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Two minutes and one second into the ninth round, the towel was thrown in and David Haye had made his first successful defence of his WBA Heavyweight title. Although his opponent, John Ruiz, was never expected to win this fight, Haye will have been particularly happy with the stoppage that he had promised. With this fight out of the way, the hopes for a unification bout with one of the formidable Klitschko brothers, Vitali or Wladimir, intensifies.

John Ruiz, the mandatory challenger for Haye’s title, is a former 2-time heavyweight champion, and has been in the ring with some of the best heavyweights in recent times – a trio of matches with Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr., Hasim Rahman, twice against Nikolay Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev. He had only been stopped once previously in 54 fights – 14 years ago against David Tua – so the nature of the victory was particularly pleasing. However, he hopes this is only the beginning.

Talks are expected to commence within the week to try and arrange the fight that people want to see. Haye v Klitschko. However, despite rumours of a £10m+ deal for each fighter, it is not as easy as it seems. It is believed that Haye wants to face the younger brother, Wladimir, first, this autumn in front of a packed-out Wembley Stadium. However, the Klitschkos would prefer the fight to be staged in their adopted country of Germany. A fight between the two had been arranged last year, but Haye was forced to pull out with a back injury sustained during his training camp. There are other complications in the deal though.

Haye is contractually obliged to give the Russian giant, Nikolay Valuev, whom he beat last year to win the title, a rematch. If Valuev chooses to cash in this clause, Haye will have to fight him. However, there are hopes that the two sides can reach an agreement to suspend this clause, allowing Haye to chase the Klitschkos. Another complication is that Wladimir Klitschko must face the mandatory challenger for his title, Aleksandr Povetkin. There are hopes that a deal can be arranged so that the winner of a possible Haye v Wladimir fight would go on to defend the title against Povetkin, before a possible unification bout against the elder brother, Vitali, were Haye to win both of these fights.

The feud between the brothers and David Haye has become very personal, ever since Haye set his sights on the heavyweight division. It is clear that neither side likes the other. Ahead of his fight with Valuev, Haye caused uproar by wearing a controversial t-shirt depicted the severed heads of the Klitschko brothers. Despite demands for an apology, none has been forthcoming. Wladimir has challenged Haye to live up to his words, saying “action speaks louder than words, and right now, he is a loser because he bitched out twice – me and then Vitali.” Following his victory against Ruiz, Haye claimed that any of the shots he had landed with that night would have knocked out the brothers.

However, it is no forgone conclusion that Haye would be able to beat either of the brothers. It is no coincidence that they have ruled the division for many years, and it would be an enormous step-up in class for Haye. They are both more powerful, stronger and athletic, have greater reach and more technical ability than any fighters he has faced before. Whilst they are not necessarily the most exciting fighters, there is no denying that they are technically very talented. Haye would have to up his game if he were to have any chance. He was hurt on occasions by Ruiz – his low left hand in defence is an area that would have to be rectified, otherwise he would be knocked out by either of the brothers.

Having said this though, David Haye is exactly what the former flagship division needed. He is brash and cocky, he is one of the most charismatic heavyweight fighters since the great Muhammad Ali, he promises thrilling bouts, and delivers. However, American interest in the division is still lacking, given that neither Haye, nor Wladimir’s previous bout were shown on television there. A fight such as this, given the personal nature of the backstory, would have the potential to relight the division. One hopes that it happens, but nothing can be guaranteed in the complicated world of boxing.

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