Six of the best fights in David Haye's caeer
By Adam Norman. Last Updated: 21/09/13 10:45am
From European champion, to unified world cruiserweight champion, to WBA heavyweight champion, the Hayemaker has done it all. We reflect on six of his best fights in no particular order...
Jean Marc Mormeck - W TKO7
In just his 21st professional fight Haye was ready for his first world title shot against WBC and WBA cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck. The Frenchman, having avenged a defeat to O'Neil Bell, was considered the best 200 pounder around.
Chiselled from granite, the 35-year-old looked in his physical prime on that November night in 2007. And in the early stages it was hard to see how Haye would break him down as Mormeck calmly withstood early pressure.
The Briton, already struggling to make the weight, was wobbled and down in the fourth round but not badly hurt, and after surviving the session set about redressing the balance.
The fight was even at halfway, but with Mormeck starting to look vulnerable as Haye winged in brutal shots upstairs and down. The end came early in the seventh, a vicious barrage ending with a right hook that put the Frenchman down, and out. The Hayemaker had truly arrived.
Enzo Maccarinelli - W TKO2
After beating Mormeck, Haye believed there was little left to achieve as a cruiserweight and was itching to pursue his heavyweight ambitions.
However, a unification with WBC champion Maccarinelli promised to sell out the O2 Arena and provide the Londoner with a golden farewell from the cruiserweight division.
And so it proved. The Welshman held a stellar record with the vast majority of his victories coming inside the distance but something had to give.
After an even first round Haye started to land his big bombs at will, a right hook a portend of things to come. Maccarinelli was starting to get ragged, and when another hit the button the Welshman went down under a blizzard of punches. To compound matters he rose too quickly, danced around the ring on legs of jelly, and the fight was waved off.
Nicolai Valuev - W PTS
Nicolai Valuev was the tallest and heaviest champion in history, and something of a circus act. A number of his WBA title defences were won narrowly on the scorecards, as the bandwagon rolled on. Victory over an aged Evander Holyfield was highly controversial.
But the 7ft 2in Russian giant stood between Haye and the world title he had craved since he was a boy. Trainer Adam Booth wore platform boots in sparring in a bid to mimic the Russian's height. It promised to be a fascinating match-up.
In practice it was Booth's in-and-out tactics that laid the foundations for Haye's victory. The Briton's jack-in-a-box movement completely befuddled the cumbersome champion as Haye picked him off like a sniper, appearing to hurt him in the 12th round.
It wasn't pretty, in some rounds the challenger barely landed a shot, and one judge scored it even. But the other two had Haye in front and the title was finally in safe keeping - Valuev never fought again.
Dereck Chisora - W KO5
Haye may have officially retired following defeat to Wladimir Klitschko but he was still in pursuit of his brother Vitali, who appeared to be on the descent after Chisora took him the distance - only the fourth man to do so.
Haye gatecrashed the post-fight press conference, got involved in an ugly brawl with Chisora that darkened the name of boxing and made the pair firm enemies.
But money could be made by getting them together in the ring and, with a little help from the Luxembourg board, the boxers gained licences and the bout went ahead in front of a huge crowd at West Ham's Upton Park ground.
It was a great scrap, Haye willing to trade and taking some of Chisora's best shots before opening up in the fifth round, flooring Chisora for the first time with a combination before finishing it a blurring volley of blows. It put Klitschko's performance in perspective.
John Ruiz - W TKO9
In 54 fights, 11 of them championship contests, John Ruiz had only been stopped once in eight defeats - when caught cold in the first round by the huge punching Kiwi David Tua.
'The Quiet Man' had fought some of the biggest names in the heavyweight division over the previous decade, but although durable was rather slow and limited and thought to be the perfect opponent to make Haye look good on his homecoming.
And he did. The American was down twice in the first round, setting the tone for a long night ahead.
And while the willing Ruiz had his moments Haye's speed was too much for the ageing warrior, who took so many big right hands that his corner called a halt to the action in the ninth round. Not for the first time, Haye had sent a conquered opponent into retirement.
Carl Thompson - L TKO5
Haye had knocked out his first 10 opponents as his pro career lit the touchpaper. After just 20 rounds in the paid ranks he was deemed ready to be tested by a tough cruiserweight like Thompson.
The glory days were firmly behind the Cat, who as WBO champion had twice defeated Chris Eubank. But he had the heart of a tiger - and he could bang.
The Hayemaker, perhaps riding his own hype and eager to make an early statement, laid into the veteran from the opening bell, raining massive shots down one after another.
Somehow Thompson withstood the barrage, and as Haye punched himself out the wily campaigner began to turn the fight in his favour, flooring the rookie with a right hand in the fifth and with Haye shipping punishment the towel came in, the corner saving their charge for bigger days ahead.
So fight fans, do you agree? Let us know which of David Haye fights are YOUR favourites! Just add your comment below... and keep it clean folk!