David Haye announced his arrival in the heavyweight division with a fifth-round stoppage victory over the American Monte Barrett.
Haye baying for Klitschko blood
LONDON // David Haye announced his arrival in the heavyweight division with a fifth-round stoppage victory over the American Monte Barrett at the 02 Arena in London. Haye, 28, a former undisputed cruiserweight world champion, was making the permanent move up to heavyweight with a view to challenging either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko for one of their world titles early next year.
The Londoner knew an impressive performance was needed against the veteran two-time world title challenger Barrett, 37. And, in front of the watching WBC champion Vitali Klitschko, he floored Barrett five times, with the final knockdown resulting in the fight being stopped in the fifth round. "I will end up victorious. I don't mind if it is Wladimir or Vitali. They are the best in the world," Haye said.
"It will be a huge fight so let's make it happen. I can feel it. Monte Barrett has been around the block and I dispatched him in good style. I want to be heavyweight champion in the world and to do that I want to beat one of the Klitschko brothers. I've got big plans, big dreams. "I'm the No 1 cruiserweight in the world. Now I want to clean up the heavyweight division. I think I can slay the giant."
He added: "I said to you guys I am explosive, I'm entertaining and I throw bombs from the start." Vitali was ringside and he said: "I was very impressed. Next year it will be a great fight." Haye headed into the contest with a record of 21 wins (20 KOs) and a solitary defeat - an upset loss against veteran Carl Thompson in 2004 - and had already made a brief venture into the heavyweight ranks with a first-round knockout of the Pole Tomasz Bonin last year.
After that one-off foray Haye went on to beat Jean-Marc Mormeck to take the WBC and WBA cruiserweight world titles before adding the WBO version in style with a spectacular second-round stoppage of the Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli in March. The New Yorker Barrett, meanwhile, arrived in the UK with a record of 34 wins (20 KOs) and six defeats, and boasted a wealth of world-level heavyweight experience having challenged Hasim Rahman and Nikolay Valuev for the WBC and WBA heavyweight titles, albeit unsuccessfully.
Haye was content to feel his opponent out in the opening round but enjoyed success with the jab and left hook, while keeping his own guard low. Barrett responded with some left hands of his own, however, catching Haye cleanly late in the second but failing to press home the advantage. Barrett's swings were wild but dangerous in the third as Haye countered well. And the Briton capitalised mid-way through the round, flooring the American with a left hand and sending him down again with a right counter moments later. Both times Barrett got quickly to his feet, but Haye was clearly buoyed by the success.
Early in the fourth Haye floored Barrett a third time and towards the end of the round, a fourth. A right uppercut landed sweetly and Barrett had a real struggle to get back to his feet. He finished it in style moments later though, catching Barrett with a sweet jab before sending his opponent crashing with a right-left combination. * PA Sport