Wladimir Klitschko beats David Haye
HAMBURG, Germany -- Wladimir Klitschko wanted to punish David Haye for all the trash talking he did leading up to their title fight. He settled for merely making Haye another statistic in his dominating heavyweight run.
Rafael: Haye's talk was cheap
David Haye never found his footing -- or, seemingly, his backbone -- as Wladimir Klitschko slogged to a dominant defense of his heavyweight title on Saturday, writes Dan Rafael. Blog
Matched up against an opponent who didn't fight nearly as well as he talked, Klitschko dominated from the opening bell Saturday night on his way to a lopsided decision win in a fight that did not live up to its advance hype.
"He was scared to fight me," Klitschko said. "I was expecting more of a challenge in the ring, but he was super defensive."
The win was the 14th straight for Klitschko and improved his record to 17-2 in title fights. More importantly, he captured Haye's version of the heavyweight title, giving he and his brother, Vitali, all the major heavyweight title belts.
The two have long promised their mother they would never fight each other, but Vitali was in Wladimir's corner and ready to celebrate with him after the win in a rain-soaked soccer stadium in Hamburg.
"We're celebrating with my brother that we've collected all the belts in the heavyweight division," Klitschko said. "It wasn't as spectacular as I expected, but I was trying."
Haye had been expected to give Klitschko one of his most difficult fights, but he fought sparingly, seemingly afraid to take punches to the head as part of the cost of getting inside against his larger opponent. Haye blamed a broken toe suffered three weeks before the fight, taking off his shoe in the ring afterward to show it off.
"I couldn't give everything I needed to, it was really frustrating," Haye said in the ring. "I had to knock him out and unfortunately I couldn't do it."
Klitschko was never able to really knock Haye down, though the Englishman was down quite often. Haye went to the canvas repeatedly on slips and flops, and finally referee Genaro Rodriguez had enough of it and gave Haye a count when he went down in the 11th round.
Haye won only one round on one ringside judge's scorecards, though that didn't stop him from raising his hand in victory when the bell rang to end the 12th round.
All three judges gave it to Klitschko by large margins, scoring the 12-round showdown 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110.
Haye, who stirred most of the hype with often crass trash-talking, had vowed to leave Klitschko quivering on the canvas. But he never gave himself an opportunity for a knockout by spending much of the fight on the outside.
He said he could not push off on his fight foot to get to Klitschko because of the injury, though he conceded that he was facing a big, strong opponent who gave him fits. The 6-foot-6 Klitschko had a 3-inch height advantage and weighed in at 242 pounds to 213 for the 30-year-old Haye.
"It was subpar, nowhere near as good as I would have liked," Haye said. "He fought the perfect game plan for someone with my style."
Haye, a former cruiserweight champion who had held the WBA heavyweight title, had campaigned for two years for a fight against one of the Klitschko brothers and his popularity in Britain allowed him to gain a 50/50 split of the purse. But his constant trash talking clearly irritated Klitschko.
(Haye) was scared to fight me. I was expecting more of a challenge in the ring, but he was super defensive.” -- Heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko
That didn't happen, either, in a fight that didn't get good until the final round, when Haye landed a right hand to the head and Klitschko came back to land a series of jabs and rights to the head of Haye.
For most of the fight, Klitschko stayed behind his feared left jab. He landed a right on Haye's chin in the fifth but Haye recovered nicely, bouncing off the ropes to stay on his feet. Still, he seemed -- like Haye -- to not want to take any unnecessary chances in the ring.
"I wished I could knock him out impressively," Klitschko said. "But I had to be smart enough to not let him have a chance."
The 35-year-old Ukrainian is now 56-3, with 49 KOs, while the Haye is 25-2, 23 KOs. The Briton's only previous loss was in 2004, when he was knocked out by countryman Carl Thompson in a cruiserweight fight.
Klitschko also hasn't lost in seven years and, together with his brother, dominates the heavyweight division.
"He's big, strong and very effective at what he does," Haye said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press