Thursday, March 23, 2023  |



The Ring All-Star Report Cards: David Haye


Note: This feature originally appeared in the October edition of THE RING magazine. The November issue, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. on the cover, is on newsstands now. The cover story is titled: “10 Guys Who Would Have Kicked Mayweather's Butt.”

It was out with the old and in with the new as THE RING composed this year’s All-Star Report Cards. Gone from last year’s survey are such old warhorses as Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones, Ricky Hatton, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Chris John and Israel Vazquez. In place of those fighters were newer, fresher names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Timothy Bradley, a sign that new blood is being pumped into the sport. Meanwhile, names like Sergio Martinez and Pongsaklek Wonjongkam show that our All-Star list always has room for veterans, provided they’re still producing in the ring.

Aside from the youth movement, other trends have emerged this year. For instance, there is a noticeable dip in Mexican or Mexican-American fighters among our 20 All-Stars. When THE RING first compiled this roster in 2003, there were five such fighters listed; this year, there is one. Also, the number of fighters born in the United States shrunk from 13 in 2003 to a measly four this year. Lopez and Miguel Cotto are U.S. citizens by way of Puerto Rico, but they didn’t learn their stuff in the American amateur system, so they can’t be counted. Brits are on the rise, though. There was only one Brit All-Star in 2003, but three made the list this year, sans Hatton.

Perhaps you’re wondering why some of your favorite fighters didn’t make the list, but rest assured that many other fighters were given close consideration. It’s just that some fighters seem to lose fights as we’re creating our list, and others just fall a bit short in terms of box office and general excitement value.

The 20 fighters who made it weren't chosen solely on their ability to sell tickets and attract cable customers but the ability to fill seats definitely plays a big part in our selection process. Some fighters, Nonito Donaire for example, might not yet be a legitimate star on the level of Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, but we felt he can compete with the best in terms of talent, and is certainly on his way to stardom.

Those who were removed from last year’s list are gone because they simply didn’t do enough to merit inclusion this year. The one exception is the late Edwin Valero. He made it last time, and there was every reason to believe he’d repeat.

With that in mind, here are the 2010 All-Star Report Cards. The fighters are judged on talent, achievement, marketability, support system, and growth potential. They are presented in order of weight class, starting with the heavyweights.

Today: David Haye. Tomorrow: Tomasz Adamek

WBA heavyweight titleholder
24-1 (22 KOs)

TALENT: Haye seems to have been blessed at birth with a booming right hand and an oversized dose of self-confidence. So far, that has been more than enough. He showed chin and stamina problems when he was KO’d by Carl Thomson in 2004. Since then, he’s won 14 consecutive bouts, all but two inside the distance. He occasionally shows good speed and footwork to go along with his hitting prowess, and as he settles into the heavyweight class he’s aware that his speed will be more important than ever. At 6 feet, 3 inches (191cm) and about 220 pounds (100kg), he’s a strong, mobile heavyweight. Grade: A-

ACHIEVEMENT: Since last year’s All-Star grouping, Haye defeated a pair of veteran heavyweight stalwarts, Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz. He had the giant Valuev tottering near the end of their bout, but settled for winning a majority decision and the WBA heavyweight belt. He made his first title defense by stopping Ruiz and sending him into retirement. Knocking out Ruiz, who’d been stopped only once before, was impressive. Haye was one of the most decorated cruiserweights in that division’s 30-year history prior to becoming a heavyweight, winning the WBA, WBC, and WBO belts. He was eventually recognized as THE RING’s cruiserweight champion after traveling to France to score a seventh-round stoppage of Jean Marc Mormeck. Grade: A-

MARKETABILITY: Haye ruffled some feathers when he backed out of a bout with Wladimir Klitschko to challenge Valuev, but by taking the WBA strap from Valuev, Haye became more marketable, and a unification bout with either of the Brothers K is now more lucrative. He has yet to make an impact on American television, but he has the personality and the punch to do well here. Grade: A-

SUPPORT SYSTEM: Promotionally, Haye has jumped around a bit, from Dennis Hobson to Frank Maloney to creating his own company, Hayemaker Promotions. Golden Boy Promotions joined in as Haye’s U.S. promoter in 2008. GBP CEO Richard Schaefer sees Haye as a star in the making, and has been vocal about bringing Haye to America. Meanwhile, Adam Booth, who acts as both Haye’s manager and trainer, also happens to be Haye’s business partner in Hayemaker Promotions. You have to wonder how the GBP/Hayemaker alliance will work. The Haye/Booth team is a tight-knit group, and they have succeeded by doing things their own way, even if they occasionally rub people the wrong way. Merging with GBP is a bit like an edgy, independent film company merging with Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks. No problems so far though. Grade: B+

GROWTH POTENTIAL: With the heavyweight division in a funk of almost historical proportions, Haye is in the right place at the right time. The apparent plan is to have him fight some Brits, including Audley Harrison on Nov. 13 in Manchester, England, until a bout with a Klitschko can be made. At 29, Haye is in his prime and has time to fight a few pushovers and pad his bank account. Grade: A

Previous report cards

Wladimir Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko