I’ve been thinking some more about this from the perspective of motivation and achievement.
For Haye, the last round showed how he could have won it. He had real desperation and put Wlad ‘on the back foot’. He fought with fire.
I think this is the only the strategy for beating Wlad and I think Haye knew it. You have to be a psychological and physical wrecking ball like Mike Tyson at age 21 or so.
Here are some examples of a psychological wrecking ball:
“How dare these boxers challenge me with their primitive skills? It makes me angry. They’re just as good as dead.”
“My power is discombobulatingly devastating I could feel is muscle tissues collapse under my force. It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.”
“I just want them to keep bringing guys on and I’m going to strip them of their health. I bring pain, a lot of pain.”
This is a person that could get to Wlad. And you can’t just say these things, you have to back them up with performance to build a reputation.
At the beginning of the whole mess, Haye had a chance to be something like that guy. But I think that after a few face-to-face encounters with Haye, Wlad realized David is more class clown than terrifying maniac. Haye never had a psychological edge.
And I really think David was looking past the fight, a gigantic no-no at the championship level of any sport. Can a boxer that spends his time thinking and talking about retirement after this ‘one last fight’ really be as prepared as a young kid with nothing to lose?
Let’s put it this way: Tyson-21 didn’t spend any time talking about retirement. He wanted to devastate opponents for years and years.
Does a 30-year-old celebrity worried about his long term health (why else retire so early?) and looking for a payday deserve to be champ?
As a Haye fan, is it frustrating? Absolutely.
If he had Tyson-21 mentality, every round would have looked like R12 and someone would have gotten knocked out. I’d say probably Wlad, but I’m biased.
At the least you can say it was a fight that Wlad COULD have lost, as opposed to ‘his kind of fight’ in which he beats anyone in history, probably.