Little Giants: David Haye Looking to Make History

Primo Carnera (right) suffered his share of losses to much smaller men. (Photo via www.boxingforum.com)

When David Haye climbs into the ring later today to take on WBA heavyweight titlist Nikolai Valuev, he'll be looking to make history as best I can tell.

Should Haye win the fight, he will have set a record for overcoming the largest official weight difference in notable heavyweight boxing history. Just a quick scan of some famous fights and other notable bouts shows that Haye's 98-pound disadvantage tomorrow would top the record that Ruslan Chagaev set when he beat Valuev in 2007.

Now, I might be wrong, but I'm fairly sure I'm not. If David Haye can beat Valuev tomorrow, he will have made some form of history, no matter how frivolous it really is in the grand scheme of things.

One note of course: Valuev isn't just heavy, he's seven feet tall. Some of the guys on this chart were giants for their time, such as Primo Carnera (6'5 1/2"), but the height differential tomorrow is quite enormous, too. Jack Sharkey, who beat Carnera while giving up 59 pounds, was about 6'0". Max Baer was 6'2 1/2", and Joe Louis was 6'2". They gave up very little height to Carnera. Jack Dempsey's very famous win over Jess Willard was similar -- Willard was a massive 6'6 1/2", while Dempsey was also quite a big man at 6'1".

Haye, at about 6'3", gives up a lot more height than those guys did. Valuev has often beern compared to some of these guys, relative to the eras. Like Carnera, many have seen him as a lumbering lummox with no appreciable skill, but I'd actually say he's a far better boxer than Carnera was.

Here are some of the notable fights Haye over Valuev would top. (Notes: The biggest weight differential loss of Carnera's career was actually 68 pounds to Larry Gains in 1932, and I included Holmes-Butterbean mostly for fun.)

Date Fight Weight Differential
2007-04-14 Ruslan Chagaev (228.25) over Nikolai Valuev (319) 90.75
2002-07-27 Larry Holmes (254) over Eric "Butterbean" Esch (334) 80
1935-06-25 Joe Louis (196) over Primo Carnera (260.5) 64.5
1931-10-12 Jack Sharkey (202) over Primo Carnera (261) 59
1919-07-04 Jack Dempsey (187.5) over Jess Willard (245) 57.5
1934-06-14 Max Baer (209.5) over Primo Carnera (263.25) 53.75
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