SINCE David Haye’s re-match with Tony Bellew was first talked about for December 17 on the O2, the massive query within the build-up was not: ‘can Haye win?’
However, aged age 37, many questioned: can the previous two-weight world champion really put his physique via a 10-week coaching camp?
The reply is NO.
Their first struggle in March was a bodily catastrophe for Haye, as his Achilles tendon snapped moments after, if not earlier than, the primary bell sounded.
He was battered earlier than lastly being stopped after 11 rounds of drama.
Final week, rumours have been rife that he had sustained one other damage, solely to be vigorously denied by Haye, regardless that a media coaching session that was scheduled at his fitness center was cancelled by his camp.
Chris Eubank Jr vs George Groves struggle set for February 17 at Manchester Enviornment
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It comes as no surprise to me. I understand the toll that preparing for big fights leaves on the body.
Haye is no exception and the man who prides himself on a Miami beach body all year round is at greater risk.
How many times has a Haye fight been cancelled?
His clash with Tyson Fury put back several times, then scrapped altogether.
Ever since the big toe debacle, after he was soundly beaten by Vladimir Klitschko, we have never quite believed his injury problems.
But you can only put the body through so much in any athletic career – and more so boxing – where it’s not just punches, but the physical punishment of preparation that leaves many permanent scars.
So what now for David Haye?
His great days unifying the cruiserweight division, when he overcame the giant Nikolai Valuev eight long years ago, are long gone I’m afraid.
The big fear now is that he will never see a 12-round fight again at any level, as the months roll on with question marks over the much anticipated revenge tussle with Tony.
Boxing requires a unique level of fitness that’s not for the faint of heart.
And at the top level it takes a tremendous level of physical and mental toughness to last a marathon clash.
The memory of limping bedraggled around the ring, being battered by Bellew, as he desperately tried in vain for one last Haymaker, is one Haye would rather forget.
But unfortunately like so many of boxing’s greats who never knew when to stop their career, it will be the image an army of boxing fans will never forget.
As for Bellew, I’m sure a family Christmas is long overdue.
Speaking to him and his trainer Dave Coldwell recently they will look at the available options in the New Year.
He answered Haye’s challenge like the professional fighting man he is, despite undergoing a family tragedy.
But like Fury, they may have had enough of the Haye parade and look elsewhere.
Or as I suspect at 34, he may just call a close on a very successful career.
Chris Eubank Jr vs George Groves fight set for February 17 at Manchester Arena
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