Klitschko dominates Haye, unifies belts

Wladimir Klitschko. (Daniel Deme / WENN.com)

Wladimir Klitschko. (Daniel Deme / WENN.com)

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

Wladimir Klitschko retained his three heavyweight titles while adding another belt held by David Haye after routing the Englishman in a 12-round unanimous decision Saturday night.

Klitschko kept his IBF, WBO and IBO titles, while adding the WBA version from Haye, who never lived up to the hype heading into this bout. The judges scored the fight 118-108, 117-109 and 116-110 for Klitschko's 14th straight win.

Haye was criticized by referee Genaro Rodriguez for flopping on several occasions. Rodriguez even ruled a knockdown in Klitschko's favor in the 11th round after Haye tumbled to the canvas despite little contact.

The fight between these two titans finally came off after years of doubt. They were supposed to fight two years ago, but an injury to Haye canceled the meeting. Haye and Klitschko collided gloves Saturday night despite heavy rain that took place earlier in the evening at Imtech Arena, an outdoor stadium hosting the clash. The ring was covered by a canopy, which prevented wet conditions to the footing surface.

Because of the result, the Klitschko brothers now hold all of the major heavyweight titles. Vitali Klitschko is the current WBC heavyweight champion. The brothers have vowed to never fight each other.

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.

 


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