David Haye wants a fight with Vitali Klitschko, and says he'll get his British license back to make it happen. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
David Haye has announced that should he land a 2013 fight with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko, he won't be doing so with the license he received from the Luxembourg Boxing Federation earlier this year to fight Dereck Chisora. Haye says he'll attempt to get a new license from the British Boxing Board of Control.
"It's been well-publicised already, but the reason I applied for a license from the Luxembourg Boxing Federation was because my opponent, Dereck Chisora, had seen his British license withdrawn. The only way we were able to deliver the fight the public wanted, when they wanted it, was to both apply for foreign licenses, as arranged by Chisora's promoter.
"In an ideal world, though, I'd now like to box on with a British license. I'm a British boxer, I have never had any issues with the board and, should a fight with Vitali Klitschko happen, I'd be keen to have the British Boxing Board of Control in my corner, simply because they are so experienced and are the best at what they do."
Haye's July 14 win over Chisora was, whether anyone likes it or not, one of the biggest boxing events of 2012, and there's really no doubt in my mind that he is the biggest and best fight out there for Vitali Klitschko, should Vitali continue his boxing career next year.
To argue otherwise, I think, is sort of crazy. Haye (26-2, 24 KO) is brash and understandably, many find him to be an obnoxious blowhard, particularly in light of his woeful performance against Wladimir Klitschko in 2011.
But if you try to say he doesn't "deserve" the fight, I just can't see that from any rational standpoint. If you think he doesn't deserve it because he's a dick, well, OK, but that's not really how anything works anyway -- a lot of guys would never get shots that way. The real problem I have with the logic is that we're in a world where Vitali just fought Manuel Charr, Wladimir is coming off of wins over Jean-Marc Mormeck and Tony Thompson that just plain stunk it out, and his upcoming fight with Mariusz Wach isn't exactly great, either. What's "deserve" anymore? Is Haye or is Haye not one of the true top contenders still? I have to say that he is, because I think it's very clear that he is.
Let me put it another way: If Alexander Povetkin and Kubrat Pulev, for instance, were fighting the Klitschkos, or even making noise about doing so, then that would be fine, and I'd say, from a purist standpoint, let them in before Haye gets another invite. But that's not the case. Those guys aren't pursuing the fight.
Now, as I've stated many times, my real desire is for Wladimir and Vitali to retire, and not because I think they're boring or because I don't like them, but because these fights are getting progressively worse and even as a diehard boxing fan, I just can't muster up any enthusiasm for them this year. It's been a truly forgettable year for the Klitschkos, outside of the fairly compelling and perfectly entertaining Vitali vs Chisora fight. They are the clear class of the division, but I've also always been more intrigued by a Vitali-Haye matchup than Wladimir-Haye, and I've said for a long time I think that Haye has a better shot with the elder Klitschko.
If he does get the fight -- which I think will happen if Vitali stays in boxing -- then I do hope that he doesn't lay another egg. It would be as much a chance for Haye to redeem himself as anything, and a genuine effort to win the fight alone could go a long way toward rehabbing an image that has always been a bit odd, as Haye has moments where he's purposely unlikeable, moments where that comes by accident, and also moments where he's funny and charming and quick with the wit, which make me enjoy his presence in the fight game.