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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 September, 2004, 15:13 GMT 16:13 UK
Haye faces toughest test yet

By Richie Woodhall
BBC boxing commentator

This will be Haye's 10th fight
Haye v Thompson
Highlights, Grandstand, Saturday, BBC One, 1425BST

I predicted big things for David Haye a long time ago, but Friday's fight against Carl Thompson is a big risk for him.

Enzo Maccarinelli can say what he wants about Carl Thompson's age but the fact is Thompson is a warrior who will not be an easy opponent.

You have to admire his durability. At the age of 40 he is still standing toe to toe with some heavy hitters and giving it back.

His last fight against Sebastian Rothmann was simply remarkable.

He got absolutely pummelled by the South African - he was even knocked down in the fourth - but surged back to eventually win in the ninth.

I've watched that fight twice and what amazes me is how he soaks up the punches; it's almost as if he becomes immune to them after a few rounds.

40-year-old Carl Thompson
If they go longer than three rounds then I'd favour Thompson
Richie Woodhall

In all my years of fighting and commentating on the sport I've never seen a man who can take it like Thompson and you have to admire him.

The question now is can he take the kind of punches that Haye will unleash?

Haye's got an explosive style and will be working hard to tire Thompson out and get some good shots in - if he can do that I've no doubt this could be a short fight.

I just don't see how he'll be able to cope with the power that Haye can unleash.

But if they go longer than three rounds then I'd favour Thompson, who would be in his element.

Haye's power means he has never had to fight longer than four rounds, and then Thompson's experience will start to show.

It demonstrates just what a problem Haye and his promoters will have on their hands if and when he beats Thompson.

Who does he face then?

In many ways David is the victim of his own success.

His list of possible opponents is rapidly diminishing and if he becomes IBO champion he'll have to get in the ring with the likes of Maccarinelli or Johnny Nelson.

Those are the fights everyone wants to watch, but whether they're the best options for Haye so early in his career remains to be seen.

  • Haye v Thompson: Grandstand, Saturday, BBC One, 1425

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    13 Aug 04  |  Boxing
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