Making Haye, By Elliot Worsell

 

As he had long promised, David Haye announced his retirement from the heavyweight arena on 13 October, his 31st birthday. But no one who read the epilogue to Making Haye, published two weeks later, which revealed that Haye remained in training, believed he meant it.

Their scepticism was justified by the announcement shortly afterwards that negotiations were taking place with Vitali Klitschko, the WBC title-holder and nine years his senior, for a meeting in March next year. Elliot Worsell is a close friend and indeed part-time employee of Haye, having met him eight years ago as a precocious 16-year-old already writing about boxing. Worsell figures heavily in the story himself, playing Boswell to Haye's Dr Johnson, and one can sense both men gaining in confidence and experience in their chosen trades as they journey together.

Like Haye, Worsell occasionally stumbles, stretching too far as he reaches for a telling simile or pithy phrase, but for the most part the narrative flows easily. And while Haye has endorsed the book, it is by no means a hagiography, as Worsell feels free to call his friend a "pathological liar" with "a spiteful tongue", and criticise his approach to training, while admitting to quaking in his boots as he did so. The strength of the story lies in the insider's account of how Haye and his manager, Adam Booth, plot his career path and deal with the inevitable disasters along the way. Despite his close bond with Worsell, Haye is still something of an enigma, seemingly keeping most of his inner thoughts and emotions to himself as he alternates between raucous nightclubbing and introspective preparation for his next bout. But it's a perceptive, honest and engrossing book, from which both men ultimately emerge with credit.

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