Haye Day - Review

The return of David Haye made big news at the O2 on Saturday 16th January. Three years since we last saw the Hayemaker in the ring, question marks remained about what he had left. Injuries, absence and cancelled fights are put behind him as he battles Australian heavyweight Mark De Mori. An undercard made up of some of the top names from the Goodwin Promotions stable made for a packed night of action in front of 14,000 people.
Wadi Camacho vs Jindrich Velecky (cruiserweight, 6 x 3 minute rounds)
Former Prizefighter winner Camacho opened the show, no doubt with one eye on his forthcoming Southern Area title shot against Dan Woodgate.  Velecky looked fleshy in his corner as Camacho opened the round with some range finding jabs and a solid left to the body from his southpaw stance.  Velecky telegraphed some right hands bombs which Camacho easily evaded, but otherwise Camacho had things all his own way.
in the second Camacho put together some nice combinations, but at times found the Czech opponent out of his range.ma nice right to the head knocked back the shorter opponent as Camacho seemingly teed off at will.
Velecky covered well in the third as Camacho looked to close the distance as sustain the attacks. A straight left bloodied the nose of the Czech man, who still failed to find success on the rare occasions his hands we're let loose. The fourth saw Camacho paw the jab more, offering the odd feint to try and draw in Velecky. For his part, Velecky was still looking to finish the fight with a single shot, with nothing landing on the far taller Camacho. A nice double jab followed up by a stiff left rocked Velecky back and Camacho committed to an attack which was the best of the action in the round and saw the first possibility of this fight ending early.
by the fifth it would have been good to see Camacho come out on the attack, but the tempo was still slow. Camacho duly obliged a minute in, a flush left uppercut landed, sending Velecky stumbling back. Camacho stepped in with a stiff left straight and another quality uppercut as his opponents legs wobbled. There was little coming back, and in reality the referee could have put an end to it here. Instead we went to the sixth round,  Camacho pinning him to the corner early on but unable foot find the success of the previous round. Velecky evaded and re found the centre of the ring, where Camacho was happy to meet him once again. However the finish couldn't be found, and a brave Velecky saw the final bell despite being thoroughly out classed.
Camacho won a 60-54 decision and can move on safely to challenge Dan Woodgate.
Jose Lopes vs Darren Snow (cruiserweight, 4 x 3 minute rounds)
The undefeated Lopes looked in his usual good shape against Snow.  The fight lasts only 35 seconds, as Lopes lands a strong left hook to the temple.  Although it perhaps didn't look a knockout shot, Snow was unable to answer the count as Lopes struts around the ring.  Lopes improves his record to 6-0.
Tony Dodson vs Richard Horton (light heavyweight, 6 x 3 minute rounds)
Two men bringing back the shaven headed look, this is the first step up to light heavyweight for Dodson as he looks to eastablish himself in the new weight division.  Essex fighter Horton comes out strongly, meeting  Dodson in the centre of the ring.  The first round is scrappy as the two find themselves clinching.  Horton manages a couple of clean shots but they don't carry the power to put Dodson off.  Dodson ppears to have the better success when the two are clinched at the ropes as the first ring ends.
The second starts in a similar vein with the two meeting centre ring.  A big right hook to the head lands earlt for Dodson who is given a warning from the referee for use of the arm.  A solid straight right lands clean on that face of Horton who absorbs it well, but is starting to work off the back foot more and concede the centre of the ring.  A large cut opens over the left eye of Dodson near the end of the round, and the scent of blood seems to fire him up.   A large right rocks Horton's head, followed up by a quick left hand and then a huge right leaves Horton stumbling to the canvas.  He reached his feet at seven and this has lit up as Horton returns to his corner with a nose covered in blood.
In the third the two continue their battle on the ropes, blood now covering the body of Horton as the eye worsens of Dodson.  The doctor is taking a long look but lets them fight on, which again seems to sput Dodson to life, clearly wary of the fight being taken to a technical draw.  He has the better of the round, Horton close to going down but recovers his footwork to regain his balance and the round comes to a close.  In the fourth the referee again visits the ringside doctor to check on the eye, but once again the fight is allowed to carry on.  Each time Dodson seems to fear the referee getting involved he seems to push the work rate.  The round ends with the eye worsening again, blood flowing now down the left side of Dodson's face.
Horton lands some nice jabs to start the round but it soon goes back to the clinch.  A nice right breaks the guard of Horton, but only after Dodson receives another warning for leading with the head.  The two exchange against the ropes, both finding their own success.  Dodson connects with a nice right to the body, Dodson continues showing the better workrate and more accurate shots.  Horton is clearly targeting the eye now with his right hands.  Dodson mixes it up well with head and body shots, but the majority are single shots and neither can string together sustained efforts.  Into the last round the two startt in familiar territory, clinched into the ropes.  Horton backs Dodson to the side but can't keep him there, as Dodson works his way back to centre ring and pushes Horton this time to the ropes.  Neither is gaining a significant advantage by now.  A solid left hook from Dodson end the best exchange of the round, which sums up the fight as the two then end in a clinch to hear the final bell. 
59 - 56 win for Dodson in a scrappy affair, no doubt worsened by the cut to the eye early on.  Not the easiest welcome to the light heavyweight division for the scouser Dodson.
Kay Prospere vs Lee Connelly (super lightweight, 6 x 3 minutes rounds)
Undefeated Luton fighter Prospere has a Southern Area title shot againnst Danny Carter in March to look forward to, but tonight gets a tune up against Connelly who only gets stopped by the best fighters.
Prospere looks huge for the weight against the smaller Connelly and is happy to swich between southpaw and orthodox at the start of the first.  A nice left, right comination to the head by Prospere sets up an onslaught and Prospere steps on him, landing some heavy shots ending with a left hook to the head  in the corner to down Connelly.  He gets back up but doesn't seem to be on safe legs.  Prospere senses an ending here and stalks him back to his own corner and lands heavy, heavy shots on Connelly.  An onslaught ends with big right hands on Connelly's face as he goes down.  The referee gives him a count but doesn't deem him fit to continue and at 2 minutes 46 of the first round, this one is over as Prospere shows extreme power and composure to get the early win.
Josh Kennedy vs Elemir Rafael (super bantamweight, 4 x 2 minute rounds) 
Another undefeated fighter in Kennedy takes on European opposition.  A fighter who has won all his fights and all inside of three rounds, Kennedy has brought big support with him tonight as the O2 is warming up nicely for the evening.  The area now well over half full, Kennedy is looking to put on a show for a big crowd.
Southpaw Rafael looks to make it awkard early on, clinching to the ropes but Kennedy straight away opens the space and shows good upper body movement to open angles up.  He is having trouble finding the distance straight away though and a few jabs come up short of his opponent.  The first round is uneventful, neither fighter really establishing themselves in the fight.  Kennedy unloads in the second, pinning Rafael to the away corner and delivering a nice combination of rights and left both high and low.  Rafael escapes though and retreats across the ring where Kennedy is happy to follow him.  There's a clear class difference between the two by now.
The third sees Kennedy start with a sharp right as Rafael looks to now keep the distance short between the two and hold at each opporunity, receiving a warning from there referee for doing so.  You fancy he doesn't fancy this now.  Kennedy again powers his opponent against the ropes and unleashes his fists but Rafael is stubbornly staying up.  That is until Kennedy almost wrestles him to the floor, before standing against the ropes looking bored as the referee allows Rafael time to recuperate.  
A beautiful body hook drops the hands of Rafael in the fourth and Kennedy capitalises with a sharp uppercut that sees Rafael step back out of danger.  Kennedy looks frustrated that he is unable to finishedd this early now and is forcing his work a bit.  Kennedy opens the fourth with some stiff  body shots again from Kennedy as he looks to replicate the success of the previous round.  Rafael rarely opens himself up in this fight, seemingly wwary of what Kennedy can do to hurt him.  The final round sees Kennedy again dominate and going for the stoppage but can't find a way to finish off the tough Rafael.
Kennedy claims a clear 60-54 victory over the Slovakian.  He will have harder times than tonight.
Before the main event started we were 'treated' to a performance by two DJs from Kiss FM and dance act Sigma.  It's a new take on the boxing experience and on the whole didn't seem to go down too badly with the crowd.
David Haye vs Mark De Mori (heavyweight, 12 x 3 minute rounds)
From the moment Haye makes an appearance on the big screens walking from the back, it's clear that Haye has lost none of his appeal.  The 16,000 attendees raise the decibels to unheard levels for the evening as he finally makes hte ring walk to his familiar 'Aint no stopping us now' entrance music.  For his part, De Mori laps up the boos of the crowd as his corner proudly wave the Australian flag.  The belts are displayed, the CV run through and the crowd show that the appetite for the Haye Maker hasn't diminished in his three year absence.
As the action gets going the ponytailed De Mori looks cautious.  Haye looks bukier than remembered from before, the influence of Shane Mcguigan obvious.  Heavy and quick hands flash out from Haye, troubling De Mori bth in his head and body.  Haye almost hunches the shoulders over preying on the Australian.  He looks scared to throw, unable to deal with the speed and power.  De Mori employs his right hand by the cheek to try and parry but the shots come thick and fast to the body then Haye detonates a huge flurry to the head, sparked by slipping a De Mori right which is met by a huge straight right hand and then hooks.  De Mori can't handle it and is dismantled on the canvas.  The referee counts but it's a pointless exercise and instead the paramedics get rushed into the ring as the Australian is finished on the canvas.
A ring return to savour for Haye.  He is carried around, lapping up the elation of the O2 arena.  De Mori offered nothing in resistance.  Hand picked as an opponent?  Yes, probably.  His bulk resembled a body builder more than a boxer.  The explosiveness, speed, power of Haye was just too much.  The crowd booed De Mori as he was announced the loser.  Perhaps understandably for those who have forked out top money to see less than a round of action.  But Haye did his job tonight.  He put on the performance that some were doubtful he would have left.  We saw flashed of the old Haye, the power and quick reactions that fans embraced in his prime.  There was perhaps even more power than we were used to, that new physique bulking more muscle onto the Londoner.
So what's next?  Well this wasn't the acid test.  This wasn't the deep end.  This was the sandles off shallow end, a toe that has previously garnered so many headlines being dipped back into the heavyweight water.  The ticket sales were amazing for a fight with an unknown opponent and an undercard that most fans wouldn't have been familiar with.  It will attract headlines.  It will create a story.  There is a narrative to be written around Haye.  He spoke himself afterwards about the possibility of Tyson Fury ("he's a great young fighter") but says he doesn't see that Fury would take it given his past.  Instead he spoke of the current British golden boy, Anthony Joshua.  Is that a fight Joshua and Hearn would jump for?  Well, it's hard to base an argument upon tonight.  Yes he hit hard.  Yes he was quick.  Yes he looked impressive.  He needs that acid test though and the chance to show what he can do to a better level of opponent.  A victory tonight has given him a world ranking again.  It's where he goes from here that is interesting.  He's not a young man now, so surely his team will want to get him back in the ring again by the first quarter of this year.  The really interesting thing will be the opponent.