His choice to select a specific round makes the betting market for the fight an unfair one.
In reality, however, it purely illustrates just how fascicle the fight really was. Such was the difference in class that Haye was able to pick the round he wanted to win in and then bet on himself to do so.
After months of talk and hype by the two boxers, the fight was little more than sparring session. The difference in ability was abundantly clear and Harrison, who landed just one punch in the fight, was made to look as deluded as Haye had told everyone he was.
I can understand, of course, why the fight went ahead. It generated enough interest amongst British boxing fans to make it worth-the-while for Haye. He undoubtedly received the majority of the fee for the fight too. Some suggest that Haye may have received up to £5million compared to Harrison's meagre £1million fight fee. It was an easy pay day for the WBA Heavyweight Champion.
The only real positive to come from the fight is that it may mark the end of Audley Harrison's career. I wont say that I have not found 'A-Force' entertaining over the years but he was never more than a national level fighter. At the age of 39 there is little for him to do but hang up his gloves and be rightfully content with his Gold Medal from the 2000 Olympics.
For Haye, the fight has done little to enhance his reputation. He scored an easy win against somewhat of a nobody in the Heavyweight boxing world. It still appears as though his desire to unify the division is secondary to his desire to earn easier money.
There must surely be a greater worldwide demand for Haye to take on one of the Klitschko brothers and yet financial demands continue to stand in the way. Haye wants to keep all of the UK TV income from a fight with the Klitschkos. As there is no pay-per-view boxing in Germany, the Klitschkos are unwilling to settle for this uneven splitting of the money. Economic disputes aside, if Haye wants to cement himself as a 'great' boxer then he will have to beat the best and, needless to say, Harrison is not that.
In reality, the fight at the MEN Arena was little more than an under-card to the main event last night, a mere warm-up for the fight between Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Margarito for the WBC Light-Middleweight title. Pacquiao confirmed his place at the top of the pound-for-pound best boxers list with a unanimous points victory. His performance was characteristically dominant and the win means that he is now an eight-weight world champion.
The victories for Haye and Pacquiao last night will still leave fans unfulfilled, though. The nagging knowledge that each of these fighters ought to be fighting someone else will only continue to diminish whatever successes they may enjoy in the mean time.
Pacquiao vs Mayweather and Haye vs a Klitschko remain the match-ups that boxing fans are eagerly and frustratingly waiting for. There is quite simply no one else for the respective fighters to take on who represents enough of a challenge for the boxing world to get excited about. As I have said on numerous occasions, it is essential for the waning interest in and credibility of the sport of boxing that these fights happen sooner rather than later.
Thoughts, comments and opinions please...