David Haye has now begun his heavyweight campaign after successfully establishing himself as the world's top cruiserweight. His win over Enzo Maccarinelli proved that Haye has done enough at the weight and he can now move up to the heavyweight division.
The second round stoppage was career defining for Haye as the match up had been in anticipation for years. I give Haye great respect for taking that fight because he had problems with the weight and he really had to train hard to make the 200 lb limit. With Haye walking around at over 16 stone [224 lb] in between fights, you can see how much of a big ask it was for him to lose that weight. But he did it and beat Enzo in great knockout style to win the unified cruiserweight crown.
The heavyweight division isn't new for Haye. In early 2007, Haye beat Tomasz Bonin of Poland in brutal knockout fashion. Three knockdowns inside the first round prompted the referee to stop the fight and it was a great start for Haye, who was seeing himself into the weight class. Although Bonin wasn't the best of fighters ,he still held a record of 37 wins and only one loss, to Audley Harrison, who took nine rounds to beat him. It showed how dominant Haye really is over the British heavyweight scene because he got the job done in 105 seconds!
Haye is chasing his dream fight with Wladimir Klitschko and is on the warpath to make this fight happen. David even confronted him at the airport to ask him face to face for the match up. Wladimir knows he has to defend his belt in order to keep hold of it, so he was forced to face mandatory challenger Tony Thompson in a rather boring affair. Wladimir now has to face up and coming prospect Alexander Povetkin in his next fight and Haye questions if Wladimir is capable of beating the young Russian.
I believe Klitschko has been very unlucky with criticism recently. It's really not his fault if fighters get in the ring with him to simply survive and it makes him look bad because of that. During his last two outings, I believe, he was fully in control of the fight sand Sultan Ibragimov was happy to say he didn't get stopped by Klitschko.
Haye is exploiting the fact that the heavyweight devision is really in need of a hero. Ever since Lennox Lewis left in 2003, there hasn't been a legitimate champion in my opinion and the division has been left wide open since that departure. Haye fully believes he has what it takes to be the best in the division and to do that, he simply wants to fight the best a heavyweight. If it was up to Haye, I do believe he would fight Wladimir today, but that not going to happen for the time being.
Haye was told he needs to prove himself as a genuine heavyweight contender by Klitschko because Thompson and Povetkin did genuinely prove themselves. Although Haye is a big name in the cruiserweight division, he hasn't yet had a convincing win at heavyweight to prove to Wladimir that he should share a ring with him.
Haye was in speculation to face up and coming prospect Kevin Johnson, 20-0, but that fight fell through because an agreement couldn't be made. So, Haye was on the look for another fight and JD Chapman, 29-0, was another possible opponent, but again, the fight fell through because they couldn't make an agreement. Former world champion Ray Mercer, 36-7, was willing to take the fight but Setanta Sports would only screen a Haye fight in November if it was against a top ten fighter.
Haye was left in a tough situation because he really needed to prove himself to the boxing world of what he is capable of. At this point, opponent Monte Barrett, 34-6, has stepped up to the plate. Barrett has been a top ten fighter for over four years now and he's proved himself to be a great fighter over the years, his name being well known in the heavyweight boxing scene.
Although Barrett has lost six times, Haye should not look past him the slightest. Barret's last win was against Tye fields, 41-1, in the first round and Barrett looks like is upping his game again. Three very disappointing losses in a row in the hands of Hasim Rahman, Nicolay Valuev and Cliff Couser really did question whether or not Barrett should carry on fighting.
Couser is a nobody and it showed that Barrett was lacking motivation and this has happened a lot in his career. It's evident in his losses to Nicolay Valuev and Wladimir Klitschko that Barret struggles fighting against bigger opponents with a longer reach. He was knocked down in both fights enroute to being stopped and it shows that he doesn't like facing bigger fighters.
David Haye and Monte Barrett are both 6 foot 3 inches tall, so this factor won't effect Barrett on fight night. Barrett's other losses are also questionable; he had a close split decision loss in the hands of Lance Whitaker 10 years ago, a very close fight against Joe Mesi in 2003 resulted in a majority decision win for Mesi but some say that Barrett should have won that fight and the loss to Hasim Rahman could be blamed on the fact that they are close friends and he maybe didn't want to get too involved in a fight with him. Although it's not a genuine excuse, Barrett's performance that night was well below par for a world title fight.
But Barrett now has the chance to right many wrongs in his career when he faces Haye. Although he will be an underdog in the fight ,Barrett knows this is his final chance of ever getting a shot at a world title. David Haye's chin still has a bit of question mark over it after he was stopped by Carl Thompson back in 2004 and he also got knocked down by Jean Marc Mormeck in his win back in 2007.
Does a genuine heavyweight puncher like Barrett might have the tools to beat Haye at heavyweight? It's an all new game for Haye and Barrett is a tough first genuine fight at heavyweight for the Hayemaker. Barrett's demolition of Tye Fields shows that he is still a force in the weight class and I am really looking forward to this fight.
I am happy that Haye has been matched up Barrett. I believe although Barrett has lost six times, he is still a very good fighter and cannot be looked over in the slightest. Haye will know he's in a tough fight when the bell rings and I look forward to seeing these two men battling it out.
Each man gets one step closer to Wladimir Klitschko and they know that if they lose, its going to be very hard to come back from. I do believe that Haye is a bit too much for Barrett though, and I can see Haye getting him out of there during the early to middle rounds. But then again, I wouldn't be fully surprised if Barrett can get through Haye defence and can open the fight right up.
I expect this to be a great match up for the fans and hopefully the start of a good campaign for David Haye.