WBA heavyweight champion David Haye on Monday ruled out
defending his title against veteran Bernard Hopkins, a boxing great
he said is one of his idols.
Two days after stopping John Ruiz in nine rounds, Haye is trying
to line up a unification fight against one of the Klitschko
brothers, Vitali or Wladimir, who hold the other heavyweight belts,
and said he may have to meet former champion Nikolai Valuev in a
rematch of last year’s title contest.
But he said a fight with the 45-year-old Hopkins, who beat Roy
Jones Jr. in a lopsided non-title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday,
was not in his thoughts.
“Bernard Hopkins is one of my idols. Looking back at his fights
over the last 20, 25 years, he’s always been a great fighter,”
Haye told the BBC. “But now he’s 45 years of age, he fought
another 40-year-old on the same night as me and it was a dire fight
for everybody there in attendance.
“I think he just wants a big payday, to fight for the
heavyweight championship of the world he can demand big
Haye said he may have to wait until much later this year or even
into 2011 to face one of the Klitschkos. Wladimir holds the IBF and
WBO belts and Vitali the WBC title.
“It is not that close at the moment. In an ideal world it would
happen by the end of the year,” Haye said. “I want those big
fights. I want the fights that the fans want to see. We’re going to
start sitting around the table. They’ve both got fights coming up,
so once they’ve got their obligations out of the way, we’ll sit
down and thrash it out. Whenever we do get in the ring, it’s going
to be an amazing fight.”
Haye outpointed the 7-foot-2 Valuev on Nov. 7 to claim the WBA
title from the Russian, who said he had agreed to a mandatory
rematch once the British fighter had beaten Ruiz, a two-time former
“Potentially. It’s not 100 percent guaranteed,” Haye said
about the possibility of meeting Valuev again. “It’s more a fact
of whichever fight out there makes more money I can go for. If a
fight with Valuev makes more money, then my promotional partners
will edge me to that direction.”
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