Last night at London's 02 Arena, former world cruiserweight champion David Haye backed up his boasts by knocking out nearly man Monte Barrett in five rounds to make a successful entry into the world of bigtime heavyweight boxing.
Haye gave Barrett problems with handspeed and of course, the vaunted "Hayemaker" power but the London slugger had to come through a few good shots from the former world heavyweight title challenger to pull off his debut in boxing's glamor division.
A slow first round saw Haye establish distance and the jab while Barrett was putting everything into the punches he threw. The second was highlighted by a hard shot from Barrett that shook the local hero.
The Bermondsey belter traded heavy shots with Barrett in the third and dropped the American with a quick leaping left hook. A few exchanges later, Barrett was down again from a right hand on the inside that landed on the side of his head.
Barrett beat the count but was clearly hurt and was getting bashed around by Haye when the bell rang to end the first frame.
The fourth saw Barrett refrain from the disastrous strategy of rushing in with winging punches that got him in trouble during the third round. Midway through, Haye struck the target again with a big right hand and while Barrett wobbled, he answered Haye's followup assault with huge punches of his own, and while they missed, it backed off the Englishman.
Barrett was soon down again, but this time from the momentum of a big right hand that he threw unsuccessfully at Haye but was given a count by the referee anyway.
Haye didn't rush in but laid back and picked his spots, whipping in hurtful single shots as Barrett continued to miss with energy sapping roundhouse blows by wide margins.
A short right uppercut on the inside put Barrett down again and the exhausted American had some difficulty beating the count this time. Once again Barrett was saved by the bell just as Haye began to launch a savage offensive.
The fifth frame began and Barrett got in a good jab. A few Haye misses later, the Briton was on the canvas from a counter left from Barrett and a moment later with Haye, sitting on the mat, Barrett got in a hard left hook.
Barrett lost a point for hitting Haye while he was down and also had his knockdown ruled a slip. As the referee was taking the point away, Haye caught a breather on one knee and was ready to go when the action resumed.
Barrett surged forward, missing with his efforts and giving Haye the opening to strike back with right-left combination that had Barrett down on his back.
Without issuing a count, the referee called off the bout even though Barrett appeared looked to be able to continue.
Haye improved to 22-1 (21) with an impressive performance while Barrett fell to 34-7 (20).
On the undercard, British Light Middleweight titlist Ryan Rhodes, 41-4 (27), looked excellent in seeing off Vincent Vuma, 26-3 (15), to take the South African's WBC International title.