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Anber: Haye talked big but didn't deliver in title bout

Russ Anber
7/5/2011 1:38:08 AM
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It's only talk!

Time and time again, I have repeated those very same words to fighters at all levels that, in one way or another, were the target of an opponent's trash talking. Amateur or pro, in person or in print, it didn't matter. The end response was always the same. It's only talk!

Where's all the talk now David?

I have been lucky enough to make my living in the fight game for over 30 years now, and during my time I have seen the supposed mind games, and verbal assaults that fighters have levied against one another in an attempt to garner the upper hand.

I have been witness to Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran squaring off at their Montreal press conference, some 30 years ago. I watched Eddie Melo spread his reign of verbal terror on the Canadian landscape, and most recently I watched Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins engage in hate-filled verbal bantering. These are merely a few of the possibly thousands of press conferences, public trainings and weigh-ins which I witnessed, where one or both participants exchanged in a sometime cruel display of verbose idiocy. Did somebody mention Ricardo Mayorga?

The lead up to this weekend's World Heavyweight Championship fight (If you can call it a fight), between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye ranked right up there in the annals of boxing history as perhaps the most hurtful, disgusting displays of a verbal attack that I have ever seen. To make matters even worse, and this is what really magnifies the ignorance in which it was delivered, the culprit, David Haye, didn't back up one single word of what he said. As a matter of fact, this might be, and I will put it out there for you fight fans, the fight in which the loudest bark had the least bite of all. In my memory, I cannot remember a fighter, especially one involved in a championship match, who said so many hurtful, insulting and degrading things, who promised to do so much, yet who delivered so very little.

Where's all the talk now David?

Now before you start preaching to me about this all being done to sell tickets, this isn't my first taste of professional boxing. I know, better than most, the importance of 'selling' a fight. I know the importance of making headlines. I know the importance of putting yourself in a public opinion position where you force your way into a championship fight. As a trainer and manager, I too have played my part in this as well. While I am somewhat more conservative about my approach, I understand the need for it. While I despise what Ricardo Mayorga does, I love the class always exhibited by Manny Pacquiao.

While everyone is surely different, I have no problem whatsoever in someone tooting his own horn. As a matter of fact, done correctly it can be exciting and refreshing to see someone exude such confidence. For those who enjoy, and who are comfortable doing it, I salute you. Self-praise, in my opinion, is fair game in the world of verbal sparring in professional boxing.

However, personal insults, disgusting, profanity-laced personal attacks, as well as depicting violence against family members, crosses the line, big time!

Before I go on, please, please don't even begin to compare, or bring up Muhammad Ali and his antics in your defence of David Haye. If you are unable to discern the difference between arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time and a 'wannabe' like David Haye, you have no legitimate grounds on which to be forming an opinion.

Where's all the talk now David?

In short, the classless Haye, talked himself into a multi-million dollar fight by attacking someone who, in fact, ultimately gave Haye the possibility to make the millions upon millions of dollars. Let's face it, how much would Haye have made if John Ruiz was still champion? Klitshcko's dominance and star power, especially in Europe, afforded Haye the possibility of cashing in. For that, Haye trashed Klitschko like a two-bit bum.

I am not a huge fan of the Klitschko style of boxing. I've never enjoyed the Eastern European style, even going back to my days as a trainer on Canada's National Team in which I was fortunate enough to have toured Europe and part of the Soviet Bloc. I am certainly not saying you have to be a fan either.

I do however respect my sport to the highest degree and I respect even more so the fighters who have attained the highest degree in the sport. Wladimir and brother Vitali have dominated the heavyweight division since Lennox Lewis said goodbye a decade ago. As a member of the boxing fraternity or as a fan, the least you could do is respect the achievements made by both, and those achievements are monumental. Haye pretended to be disrespectful, when in fact he was over respectful and genuinely fearful of following up on his predictions and promises.

Where's all the talk now David?

During my years in the game, I have talked to literally thousands of fighters. I have spoken to them before and after fights. I have often heard fighters say one thing before and then say another after. I've heard fighters tell me:

"His left was better than I thought",

"I couldn't see the right hand",

"His footwork was too good", etc.

However, I have NEVER had a fighter tell me,

"Wow all that pre-fight talk got to me, I lost because my opponent beat me with his words",

"I couldn't get my face out of the way of his left hook because I was thinking about what he said to me at the press conference",

"The guy talked to me so much I forgot how to fight".

At the end of the day, he who fights best wins, he who handles the pressure best wins, he who trains hardest wins. He who talks best, only talks best!

It's only talk!

Sadly what Haye didn't know, or refused to listen to, was that the fans never remember how you entered the ring, they only remember how you left the ring. Haye left humiliated, dominated and exposed!

And he deserved every bit of it!




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