Boxing: 'It is Klitschko time' declares Haye after sad Harrison farce

Pressure builds for £20m title showdown to compensate for Saturday's mismatch

David Haye will fight Wladimir Klitschko next April or May for a purse in excess of £20m in a contest that is possibly the only salvation for boxing's heavyweight division after the latest disaster.

On Saturday night just under 20,000 people watched the very public humiliation of fallen idol Audley Harrison in Manchester as Haye's fists finally ended the tragic spectacle after 1:53 of the third and last round of Harrison's career.

It was not an unexpected outcome to the World Boxing Association championship bout but the sorry fight unfolded like a slow and inevitable execution with Harrison once again unable to overcome his fears and deliver on any of his words.

Harrison left the ring immediately the débâcle was over to chants from the crowd of: "You're shit and you know you are." It was, admittedly, a disgraceful effort by a challenger in a title fight but, at the same time, it was impossible not to feel a huge degree of sadness for 2000 Olympic champion as he walked away surrounded by his devoted family. As final ignominious exits go, it will take some beating.

Haye never wasted a single punch, and ignored the sell-out crowd's boos for two rounds before ending the fight with his first attack.

It needs to be pointed out that bigger mismatches involving greats like Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and Joe Frazier have hurt the sport as much in the past but this fight was under an unusually heavy degree of scrutiny at a time when the heavyweight division so desperately needs a hero. However, when Ali, Lewis, Frazier and Louis met bums it was established that at some point very soon after their callous adventures they would have a real fight, and that is what separates modern boxing from its glorious history.

"I knew it would be the third round," said Haye. "I promised to get rid of Audley to help the public out and that is what I have done. Now it is Klitschko time and we are getting closer to doing a deal; it will be done."

A deal was done last year for Haye to fight Wladimir Klitschko, the younger of the two towering Ukrainians who hold versions of the world heavyweight title, but it collapsed and instead Haye won the WBA belt. Haye, by the way, was due to make about £1m last June and had agreed to surrender three options to get the chance, which is a fact or two that is conveniently neglected by people when they accuse Haye of running scared.

It is a time-dishonoured boxing tradition for fighters to avoid each other until they are forced to the table. It is not an invention of Haye and other modern champions. Now the London fighter and his trainer and business partner Adam Booth can sit down with the Klitschkos and their razor-sharp manager Bernd Boente and reach an agreement for a bout that will generate a small fortune, and should reward both boxers with millions more than last year's failed outing. Amazingly, Haye and Booth are often still criticised for not taking last year's contest.

"We will fight Haye at the venue which offers the most money – in Germany, at Wembley Stadium, in Abu Dhabi or Dubai," said Boente, who had previously stated that Germany was the only venue. "The deal is now 50-50 with no options but still Haye has not signed."

Haye is temporarily reluctant because his TV revenue from Sky's pay-per-view arm is far in excess of the figure that the Klitschko brothers can generate on German TV. "It is the problem," admitted Boente about the shortfall, which is more than countered by viewing figures in excess of 17m in Germany.

"Haye wants to keep 100 per cent of his British TV money and he wants us to keep 100 per cent of the German money. We want it all to be collected and then divided 50-50."

The pay-per-view revenue from Saturday's fight is thought to be about £11m. A Klitschko fight would be double that figure and that means the negotiations will continue until a compromise is reached.

"We are getting very, very close and I believe that it will happen," said Booth. "David has won the title, he's made a couple of defences, the interest in a Klitschko fight is higher than ever – it's everything that I told you it would be. Now, we can make the fight."

Boente believes that it can be made by Christmas and Booth is willing to start talking again. The sooner they sit down and the sooner a date and venue is found the better it will be for everybody who follows boxing.

The heavyweight division needs a Haye and Klitschko fight right now possibly more than it has ever needed any fight and, hopefully, a deal can be agreed soon to avoid any repeat of Saturday night.

Pacquiao shows class

Manny Pacquiao cemented his place among boxing's greats by recording a unanimous points victory over Antonio Margarito on Saturday to claim the vacant WBC super-welterweight title.

The 31-year-old landed an eighth world title in a unique eighth weight class. "It was a really hard fight, the hardest fight in my boxing career," he said after his 13th consecutive winning bout.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Assistant

£30,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a perso...

Sheridan Maine: Accounts Payable Clerk

£21,000 - £24,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you looking for a new opportunit...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Manager

£55,000 - £65,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accountant with ...

Sheridan Maine: Finance Analyst

£45,000 - £55,000 Annual: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified accountant...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor