More Of The Same: Heavyweight Champ Wladimir Klitschko Beats Hyped Challenger David Haye To Continue His Reign

The Klitschko era of heavyweight boxing continued Saturday on HBO in much the same way it always has: with a thoroughly unexciting win. David Haye offered the best hope the division had of upheaval at best or a stirring battle at worst, but Haye spent more time complaining to the referee than he did throwing punches. By fight’s end, champion Wladimir Klitschko won a wide unanimous decision in a fight few thought would see the final bell, and one that fizzled compared to the high hopes inspired by the most meaningful and anticipated heavyweight match-up in nearly a decade.

I scored four rounds for Haye, but I was probably a touch generous. Klitschko nearly doubled Haye’s punches landed, although there were few altogether. It shouldn’t surprise us that a Klitschko opponent found few openings for attack, because their style nullifies all offense; it was, however, surprising that Haye, with his big talk, didn’t switch to going for broke until the 12th round, when he landed the only punch that seemed to hurt Klitschko. I thought Haye would do what he did early, which was circle backward and try to pick his spots. But the spots never came. And when they never came, Haye never tried to force the moment save for in spurts.

Haye claimed afterward that he broke his toe weeks ago and had trouble pushing off to launch his assault, but even if true, it came off like post-fight whining to match his whining during the fight. And the whining was substantial. So substantial was his crying about Klitschko pushing him down — which didn’t happen nearly as often as appearance suggested, despite Klitschko getting deducted a point four it in the 7th — that the referee called one of Haye’s slips in the 11th a knockdown, out of pure irritation.

My scorecard gave Haye the 3rd, 7th, 9th and 12th, and that was more generous than most of the judges who scored the fight 118-108, 117-109 and 116-110. There were some close rounds, mind you, that could have gone either way. But I think I was just about as inclined to give Haye the benefit of the doubt as anyone should have been. Some of the rounds I scored for Haye were rounds where he landed a single, powerful shot, and Klitschko landed his share in return, not to mention his usual jab. I noticed I was virtually alone on Twitter in scoring them for Haye.

So, Haye stank out the joint after acting like he was going to save the heavyweight division, even if the marks on Klitschko’s face suggested he’d been in a more competitive fight than usual. Klitschko fought his usual spoiler style of fight, which is what Haye was going to rid us of. Instead, Haye merely handed Klitschko his best career win. It validated Klitschko somewhat as a fighter, but did nothing to change the widely held view that his fights are an extended bore.

Do you hear that sound? It’s not the blustery trash-talk of a victorious Haye. It’s the steady, slow beat of the Klitschko metronome. If you were aroused by the Haye insurgency about the potential of the heavyweights — and I know I was — the metronome can now carry you gently back to your slumber.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick…

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.