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November 11, 2009

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Home » Sports » Boxing

Haye shrugs off Ali talks, ready for Klitschkos

NEW WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has shrugged off comparisons with Muhammad Ali after de-throning giant Russian Nikolai Valuev on a majority points decision in Germany at the weekend.

It was only Haye's third heavyweight contest and he won plaudits for his eye-catching style and speed and ability to charm outside the ring.

"I read the Ali comparisons in a few reports and felt a bit uncomfortable seeing that," Haye told reporters in a London hotel on Monday while sitting on a throne.

"Ali was the greatest and I've had one heavyweight title win, that's it, so I can't come close to even being mentioned in the same way as Ali.

"I've got a long, long way to go. Even if I knocked out both the Klitschkos in one night and cleaned up the rest of the division, I still couldn't be mentioned in the same breath as Ali.

As long as I'm talked about in 50 years as a great heavyweight I know that I would have done my job."

While Haye, who outclassed Valuev despite breaking his right hand on the Russian's granite-like head in the third round, said he was concentrating on a mandatory defence against American John Ruiz next year, Richard Schaefer, the chief executive of Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions predicted Haye could become huge across the Atlantic.

"I really think we have seen the birth of one of the greats," Schaefer said.

"You look at Floyd Mayweather, Oscar de la Hoya, Ricky Hatton, they're all fighters that were very talented but also very charismatic as well.

"They know how to talk, how to entertain, they are the total package and David is like that ... it's not even something you can learn in the gym. He has the personality to be embraced by the American public, he can become a major attraction.

"I've already had a call from HBO (a US pay-per-view channel) and also had interest from the MGM in Las Vegas, these are all very strong signs that David Haye will be huge.

"The Klitschko's failed to capture the American market. The Americans haven't had a heavyweight that interests them for a long time and it doesn't matter that Haye's not American."

Former undisputed cruiserweight world champion Haye said he had put the heavyweight division back on the map and was confident he would defeat Ruiz before moving on to unify the heavyweight division by beating IBF and WBO champion Vladimir Klitschko and his brother Vitali, the WBC champion.

"I feel I will knockout John Ruiz after beating someone 7ft 2in tall. Someone who is a foot shorter and the same weight as me, it will feel like another cruiserweight fight and I will blast straight through him.

"Then I want to be unified champion and the Klitschkos are definitely in my sights. I am not fussed which one it is. Whichever one is available."


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