After all the mindless insults, the groundless confidence and downright disrespect – and that was just David Haye’s half of the press conference – the boxing is about to begin. It’s over to Hamburg where even the prostitutes may stop turning tricks for a few minutes to watch the biggest fight in the heavyweight division for many a year.
The national anthems have been butchered, Michael Buffer gives us his customary ‘Let’s get ready to rumbllllllllllllleeeeeeee’ and we’re just about ready to go, but David Haye takes a moment to look at the camera and say he thinks the earth is flat, he believes in Intelligent Design and thinks Police Academy 7 was the best one of the bunch. You get the impression he’s being deliberately controversial to sell a few more Pay Per View subscriptions.
They step into the middle of the ring, touch gloves, briefly consider going for a kiss on the cheek before thinking better of it and finally the fight begins. It’s a cagey opening round with neither fighter willing to take the lead. The last time I saw two men this reluctant to take the initiative, Elton John ended up in a sham marriage. The judges are having a hard time awarding the round to either boxer so they opt for a game of Rock Paper Scissors to decide who gets it. Sadly, one of the judges thinks they’re talking about a Thumb War and ruins to whole thing. It’s going to have to go down as a draw.
OH THAT’S A LOW BLOW! Spotting Heroes actress and recent ex-girlfriend of Klitschko, Hayden Panettiere sitting ringside, Haye taunts his opponent by saying “it must have been handy the way you could drop her off at school the next morning.” The referee calls a halt to the fight and instructs the judges to take a point off Haye’s score for excessive use of a sharp tongue. Haye doesn’t let up however and asks “have you never heard of the ‘half your age plus seven rule’?”. Klitschko is momentarily startled, but comes back at the Englishman by saying “Actually – where I’m from, it’s half your age plus three is fine.”
It’s been a tense affair so far with both boxers intent on sizing each other up. At least someone threw a punch in that round which means this fight automatically becomes the Fight of the Decade in the heavyweight division. We did see signs of Haye’s superior speed in that round with the Londoner nipping out to the toilet and returning before Klitschko has had a chance to look out from behind his gloves.
The rounds with more of the same from the fighters, but shortly after they come out of their corners there’s that dreaded sound of the chug of engines getting closer. The referee, the two fighters and the members of the crowd who haven’t yet been woken by the noise look up to see … it looks like a parachutist descending to the ring. On closer inspection, it looks like Declan Donnelly, but with a giant forehead strapped to his back. No wait, that’s Ant. It’s Ant and Dec. They land in the ring and serve a writ on Michael Buffer for a copyright breach on his use of the phrase ‘Let’s Get Ready To Rumble’. Although the ring announcer has registered it as a trademark, the TV presenting and dodgy competition running duo say their trade-marking of the phrase pre-dates his.
There’s a lot of head-scratching amongst the crowd. The Germans are renowned for their poor taste in music, but even they are struggling to recall PJ and Duncan’s moderate hit from the early 90s. In an effort to jog some memories, Ant and Dec decide to reprise their Byker Grove characters to give an impromptu performance of the manipulative teenybop crap. I’ve seen Tyson biting Holyfield’s ear, Antonio Margarito lacing his hand-wraps with plaster of Paris and Audley Harrison’s professional career, but this is without doubt the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in a boxing ring folks.
Right, so far you’ve paid £14.95/€22.95 for 18 minutes of virtually no action. That would never happen if you took that £14.95/€22.95 down to the Reeperbahn – at the very least you’d end up with a mild STI. Things liven up as David Haye starts to attack. After a series of probing jabs, he lands a thunderous right hook on the chin of Klitschko and sends him to the canvas. The Ukrainian gets to his feet like a recently awoken pensioner who’s been told the Cliff Richard concert finished a couple of hours ago. He beats the count and before Haye can build on his good work, the bell sounds. Using our expensive technology we can tell you more about that monstrous punch. Apparently our calculations tell us Haye’s punch carried roughly the same force as a slap from a woman whose husband took too long to respond to ‘does my bum look big in this?’ Savagery.
It goes from good to even better for the Hayemaker. During the break, his corner informed him that sales of that infamous t-shirt which features an image of the decapitated Klitschko brothers have earned him an extra £500,000. It doesn’t continue for long however and news also emerges that sales of his ‘HEY BABY, I HAVE A PHD (a pretty huge dahlia)’ slogan t-shirt are practically non-existent outside horticultural circles.
The lack of royalties he’s getting from the sales of the decapitation t-shirts has clearly enraged Klitschko and he unloads a series of powerful punches to Haye’s head and body. Haye wobbles and clings on to his opponent for dear life. The referee steps in to separate them and a load sneeze sends Haye tumbling to the floor. He gets up, but takes a seven count and he’s clearly struggling. I haven’t seen the Hayemaker look this uncomfortable since he had to interview Justin ‘Lego Hair’ Bieber on David Haye Versus … . He survives, but Klitschko is picking up more points than George Michael’s driving license.
We’re in the home stretch now and we get our first look at the scorecards of the Sky Sports commentary team. Jim Watt has Klitschko marginally in front, Barry McGuigan has Klitschko edging it and special guest summariser Gok Wan gives Klitschko full marks for his classic red shorts, but describes Haye’s Union Jack shorts as being ‘sooooo early 90s. darling’.
WHAT A RIGHT HOOK! AND THERE’S THE STRAIGHT LEFT! AND NOW THE UPPERCUT! HE’S GOT HIM ROCKING. Ouch – he may not be getting up after that onslaught, but I suppose that’s what you get for sitting in Andy Carroll’s seat. There’s an explosive start to the 10th Round as after relieving the VIP bar of all their Newcastle Brown, the Liverpool striker has finally taken his seat at ringside. The action’s hotting up inside the ring too as Haye realises he either needs to knock Klitschko out to win or hope that the judges are made up by a panel of FIFA executives who are happy to change the result in return for untraceable ‘donations’.
There’s fear of a Tyson-Holyfield ear-munch as Haye comes out of his corner for the 11th Round without his gum-shield. Those fears are allayed as it becomes clear that the Hayemaker’s plan is to get in close and whisper sweet nothings into Klitschko’s ear and hopefully play on the latent homophobia stereotypes would have us believe is so common in the men of Eastern Europe. It doesn’t has the desired effect however as Klitschko responds with a theatrical “you go girl-frieeennnnddd” and launches a surprise counter-attack with a quick burst of Beyonce’s “If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it.”
You get the impression that Klitschko thinks he’s done enough to take this on points. He spends the early part of the final round backing away from Haye and at one point leaning over the ropes to chat up one of the Ring Girls by saying “Hey baby, maybe later we can hava the sex?” Ouch – that’s not pretty, but technique never has been his strong point. Haye’s giving it everything he’s got now. “The Orange Revolution failed to achieve the long-lasting cultural shift that was required to fix the Ukrainian political system,” he says, quickly following up with a “the inefficient guzzling of natural resources seriously inhibits your country’s chances of becoming one of Europe’s economic superpowers.” It’s biting stuff moments before the bell goes, but is it enough to sway the verdict in his favour?
The fight is over and both fighters are celebrating like they’ve won it. Haye climbs the ropes in each of the corners and salutes a crowd that are already more interested in getting the pick of the prostitutes on the Reeperbahn. In the other corner, the delight is obvious on the face of Klitschko as he turns his deep scowl into a look of mild annoyance. The referee has gathered the two fighters in the middle of the ring and Michael Buffer has the result in his hands.
We’ve got a split decision and that decision is that this Pay Per View was probably worth the ridiculous price. Two judges say it was value for money, but the other judge says he would rather have spent it on a hand-job from an Asian hooker. Well, you can’t please everyone – despite the prostitute’s best efforts.
In less important news, David Haye wins the fight and unifies all the major heavyweight titles. It’s great news for him as it sets up a fight with the other Klitschko brother and – more importantly – gives him another chance to shift the remaining unsold units of controversial decapitation t-shirt.
Let the pointless insults in a bid to build media interest begin!