DAVID Haye blamed a secret broken toe he has been nursing after bitter rival Wladimir Klitschko easily outpointed him in their heavyweight unification clash in rain-soaked Hamburg, writes digital editor Graham Walker.
Haye, who plans to retire in October when he turns 31, said he was unable to find his footing to throw big combination punches and knock-out the now unifed heavyweight champ.
He knew Saturday night was his chance to not only prove himself as a heavyweight but also establish a real legacy in the division as the man to end Klitschko’s dominance.
But after talking the talk he failed to walk the walk at the Imtech Arena football stadium. He was unable to back up his distasteful and aggressive bravado by instead fighting defensively and losing with scores of 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110.
The unification super-fight saw 30-year-old Haye putting his WBA heavyweight title on the line in a bid to snatch his Germany-based Ukrainian opponent’s IBF, WBO and Ring magazine belts.
A cagey opening saw Haye down from a slip as Klitschko jabbed from distance. Haye did well with a two-shot combination, though, landing a winging right on his opponent’s chin and following it with a left hook.
With the rain pouring once more, Haye was not bothering to jab, instead staying on the back foot and making brief but aggressive forays. Klitschko was edging it though and a right got through late in the second.
Haye remained open to the jab but had his own success with a right over the top early in the third and the same shot, doubled up, before the session ended. Klitschko fired back with Haye against the ropes.
It remained conservative fare for the most part. The fifth was particularly laborious until a Klitschko straight right landed cleanly on Haye’s chin and the Londoner did well to swallow it and carry on, recovering admirably and landing a right of his own soon after.
Haye had boasted he could change tactics on the spur of the moment and he looked like he needed to here as a dull sixth was punctuated only by him slipping on the canvas for the fourth time in the bout.
Referee Genaro Rodriguez docked Klitschko a point for pushing Haye down in the seventh. Klitschko continued to show more attacking intent over the course of the rounds, edging the ninth as Haye relied on reflexes and right hands alone. A right from Klitschko at the end of that round seemed to hurt Haye slightly.
Haye landed a right hand in close then fell yet again in the 10th as the pair traded short rights at the bell. When he went down again easily in the 11th, referee Rodriguez gave him a count and therefore effectively docked him a point. Haye edged the final round as both opened up more in the final three minutes and when it went to the scorecards it was rightly Klitschko who took the win.