Boxing fans and television viewers around the world received a surprise at the weekend after David Haye greeted his sensational points victory over 7ft 2in Russian giant Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg by grabbing a microphone from the crowd and shouting: “I guess what I’m trying to say is, if I can change, and you can change, everybody can change.” Onlookers were stunned as Haye proceeded to try to get everyone in the arena to chant his name, seemingly under the impression that the everyone in the capacity crowd had been against him from the start.
“I’m not sure where he got that idea from,” said promoter Frank Warren, “although he did watch Rocky IV several times on DVD before he flew out, so maybe the whole thing has just gone to his head a little bit.”
During his speech, Haye seemed to insinuate that the contest between the two fighters was in some way a metaphor for strained political relations between the East and West. “During this fight, I’ve seen a lot of changing, in the way you feel about me, and in the way I feel about you,” Haye said, as Warren tried furiously to wrestle the microphone off him. “In here, there were two guys killing each other, but I guess that’s better than twenty million,” he concluded, before punching the sky heroically.
“I just hope we can pass this off as a joke,” a visibly embarassed Warren said. “The Cold War has been over for years – what did he think he was doing?”
During the fight fans were also said to hear Haye singing to himself as he implemented his tactical gameplan against Valuev. Brian O’Toole, 36, from Doncaster, who travelled over to be ringside at the fight commented: “He appeared to be singing a medley of Rocky anthems. It began with the classic Rocky theme, moved on to Burning Heart and culminated in Eye of the Tiger. It was marvellous – he’s got a cracking singing voice and timed many of his punches to go with the rythm of the songs. It was a real treat.”
In his next fight, Haye is set to take on John Ruiz – although experts have already warned that if Rocky V is anything to go by, Haye should probably just quit while he is ahead.