Former WBA heavyweight champion David Haye has revealed that a toe injury suffered three weeks before his defining fight with Wladimir Klitschko stopped him from getting full power into his shots as he aimed to become the fourth man to stop the Ukrainian unified champion in his fifteen-year career.
The 30 year-old revealed after the fight that he broke his right little toe in training and it was partly to blame for his unimpressive performance against the bigger and stronger Klitschko, who took him apart over the twelve rounds and took a lengthy points decision at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Germany.
“I felt I could get past his shots,” Haye told Sky Sports‘ Adam Smith after the fight.
“I thought I could make him miss. I broke my toe about three weeks ago and I could not explode off my foot with my Hayemaker. I was hoping the local anaesthetic would work, but I tried to push off but there was nothing I could do. It was really frustrating.”
“It’s one of those things. There was nothing I could do. The biggest fight of my life and I was so frustrated.”
“The Hayemaker” revealed that he never even thought of pulling out of the fight after all of the postponements previously and decided to see if the toe could stand up to the fight, but it proved not to be the case as the Brit surrendered his world title to hand Klitschko his 56th career victory.
“I could not pull out after everything that happened before,” said Haye. “He hit me with some of his best shots. I proved I am a great fighter, but my foot is in absolute agony.”
The Londoner even stripped off his boot in the ring to show the toe to the cameras and you could clearly tell that is was bruised and swollen, but Haye would still have struggled against an inspired Klitschko, who’s tactics were spot on and the result was never in any doubt whatsoever.
“I planned to win this fight, but for whatever reason it wasn’t meant to be,” explained Haye “Tonight wasn’t my night. He fought a smart fight and won it on points.”
When asked if the fight was his last, Haye replied: “I don’t know. I gotta watch the fight back. He played it smart, full credit to Wladimir.
The Bermondsey fighter also seemed to play down he pre-fight antics as nothing but a ploy to get Klitschko angry and change his tactics.
“Everything I said before was just to get him to come and fight,” said Haye.
Trainer Adam Booth also mentioned the toe as a major factor in the fight, but handed the majority of the blame onto referee Genaro Rodriguez, who took a point away from Wladimir for pushing Haye down, but squared it up with a laughable eight-count when Haye was clearly pushed over by Klitschko.
“Wladimir is a big man, he is very effective. His [David’s] foot just wouldn’t do it. If David’s toe would have been well, then who knows,” stated Haye.
“We are just disappointed, he is plagued with injuries, its just one of those things. I am disguted with the referee. He gave David a standing count. It’s not right. I haven’t got a problem with the result, just the referee.
Booth also seemed to give credit to Klitschko where it was due.
“I Don’t like his [Wladimir’s] style but he is effective. David is a crusierweight. Got to see about his toes and then have a chat [about the future].
Sitting in the Sky Sports studio, former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis, who fought Wladimir’s brother Vitali in 2003, handing him his second career defeat, gave his view on the toe injury to Haye.
“You definitely need all your toes to be effective. If you can’t push off the back foot, you cant be effective,” commented Lewis.