David Haye went to Paris last week knowing that a win in his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association cruiserweight title fight on Saturday night was considered by many to be a fight too far.
Haye has been in the boxing news since turning professional live on BBC1 five years ago but his record and his reputation suffered in 2004 when he was stopped on his feet but out of stamina by Carl Thompson. Many still consider him a pretty boy fighter but that all changed in Paris late on Saturday night.
In the opposite corner and defending his two belts was Jean Marc Mormeck and in the sport of boxing there are few champions with his savage credentials. Many people close to Haye had advised him in vain to forget Mormeck and concentrate on a more sensible career as a heavyweight.
Haye, you see, needs to lose about 25 pounds to shrink his massive frame down to the cruiserweight limit of 14.4. To make the Mormeck fight a reality and to beat the scales, Haye worked in isolation in northern Cyprus for three months.
On Saturday night Mormeck was set to rumble and advanced around the ring in pursuit of Haye with a familiar tight defence. Haye seemed relaxed but it was clear that Mormeck had both the tactics and the power to hurt the young Londoner.
In round four with the tense fight poised, Haye was sent tumbling to the canvas when a short left hook bounced off his temple. Haye knew enough to survive the round but his legs remained out of his control throughout the next round.
"My eyes and my head were clear but somebody else was moving my legs for me," said Haye.
By the end of round six Mormeck was two points in front and it looked like he would simply be too strong and too experienced for Haye. However, Haye has stopped or knocked out 18 of his previous 19 opponents and in round seven on Saturday night this is exactly what he did to Mormeck. A sickening right hook started the separation of the Frenchman's senses and another equally disturbing right to the back of the neck sent Mormeck down. He beat the count by one second but had no idea where he was.
Haye had somehow managed to win both belts. But he is now determined to move to heavyweight and end his long-standing battle against the scales. Sadly, a move to heavyweight will put an end to all speculation about an eagerly anticipated fight against World Boxing Organisation champion Enzo Maccarinelli.
Haye agreed to fight Maccarinelli at heavyweight but it is unlikely that the Welshman, who seldom weighs more than 14 stone, will agree to a fight against Haye who is unlikely to be less than 16 stone.
On Saturday night Haye's victory was a tremendous performance and an upset, and he deserves all of the riches that he could possibly find in a heavyweight division that it so desperately short on glamour that his imminent arrival has already started to cause a ripple of excitement on both sides of the Atlantic.
Perhaps Maccarinelli and Haye will one day do business but it looks unlikely it will be in the next six months.
* Miguel Cotto retained his WBA welterweight title with a unanimous decision over "Sugar" Shane Mosley in an action-packed 12 rounds at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.Reuse content