Cruiserweight-slash-heavyweight sensation David ‘The Hayemaker’ Haye has reacted with both bewilderment and amusement to promoter Frank Warren’s £600,000 offer for the Bermondsey puncher to face Matt Skelton.
On the day that Haye, trainer/manager Adam Booth and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer put promoters on notice with the birth of Hayemaker Promotions, Haye received news that the less-than-alluring prospect of Bedford’s Skelton was waiting in the wings.
“The timing of the offer was priceless,” said Haye, the WBC/WBA and WBO world cruiserweight champion. “As Hayemaker Promotions are announcing their ethos and plans to break trends in boxing – to put on exciting, competitive and meaningful contests – Frank Warren’s Sports Network offer me a fight with a washed-up 40-year-old coming off a defeat with nowhere else to go. I’m sure I’m not the only one who saw the irony in that.
“That aside, the offer was a derisory one anyway,” continued Haye. “We thank him for the offer, but I now know what I’m worth and can guarantee I’ll make at least double Warren’s figure in my next fight. Not only that, my next heavyweight fight will actually mean something and progress my career towards a world title shot. With all respect, Skelton brings nothing to the table. Warren needs to re-evaluate both his figures and the heavyweight rankings.”
Also announced at Tuesday’s O2 Arena press conference was an exciting, multi-million pound deal struck between Hayemaker Promotions and the new home of televised boxing, Setanta Sports. The deal – which will cover 10 Hayemaker Promotions shows, including Haye’s next four heavyweight bouts – was enough to lure Haye away from pay-per-view opportunities elsewhere. It is also another reason why fight fans won’t be seeing Haye and Skelton square off anytime soon.
“Frank Warren should have realised that, given the fact Skelton is not ranked in the top 10 by any of the main governing bodies, Setanta Sports would not even allow him to box me in the first place,” explained ‘The Hayemaker’. “I have an agreement with Setanta Sports which will only see me box top 10-ranked heavyweights from now on. Skelton’s nowhere near the top 10 of any governing body.”
Ranking issue aside, the 27-year-old Haye believes a fight with Skelton would, ultimately, become a no-win proposition anyway.
“Frankly, even if Skelton was ranked, I wouldn’t choose to fight him. It’s not the sort of fight we’re looking to put on at Hayemaker Promotions. Firstly, Skelton’s coming off a defeat. Secondly, as determined as he is, Skelton’s the most boring heavyweight in the world. Thirdly, his most dangerous punch combination is the double-grab, right hug. Fourthly, why would I want to jeopardise Skelton’s huge showdown with Samuel Peter on July 12 for the WBC title? (a tonge-in-cheek reference to Warren’s claims a fortnight ago that either Skelton or Audley Harrison will challenge WBC champion Samuel Peter on July 12 – ed) That’s a massive fight for him and Great Britain. I wouldn’t want to get in the way of that.”
Given that Haye would be heavily favoured to defeat Skelton should the pair ever meet, the Londoner is left dumbfounded as to why Sports Network would want to make the fight a reality.
“How much more charity are Sports Network willing to offer me?” asked Haye. “They’ll be replacing Oxfam at this rate. They already gift-wrapped their prodigal son Enzo Maccarinelli for me to obliterate in a couple of rounds and now they want to wheel out the company’s grandad on his Stannah stair-lift for a beating. Thanks for the offer – but I’m not in this sport to hand out pensions.”
Haye, 21-1 (20 KOs), added: “Frank Warren’s obsessed with me. He reminds me of the young girls that used to follow me around in nightclubs – only with beadier eyes, redder cheeks and deeper pockets. He should stop throwing me handouts and either donate the money to a more worthwhile charity or get his own house in order. Hayemaker Promotions will do just fine without him. We thank Frank for sacrificing Maccarinelli, but we’d feel immense guilt if we took any more free money from Sports Network. I have a hard enough time sleeping at night as it is.
“I’d rather retire from boxing than work with Sports Network again.”
Haye’s next outing will take place at North Greenwich’s impressive 20,000-capacity O2 Arena towards the end of the year. “It will be an exciting fight against a dangerous, top 10-ranked heavyweight,” Haye promised. “Taking that into account, if you’ve seen Matt Skelton fight, you’ll know it won’t be him.”