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By George Reed
Can Haye put Klitchko on ice?
Gamesmanship and intimidating an opponent has been part of boxing since the sport began. Even in the bare-fist days, the then great heavyweight world champion John L. Sullivan would walk into a bar announcing that he could lick any son of a bitch in the house.

Can Haye put Klitchko on ice?

31.05.2011 - Like other athletes, many boxers bluff, play tricks, deceive, lie and stir up rivals in order to develop a psychological edge over their opponents, but the master at playing mind games was Muhammad Ali, and many boxers fell victim to his psychological ploy or gamesmanship as they prefer to call it in the fight game.  He would land psychological punches from the moment he signed the fight contract, to intimidate or make an opponent angry before meeting them in the ring, knowing that a frightened or angry fighter loses his focus and concentration.  Before the showdown with Joe Frazier in Manila, Ali stated, its gonna be a thriller, a chilla, and a killa, when I get the gorilla in Manila.
Ali had mocked Frazier before each of their three fights, saying that Joe was too ugly to be a champion, and too slow of speech.  Before Ali, then called Cassius Clay, took the world title from Sonny Liston, he publicly called Liston an ugly bear and predicted Liston's dismemberment, stating, I'll hit him so hard, he'll forget where October and November went.  And the ruse worked, for Liston quit the fight and sat on his stool in his corner.  Ali certainly had a natural ability to browbeat his opponents with words until they literally came apart at the seams.
And what about the Irish fighter who used a psychological ploy to win a world title?  In March 1995, world super middleweight champion Chris Eubanks fell for one hook, line and sinker when his challenger Steve Collins let it be known before the fight that he had been working with Irish hypnotist Tony Quinn.  It caused Eubanks so much concern that he seriously considered calling off the fight.  He was more upset at the weigh-in when he believed that Collins was under hypnosis.  As the Irishman acted irrationally, Eubanks' nerves were on edge as he told reporters, this is unfair as far as boxing is concerned.  Collins' gamesmanship paid off, for he took the title from Eubanks on a points decision.  After the fight, the new world champ stated, I was never under hypnosis but Chris believed I was, talk about taking the bait he swallowed the fishing rod as well.
David Haye, Britain's 30 year-old WBA champion, could be the heavyweight division's most coherent wind-up merchant since Ali, now that he's signed the contract to take on Wladimir Klitschko, the holder of two of the other three major heavyweight title belts.  Talking of the unification title fight which will take place in Hamburg on July 2nd, David said, this is going to be a one-sided dog-fight.  Me?  I'm a British bull terrier, born and bred to fight.  And that natural instinct to fight will be what takes Klitschko apart.  He'll get battered and battered again.  When I hit him, he'll freeze like an iceberg.  He'll run for cover and then realise his big brother Vitali is in the corner mopping up the tears with a white towel.
There's been a two-year feud between David 'the Haymaker' and Klitschko after Haye caused the rift by wearing a T-shirt that showed Wladimir and brother Vitali, the WBC champion, with decapitated heads on a plate, when the bout between the two was first planned two years ago.  When the two met at a press conference recently, the spat became more of a pantomime, with Klitschko blowing raspberries, and Haye responding by sticking out his tongue and saying, your momma is fat, the back of her neck looks like a pack of sausages.  Which sounds more like Widow Twankee to me, rather than a boxing champion.  So, girls, get your handbags at the ready and let battle commence!



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