The Big Question: What do you think of David Haye's comeback so far?

Boxing Monthly
25/05/2016 11:17am

Two fights and two wins but David Haye's return to boxing hasn't been met with balloons and banners.

Despite packing out The O2 Arena in London and fighting on free-to-air television the knives are out after less than three rounds of action against the heavily over-matched Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj.

Is Haye's comeback littered with good intentions or is it simply a money-making exercise before cashing out against an Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury. We asked the Boxing Monthly online team what they thought of the former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion's comeback so far. 

It’s been woeful. I never begrudge a boxer making money but De Mori and Gjergjaj had no business in the ring with Haye. They were so hideously mismatched it verged on unethical.

The worst aspect is that we have learned nothing. Most heavyweights, no matter what level, carry power and it’s the last thing in the world they will lose. What made Haye in his prime a joy to watch was the sheer athleticism, but against two opponents happy to shell up and paw the odd jab he’s not had to prove if he still has that. Whilst [Shannon] Briggs is entertaining out of the ring, I struggle to see what that fight will prove either.

I do sound like a killjoy, but when people tune into one of the few boxing shows on free to air TV and see awful, one sided fights it does the whole sport a disservice. – James Oddy.

I've traditionally been a big David Haye fan but I'm starting to lose faith.

Time was when he seemed to want to test himself against the best, but I suspect that he's now content to scour the rankings for a succession of hapless tomato cans to knock out in order to make as much money as he can before cashing out with a big fight.

The mooted Shannon Briggs contest should be marginally more entertaining and competitive than Saturday's farcical mismatch, but after that Haye needs to line up some serious opponents or he risks further ridicule from boxing's die-hard fans. Having said all of that, the disapproval of traditionalists doesn't seem to have damaged Haye's commercial stock thus far, so he will probably continue to milk the mainstream audience who lap up the 'Haye Day' circus until Eddie Hearn feels the time is right for risk Anthony Joshua against him.

It's a shame that Haye's career may be remembered as one of money-grabbing under-achievement and media hype as he possesses significant talent and people have all too quickly forgotten his stellar cruiser career. I sincerely hope he proves me wrong and fights a better level of competition as quick as possible, but I won't be holding my breath. - Luke G. Williams.

I for one have never understood the obsession some fans have with David Haye. He was the legitimate champion at cruiserweight with his victories over Jean Mark Mormeck and Enzo Maccarinelli, but his entire campaign at heavyweight has been rather pedestrian.

The WBA strap that Haye took from Nicolai Valuev in their 2009 sparring session was the epitome of a paper title. The belt rightfully belonged to Wladimir Klitschko via his destruction of Ruslan Chagaev that same year (Chagaev decisively beat Valuev two years prior only to be unceremoniously stripped by the WBA just before facing Wlad). None of that mattered in the long run because “The Hayemaker” would ultimately hand his trinket over to Klitscko in their 2011 unification match, blaming his terrible performance on a sore pinky toe. Since that one-sided loss Haye has fought three times in five years to less than spectacular opposition.

All that being said, the man is still a big draw in the UK and will likely be able to talk – not necessarily fight – his way into an eventual title bout with Anthony Joshua or even a shot at the legitimate championship, should Tyson Fury defeat Klitschko in their rematch this summer. If and when that happens, expect more bark than bite from The Hayemaker. – Michael Montero.

I don’t think anyone had a problem with Haye taking a soft touch after a prolonged ring absence and De Mori was ranked so it was clever and calculated but the Gjergjaj farce and the upcoming contest with Briggs have turned it in to a complete circus and laughing stock.

Haye’s thirst for a bout with Anthony Joshua and total dismissal of taking on either Fury or Klitschko during the post-fight interview on Saturday fully convinced me his return is financially motivated and nothing to do with legacy, which is his prerogative but he won’t gain any support from the hardcore at all. Not that I’m sure he cares as he continues to shift plenty of tickets. – Marcus Bellinger.

I didn't have any problem with Mark De Mori as a comeback opponent, however I think we all felt the same way when his second fight was announced:

*) Who?
*) No, seriously, I am "in the trade" and I've never heard of this guy?
*) Look him up on Boxrec.
*) Wonder if everyone else knows who he is (and if so, question own worth on boxing knowledge).

The less said about the fight the better (I didn't tune in, wasn't worth giving up my Saturday evening for - caught it online the following day). It's a shame actually as I said to my mates ", Haye won't want to end this fight as quickly as De Mori, I'll say KO2 so it looks better value for money".

I like the Briggs fight for Haye and after that a title shot. He absolutely cannot have another opponent who is not world-class and/or quantifiable. – Colin Harris.

The return of David Haye has been a circus, with 'The Hayemaker' as ringmaster. Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj have played the part of overmatched clowns, and in September he seems set to face 44-year-old, sideshow attraction, Shannon Briggs.

Few were begrudging Haye a soft touch for his first fight back, but three in a row is excessive and borderline insulting to the paying public. It seems like a fast-fading memory, but Haye once aimed for greatness. Sadly, with the heavyweight division now in a state of rejuvenation after years of stagnation, Haye seems to be favouring a route taken by the likes of Mariusz Wach and Francesco Pianeta during Wladimir Klitschko's reign - fight substandard opponents and wait for the payday.

A fit, healthy David Haye should be an exciting addition to a weight-class in flux, instead he is content being a mass-market entertainer, catering to audience who appreciate James from TOWIE more than James Toney.

The last known sighting of Haye the fighter was July 2012 when he ended his feud with Dereck Chisora in emphatic fashion. There is no need for a missing person's poster, he's gone, his obituary has been written. What we are left with is Haye the salesman. - John A. MacDonald.

As a t-shirt wearing David Haye fan, the thought of his coming back should’ve filled me with joy but the news of his gym being sold and then the announcement of his first opponent (Mark De Mori) made me worry. Follow that with the last minute dash to get a TV channel to broadcast it and the dye was cast, it was circus time in Haye-land.

We’re used to Haye being liberal with the truth, he was retiring at 30, then he was only coming back for Wlad, then it was Vitali, then he’ll fight Chisora so he can get to Wlad etc etc. But selling high price tickets for main event fights that are completely uncompetitive, coupled that with a poor undercard and the last of your goodwill starts to slip away.

In terms of the actual boxing, I had no problem with a soft touch coming back, Haye hadn’t boxed for three years and so I wasn’t expected to jump in with Fury or Joshua, but someone at good domestic level would’ve been fine, someone like Ian Lewison for example would’ve been interesting for a few rounds but Haye’s class would’ve told. De Mori followed by Gjerjaj not only fails to give value for money, but also doesn’t prepare him for tougher contests down the road.

Despite Haye’s proclamations for wanting to become Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, this feels like nothing more than a cash grab on Haye’s part. He’s spending little money on the undercard, selling tickets without naming opponents and fighting people who should be opponents for young prospects, not two weight world champions. The moment Haye steps up against one of the reigning World Champions, he’ll lose and will do so convincingly. – Callum Rudge.

I’m genuinely surprised that so many people are shocked by the calibre of David Haye’s opponents since he returned to the sport. Haye’s is a one fight comeback. He only has eyes for Anthony Joshua and will avoid taking any serious risks until that fight and the subsequent payday are signed and sealed. I would honestly have been far more surprised had Haye chosen to test the waters against fighters like Carlos Takam, Bryant Jennings, Kubrat Pulev etc, etc, etc.

Boxing fans may not like what Haye is doing but the part-time fans who will eventually hand over their hand earned cash are lapping it up and will fill the O2 Arena once again for his clash with Shannon Briggs. To repeat that horrible phrase which seems to have become part of boxing vocabulary; it is what it is. – John Evans.

It seems a long time ago since David Haye was viewed as the new broom at heavyweight – the exciting upstart who was going to expose Wladimir Klitschko’s lack of heart. How ironic then, that his own run in boxing’s blue riband division has been equally uninspiring.

It’s tough to pinpoint when exactly Haye’s career ceased to be about sport and became driven by salesmanship instead. Perhaps his mindset changed after catching a couple of whacks from journeyman Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett on his heavyweight debut? Or, maybe the bulking up process clogged up his ears, or his eyes, or even his brain?

The pay-per-view fights against Nikolay Valuev and Audley Harrison (the latter of which was so awful, it torpedoed Sky Sports’ PPV model for years) were two of the most brazen pieces of false advertising in living memory, in a sport that was founded on it. It’s difficult to figure out – after what we’ve witnessed of late – whether Haye realised this at the time, or whether he’s genuinely as delusional as he made poor Audley out to be?

Did Haye really view those wins as the titanic feats they were purported as on BBC Breakfast and other mainstream media outlets? Did he genuinely believe he lost to Klitschko because of a sore toe?

Haye has shown that same frame of mind – one completely at odds with reality – throughout his recent comeback. He’s looked fairly poor in bullying two hapless novices, who shouldn’t have been permitted to humiliate themselves so publicly.

Ok, I see the argument that says he’s only giving fans what they want. That the thousands who bought tickets to see Haye fight TBA, obviously aren’t interested in seeing a competitive contest. They’ve stumped up to see “Hayemaker” Haye knock someone out - so where’s the harm? Didn’t Mike Tyson fight Peter McNeeley? Didn’t George Foreman fight a whole raft of Mark de Moris throughout his comeback?

The damage is done when terrestrial TV viewers (both cards have been shown on free TV) decide to give boxing another chance and are confronted with two “fights” that feature 100-to-1 on favourites picking the wings off a pair of fall-guys. Why would anyone outside of David Haye’s fan club want to watch that nonsense? It makes a mockery of the boxers who are serious about the sport. – Andrew Harrison.

It's disappointing. The initial comeback against Mark De Mori can be forgiven after three and a half years away from the sport. To follow that up with an opponent like Arnold Gjergjaj is unforgivable. It's hard to tell if Haye went sideways or backwards with that choice. Who would win between De Mori and Gjergjaj.

There was a time when I would make every effort possible to watch a David Haye fight on television. I watched him on the BBC, Sky Sports, Setanta and even paid to watch him on pay-per-view. Some of those fights were glory days when Haye was yearning and looking to achieve greatness.

Something changed. I don't know what. I don't know if it's been his embrace of becoming a celebrity sportsman or if the genuine thirst he had years ago has gone. All this aside Haye doesn't look like the same fighter. Some of the speed has gone and I don't believe the likes of Fury, Wilder, Joshua and others will have seen anything to give them sleepless nights. 

I, like others, was once a huge fan of 'The Hayemaker' but even my patience has been tested to the point of there being no more for him and this comeback which is frankly a joke. He's making money but this is leaving a horrible taste in boxing's mouth and the thought of him fighting a 44-year-old mouthpiece, who makes me cringe every time he's on camera, is enough to make me want to vomit. - Shaun Brown.