Former cruiserweight champion and heavyweight titleholder David Haye, who once said he had planned to retire by age 30, says he'll be making a comeback in 2016 at age 35, and after three years out of the ring.
Haye, who last fought in July 2012, knocking out Dereck Chisora, was scheduled to face Tyson Fury in a highly anticipated fight in 2013, but had to reschedule for early 2014. That fight, too, was canceled, when Haye underwent shoulder surgery and was reportedly advised to retire from boxing.
There have been various stories about Haye (26-2, 24 KO) making a return over the course of 2015, but tonight he took to Twitter to ask fans who they'd like to see him fight when he returns next year:
Who would the fans like my first comeback fight to be against after my 3 and a half year absence from the ring?— David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) November 15, 2015
Haye has fought just two times in the last five years, losing to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, in a fight that was arguably the most disappointing event of the decade prior to Mayweather-Pacquiao, and then the 2012 win over Chisora in a grudge match that started with a "glassing" incident after the Chisora-Vitali Klitschko fight five months prior.
While Haye was impressive the last time he fought, and has seemingly stayed in great shape over the years, it's always dangerous for a fighter to return after an absence of this length, especially in a division where Haye is already undersized most of the time. But if he's healthy and still has his skills, count me in as someone who would welcome him back to the division. Love him or hate him (and that's a phrase I hate using, I promise), he adds some spark to the division.
As for fighters he could face upon return next year, seeing him in with someone like Sam Sexton, for instance, might not be a bad first fight back just to test the waters. If all goes well, Haye would end that fight in short order, and then could more comfortably go into something more significant. And if he showed serious rust or decline against Sexton, then the comeback could be cut short. And there are several other options who could be seen as "safe," too -- names like Manuel Charr, Christian Hammer, or Johann Duhaupas for European fighters, or someone like Eric Molina from the States.
Do you think Haye has a future if indeed he does return? Will he get back to being among the best in the division?