Haye Clears The Way

By Matt Winsper


Haye Clears The Way

English Cruiserweight Hope Destroys Italian

David Haye, the 24 year old London-born cruiserweight, removed the final obstacle towards his mooted European title shot in December by quickly and cleanly erasing Italian contender Vincenzo Rossitto with a blistering barrage in round 2 of their 10 round clash. Haye, who had been preparing to battle Mark Hobson for the British and Commonwealth belts until Hobson pulled out with shingles, looked in superb shape at 200lbs, and after a quiet opener in which he took a look at his stocky but technically sound 29 year old opponent, he went to work in the 2nd.

Immediately it became clear that Rossitto couldn’t handle the power. Short left hooks and straight rights had the Italian, who entered with an impressive 30-3-2 log, reeling around the ring. Haye stepped up the pace even more, and a final bruising attack culminated in a right that grazed Rossitto’s head and sent him stumbling backwards. He crashed down, and his head awkwardly smacked in the bottom rope. Although he was up in time to beat the count, he looked hurt and dejected. It was still a surprise, however, when referee Mickey Vann waved it off, but then with the recent Leavander Johnson tragedy fresh in our minds, I’m not about to criticize any early stoppages.

Haye, chiseled and as perfectly sculpted a cruiserweight as you could want, calmly celebrated, already looking forward to his tentatively booked match with European title match with Alexander Gurov in December. Gurov had also stopped the Italian in two rounds, albeit on a cut, and is also a decent sized cruiserweight, standing at 6’5” and having mixed with the very best in the world. For Haye, now just 14-1-0 (14) to be stepping in with such a caliber of opponent (Gurov is a three time European champ and is rated highly by the WBA) shows his ambition.

This was Haye’s fourth win back since his disastrous defeat at the hands of world ranked Carl Thompson, and frankly, he’s never looked better. Whether the stamina problem that plagued him in the Thompson fight has vanished remains to be seen, as his comeback opponents have so far been unable to take him any further than three rounds. However, the only way we’re going to find out is by seeing Haye step it up, and the Gurov match promises to be just that – a step up. Despite this, Haye is still bursting with confidence. “I felt so good before this fight,” he told Sky Sports interviewer Ed Robinson after the fight, “and I think it showed. I was confident of beating Gurov before this fight, and now I’ve done what I did in the ring, I’m even more confident.”

When quizzed about Mark Hobson, he returned, “Well, he had his chance, but he didn’t want the fight. Now I’ve got my mind on Gurov and other things. This kid was in the world top ten [Rossitto was IBF ranked], and now I believe I’m in the world top ten.”

Whether he is or not, beating Gurov will certainly catapult him into a world title challenge. Come December, we will know for certain if David Haye is the world class prospect we all want him to be.

In a welterweight eight rounder, James Hare warmed up with a 4th round cuts stoppage over Lithuanian Oscar Milkitas. Hare, formerly world rated but coming off two bad stoppage defeats, was just getting into the fight after a calm and slow start, and it was an unfortunate ending, but it is another comeback win under his belt, and it will hopefully lead to a domestic title clash with the likes of Kevin Anderson (Commonwealth champ), Michael Jennings (British champ) or recent conqueror David Barnes, if he too can get his failing career back on track.

Milkitas was a late replacement for Robert Lloyd Taylor, who pulled out earlier in the week.