This was great in many ways. The fight, which took place on that day in 2009 between current and defending WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev and former unified cruiserweight champion David Haye, captured the imagination of fans, particularly in the UK. . Haye pushed the fight hard, appeared on TV shows, gave a ton of interviews, and the size of the two men was a big talking point. Images of Valuev, 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds, face to face with Haye were everywhere.
Less imaginatively titled “David Vs. Goliath”, the fight, which took place in Nuremberg, Germany, drew good box office views from Sky Sports. But as big and important as the victory was for Haye, the fight itself was not a classic. Despite this, the fight kept the fans interested throughout the 12 rounds and in the final session Haye almost caused a sensation that would probably have broken the internet if he had pulled it off. Haye staggered Valuev on the final lap, breaking his right hand in the process. Valuev, who had never been down in his career, did a silly dance and for a second or two it looked like the tallest and heaviest heavyweight champion in history was about to go down.
However, Valuev persevered once the crisis was over. Had Haye, who had fought conservatively, boxed and moved, in and out, done enough? He came close, but Haye earned a 12-round majority decision victory. Valuev never fought again and later turned to politics. Haye, who said hitting Valuev’s head was “like hitting a brick wall,” was now an elite heavyweight player, his one-part heavyweight championship win helping his bargaining power in a matchup with IBF/WBO/Ring -Ruler Wladimir Klitschko magazine.
Haye became the second cruiserweight champion to win a world heavyweight title by defeating Valuev (Oleksandr Usyk joined the exclusive club last year). And it’s worth remembering how Haye, who has his detractors, accomplished everything he did: He won three 200-pound belts, the WBA heavyweight belt, after just 24 professional fights.
Haye disappointed in the Klitschko fight that took place in July 2011 after Haye stopped John Ruiz and then Audley Harrison in the WBA title defense. Haye was well beaten by Klitschko in a dull fight, Haye blaming his injured toe for the lopsided decision loss. In fact, it was years before Haye went through what was dubbed the “Toe-Gate.”
However, in his prime, Haye was a very good fighter. And with the Valuev fight, Haye raised more than £2 million. The fight drew almost half a million viewers to the Sky Sports box office. Yes, Haye vs. Valuev was great.