Klitschko beats Haye by unanimous decision

Wladimir Klitschko won a unanimous decision over David Haye,

adding the WBA title to his heavyweight haul on Saturday.

The victory in a rain-soaked football stadium in Hamburg means

Klitschko and his older brother, Vitali, hold all three major

heavyweight titles.

Wladimir already had the IBF title (and minor WBO, IBO belts),

while Vitali was the WBC champion.

Klitschko dominated almost from the opening bell against Haye –

a smaller fighter who took few chances – winning for the 14th

straight time and improving to 17-2 in title fights. But he never

knocked Haye down in a bout that did not live up to its advance

hype.

”He was scared to fight me,” Klitschko said. ”I was expecting

more of a challenge in the ring, but he was super defensive.”

All three judges gave it to Klitschko, scoring the 12-round

showdown 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110.

The 35-year-old Klitschko improved to 56-3 (49 KOs), while Haye

dropped to 25-2 (23 KOs). The 30-year-old British fighter’s only

previous loss was in 2004, when he was knocked out by countryman

Carl Thompson in a cruiserweight fight.

Haye, who stirred most of the hype with often crass

trash-talking, said he hurt a toe on his right foot in training

three weeks ago and lost some of his explosive power because of

it.

”I couldn’t give everything I needed to, it was really

frustrating,” Haye said in the ring. ”I had to knock him out and

unfortunately I couldn’t do it.”

Just to prove it, Haye stood on a table during the post-fight

news conference and showed his swollen right foot to Klitschko and

dozens of journalists.

”There was a bee that bit you?” Klitschko joked, and advised

Haye to avoid appearing like ”a sore loser.”

Haye slipped to the canvas repeatedly as he got into clinches

with the heavier, taller and more experienced Ukrainian, who was

fighting in his home base.

Referee Genaro Rodriguez finally had enough of it and gave Haye

a count when he slipped in the 11th round. This time, Haye got

quickly to his feet. In the seventh, Klitschko had a point deducted

for pushing Haye to the canvas.

Haye came out slugging in the final round, landing a series of

body punches and a good right to the head. But Klitschko came right

back with some stinging jabs and right hands to take away one of

the rare offensive threats of the night from the British

fighter.

Klitschko wanted to knock Haye out, disgusted with the Brit’s

trash talking over the past few years. The fact that he didn’t

disappointed him, though he was happy to join the major titles with

his brother, who he has said he will never fight.

”We’re celebrating with my brother that we’ve collected all the

belts in the heavyweight division,” Klitschko said. ”It wasn’t as

spectacular as I expected, but I was trying.”

For most of the fight, Klitschko stayed behind his feared left

jab. He landed a right on Haye’s chin in the fifth but the Brit

recovered nicely, bouncing off the ropes to stay on his feet.

Haye fought defensively for the most part, unwilling to risk

going inside and catching a Klitschko right to the head. He took

off his shoe in the ring to show off a toe he said he broke three

weeks ago that bothered him the entire fight.

”He’s big, strong and very effective at what he does,” Haye

said. ”It was definitely subpar for me.”

The fight failed to live up to its enormous buildup. The

fast-punching Englishman had been seen as the biggest threat to the

Klitschko clan’s grip on the heavyweight division, but previous

attempts to arrange a showdown failed.

A potential fight against Vitali in London was scrapped, and

Haye pulled out of a fight last year with Wladimir, citing a back

injury.

Before the fight the Englishman was adamant that he would retire

on Oct. 13, his 31st birthday. After it, he wasn’t so sure.

”I have to sit down and have a good think about what I’m going

to do next,” Haye said. ”It would be disappointing to finish on a

loss, particularly when I know I wasn’t firing on all cylinders

tonight.”