Boxing: Hayemaker lands blow for fellow fighters

Heavyweight 'saviour' talks with more than just his fists as he sets up company to promote low-profile pugilists.

David Haye is an unlikely revolutionary. The Che Guevara of the thick-ear trade has a couple of million or more in the bank, homes in South London and Northern Cyprus, and these days is more likely to be seen in Stringfellows than on the streets.

Heavyweight boxing's self-styled saviour has never been shy of self-promotion, but his decision to be his own up-front man, staging his own shows and doing his own long-term TV deal, suggests the sport is becoming a whole new brawl game.

Established promoters are sceptical, and not best pleased, at this latest demonstration of pug power that sees the 27-year-old Londoner championing the cause of fellow fighters he claims are being exploited. In his best Obama-style rhetoric he tells us change is coming. And says that as far as purses are concerned, it won't be small change.

Haye's pledge to clean up a division he maintains is composed mainly of "fat slobs" has been accompanied by setting up a promotional company, Haye-maker Boxing, with his long-time friend and trainer Adam Booth, augmented by a £13 million deal with the satellite sports channel Setanta, who will show four of Haye's fights and six more under his promotional banner.

All will take place at London's O2 Arena, where just a couple of months ago he unified the world cruiserweight title. The irony is it was Frank Warren, of whom Haye now says he would "rather retire than work with again" whose Sports Network provided the platform for his leap towards superstardom, plus the near-£1m purse for his second-round demolition of Enzo Maccarinelli.

Warren, who has his own ongoing contract with Setanta, says: "What I find amazing is that I had a text from Adam Booth thanking me for putting on the fight with Maccarinelli and suggesting they would like to meet up to talk about future fights. Of course, this never materialised." Boxer-promoters, he adds, come and go. "They have all done their money or turned it in. Look at Audley Harrison."

Haye retorts that we should look at Oscar De La Hoya. Haye has also signed a five-year agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, a big-fight "co-operative" run by the still-active De La Hoya in partnership with fellow American bill-toppers Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather, to look after his US interests. Ricky Hatton, also once promoted by Warren, is among their clients.

"Golden Boy have taken over from Don King and Bob Arum and they've done it by empowering the fighters, putting control back in their hands and giving them the lion's share," says Haye. "The strategy is simple: pay the fighters what they generate, don't try to steal from them and they will make the pot bigger for everyone. That's exactly what Golden Boy do and it's worked a treat.

"They're generating more money for boxers than at any time in history. Oscar is the No 1 promoter in America now and that's why I am working with him there, and he's part of Hayemaker.

"The sport is changing now, boxers are taking charge of their own destiny. OK, so you can talk about Audley Harrison and argue that it didn't work when he promoted himself, but I have already shown that it's the right route. When I turned pro, I said I was going to do it my own way. I am the undisputed cruiser champion of the world and I will be one of the most exciting heavyweights on the planet. I have been involved in the promotion of all my fights bar the last two. It hasn't affected my training one bit. I'd rather be on the phone doing the business than lounging around watching TV.

"Promoting other fighters is not a money-making scheme for me, I make enough from my own fights, I don't need to take any money from six- to eight-rounders. Taking 15 or 20 grand from a British title fight doesn't mean anything to me, but that extra money means a hell of a lot to someone who's fighting for, say, 10 grand three times a year."

Hayemaker Boxing's acquisition of a fistful of Britain's best amateurs – including two who surely would have formed the nucleus of Great Britain's 2012 Olympic squad, outstanding middleweight George Groves 20, and 18-year-old bantamweight Michael Maguire – has caused alarm, the Amateur Boxing Association saying that the boxers were offered "unbelievable money" to turn pro.

Haye is unfazed: "I'm not starting this company to take money from fighters, I'm giving it to them. There are too many fighters out there not getting what they should be. I've made sure I've got the lion's share at every stage of my career. So many people have told me I'm crazy, don't do it, you'll be blackballed. There'll be scare tactics to get opponents to pull out. There's been a few things going on in the background, where other promoters are worried, shouting the odds, but if they are as powerful as they think they are, why should they worry about us? We're expecting some dirty tactics but remember, I punch hard."

Warren's offer of £600,000 to fight the Commonwealth champion, Matt Skelton, which would have tested Haye's heavyweight potential, was called "derisory". Warren says: "Setanta are taking a huge risk. Haye looks the part and talks well but I am not convinced. Every time he gets hit on the chin he goes on the floor. You can't put muscles on chins. What happens to the Setanta deal if he gets knocked out?"

But Haye responds: "I'll show the world what heavyweight boxing really can be. At the moment you have one fat guy fighting an even fatter guy for the world title. It's a disgrace, a joke. It's time for me to come in, lean and sharp as a real heavyweight. This will be an exciting ride."

The one-time wild child of the luvvie circuit has chutzpah. When, in London recently, Haye confronted Wladimir Klitschko, whose IBF and WBO heavyweight titles he covets after a projected eliminator against the ex-champion Hasim Rahman, there were echoes of Muhammad Ali's "Ugly Bear" pursuit of Sonny Liston. "He was so loud I could have heard his voice overseas," said the big Ukrainian. "He's a nice guy and he's obviously very self-confident, but he is just so loud it's unbelievable."

There is no doubt that Haye has the punch, the pugnacity, the personality to be sport's next superstar. He insists that as his own man he has found his feet. All he has to do is stay on them.

The making of Haye

The kid gloves: David Deron Haye, born Catford, London, 13 October 1980. Son of a national karate champion. Worked as a male model while boxing as an amateur at Fitzroy Lodge club.

The apprentice: KO'd the then ABA light-heavyweight champion Courtney Fry in 1999 but missed out on the 2000 Sydney Olympics after a controversial defeat in the qualifiers. Won England's first World Amateur Championships medal (silver) in 2001.

The professional: Turned pro in December 2002 and became a big hitter in small halls. Record: 22 wins, with 20 KO's; one defeat, stopped by Carl Thompson. Became the WBC and WBA world cruiserweight champion last November, stopping the French holder, Jean-Marc Mormeck, after being floored and cut. Unified title with a second-round stoppage of the WBO champion, Enzo Maccarinelli, at 02 Arena in March. Announced he would be fighting permanently at heavyweight.

The promoter: Always self-managed, he had fought for Frank Maloney and Frank Warren but has now formed Hayemaker Boxing, following Audley Harrison (A-Force Promotions), Naseem Hamed (Prince Promotions) and Ricky Hatton (Punch Promotions) as a fighting impresario.

The hungry fighter: He has a dietary routine of six small protein-packed meals a day, all the size of his outstretched hand.

The ladies' man: Unmarried, a 6ft 3in babe magnet. Abstains from sex for six weeks before a fight. "I've had more than one lifetime's share of women so I'm definitely not motivated by pussy."

The fan: Supports Colchester Utd.

The strength: Fast right uppercut.

The weakness: His chin – and chocolate.

The ambition: A title fight with supreme heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko next year.

The outcome: Depends who hits who on the chin first.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015