UNSUPPORTED BROWSER
Counter Punch

Haye sets his sights on Vitali Klitschko after knocking out Chisora

David Haye, Dereck Chisora David Haye's only losses came against Wladimir Klitschko last year and Carl Thompson in 2004. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

LONDON -- Three thoughts from David Haye’s fifth-round knockout of Dereck Chisora ...

That was a heavyweight fight. The scuffle in Munich in February set the tone, and the animosity between Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) and Chisora didn’t dissipate a bit before the bell Saturday. The tension was soup-thick. When the bell rang, Haye and Chisora tore into each other, Chisora bulling forward, trying to back Haye into the ropes, Haye backing up, boxing, winging power shots when Chisora let his guard down.

Chisora ate some big punches in the first four rounds, but it wasn’t until the fifth when Haye, backing up again, dropped him twice with a pair of crushing right hands. Chisora (15-4) got up after both but was badly hurt following the second one, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

Haye is back. Haye took a lot of grief after his loss to Wladimir Klitschko in July when he flashed a broken pinkie toe in the ring and blamed the defeat on it. But nothing can diminish this win. Haye did what Vitali Klitschko could not: He put Chisora down in spectacular fashion. He is fast, exciting and popular -- most of the 30,000-plus crowd at Upton Park were behind him -- and a skilled trash talker, to boot. The heavyweight depth chart still begins with the Klitschko brothers, but Haye’s win rockets him right back toward the top.

Paging, Vitali Klitschko. Haye has been chasing Klitschko for months, and after the fight made another impassioned plea for a shot at Vitali’s WBC heavyweight title. He will have to wait awhile -- Klitschko has a fight with Manuel Charr in September and after that plans to devote his attention to the Ukraine parliamentary elections in October -- but it’s a very appealing fight. Haye has been a Klitschko antagonist for years, and Vitali has made no secret of his desire to knock him out. "I've sent out a very scary message," AFP quoted Haye as saying after beating Chisora. "I'll be surprised if Vitali Klitschko wants to fight me after that. He will no doubt try to fight some chump and then retire to be a politician." There is also a genuine disdain between Haye’s manager, Adam Booth, and Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, but Klitschko-Haye looms as the most compelling heavyweight fight out there.

-- Chris Mannix

More Counter Punch

SI.com

Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.

SI.com

Click the share icon to bookmark us.