The 35-year-old Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) was making the 10th defense of his IBF and IBO belts he won with a seventh-round stoppage of Chris Byrd in April 2006. He added the WBO belt after a unanimous decision over Sultan Ibragimov in February 2008
The 30-year-old Haye (25-2, 23 KOs) won the WBA version of the heavyweight title 20 months ago with a majority decision defeat of 7-foot Russian Nikolai Valuev. The fight was Haye's first in Germany, where Klitschko has lost just once in 434 tries.
Klitschko weighed in at 242 pounds, nearly 30 pounds more than Haye for this bout. Haye wasn't unfamiliar with such a weight disparity. Valuev weighed 99 pounds more than Haye for their November 7, 2009 title bout, one in which Haye captured via majority decision.
Nicknamed Hayemaker, the London native landed 72 punches, nearly half of the total from his opponent (134). Despite better speed and not losing a fight since 2004, Haye blamed part of his performance on a broken toe he suffered three weeks ago.
Instead of power punching, Haye chose the more tactical battle and it backfired as he was consistently held at bay by Klitschko. The Ukrainian sustained a cut on his left cheek by the middle of the fight and his trainer, Emmanuel Steward, argued with Rodriguez about a point deduction in the seventh round after Haye was forced to the canvas.
In the ninth, Haye came to life with a strong right to the head, but never followed up the shot with any offense.
Haye tried the same ploy later in the fight after being outpunched by a 16-1 connection rate in the 10th round. But in the 11th after flopping to the ground again, Rodriguez started his count, and gave Haye a warning at the end of the same round.
A huge right hand landed by Haye gave him hope in the opening minute of the last round, but Klitschko weathered the storm by holding on and used his extended reach to end the bout.