David Haye retired following two defeats against Tony Bellew. His legacy with the UK fans is one of chalk and cheese.
Haye, known as ‘The Hayemaker’, is one of the United Kingdom’s most exemplary sports figures, having worked his way up to stardom in boxing.
He’s also polarizing for some due to his actions and words outside of the ropes.
He has also won world championships at the cruiserweight and heavyweight levels. Haye carved out a superb record of 26-2, including an impressive 24 knockouts.
In this article, World Boxing News looked at five of the most defining moments in Haye’s career.
Haye’s first professional fight occurred at Bethnal Green’s York Hall in December 2002. It resulted in a knockout victory over Tony Booth in round two.
Besides setting him on the path to those 24 KO’s, it also saw him launch his career in the best possible way.
Claiming European glory
Haye’s December 2005 Bracknell fight against Alexander Gurov from Ukraine saw him lift the EBU European Cruiserweight belt.
The bout took a mere 45 seconds to knock out his opponent.
This victory would rank as a highlight of any boxer’s career and shows Haye’s unstoppability at this time.
David Haye’s first heavyweight knockout
2006 proved to be an awe-inspiring year for Haye, as he retained his European title and moved up to heavyweight. Haye started with a knockout win over Tomasz Bonin of Poland.
At the time, Bonin was ranked number eleven in the world. Haye vs. Bonin took place at Wembley in April 2007.
This time he needed 105 seconds to do the damage, ensuring he entered the heavyweight ranks with a flourish.
Audley Harrison controversy
Having secured the WBA world heavyweight belt, Haye showed equal brilliance in retaining it. The high point came with his second successful retention of 2010 against fellow Brit Audley Harrison.
The fight occurred at the MEN Centre in Manchester on 13 November. The Hayemaker saw off his opponent with an incredible onslaught of blows in round three.
Despite a remarkable achievement in a rare all-British top division title battle, the fight took flak from detractors.
Accusations of carrying Harrison for two rounds and fabricating beef competing against his friend were both dismissed. Sky Sports Box Office had to cancel PPV showings of fights for some time afterward due to the controversy.
Haye’s reputation only recovered slightly after that.
Slaying the giant Nikola Valuev
This fight for the WBA World Heavyweight Championship against the 7’2″ Russian Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg is rated by Haye himself as the best win of his career.
The fight was labeled ‘David vs. Goliath.’ The world title triumph made Haye one of the smallest Heavyweight champions.
Haye’s decision victory also saw two-time champion Valuev retire from the ring.
Walking away with his head held high despite his detractors, David Haye continues his love affair with the sport as an analyst.
Furthermore, he works with many broadcasters in the UK, giving his expertise to some of the biggest fights in Britain after failed promotional ventures.
Back in the exhibition era, Haye fought another one of his friends but made no boxing friends from the exercise.
From brawling with Derek Chisora at a press conference, the Klitschko “toe incident, plus the Bellew/exhibition farce, it’s been a wild and contrasting ride for David Haye.
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