By Mark Whalley
Bermondsey brawler Haye will fight an as-yet-unnamed opponent at the M.E.N. Arena on June 29, whilst popular Liverpudlian Price will seek to avenge his shock defeat to Tony Thompson in a rematch at the Echo Arena on July 6.
Both Haye and Price are seeking redemption following significant setbacks in their respective careers.
Haye lost a clear decision – and his IBF heavyweight title – to Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, and then disgraced British boxing in the aftermath of Dereck Chisora’s loss to Vitali Klitschko by brawling with the Finchley native in the post-fight press conference.
He came out of “retirement” to KO Chisora in the fifth round of their meeting in July last year.
Since then he has been adamant that he will only fight again if the opponent is Vitali Klitschko, but the Ukrainian has repeatedly told Haye to earn his shot at glory by dispatching rival contenders in the ring.
And it seems as though the Hayemaker has given up on trying to goad the man known as “Dr Ironfist” into a showdown through talk, and will now fight for his opportunity.
Adam Booth, Haye’s manager and trainer, confirmed that they are in negotiations with up to five potential opponents, all of whom are ranked in the top 15 and four of whom are unbeaten.
That doesn’t narrow down the options by much, but it seems likely that Vitali-victim Manuel Charr is one of the prospective opponents, if his Twitter feed is anything to go by:
— Manuel Charr (@Manuel_Charr) March 28, 2013
Another potential is “Nordic Nightmare” Robert Helenius, who is unbeaten and holds the scalps of Brits Chisora and Michael Sprott.
Whoever the foe, Haye virtually guarantees a sell-out and a charged atmosphere in Manchester, as was the case in his wins over John Ruiz and Audley Harrison.
As for David Price, he came crashing down off his bicycle against Thompson in February and must get on again quickly if he is to realise his dream of dominating the heavyweight scene.
To lose once to Thompson is understandable, but to do so again would be devastating.
Thompson had earlier claimed that if he was to rematch Price, it would be on his terms, back in the US.
That the bout is in Price’s hometown of Liverpool again suggests that Thompson has been offered a substantial purse by Frank Maloney, Price’s promoter. And Price seems to have verified this, saying “He’s going to be getting paid well – and rightly so, because he beat me in the first fight and he’s in the driving seat.”
Should Price avenge his defeat, his next target will almost certainly be Dereck Chisora, who is hoping for a dramatic career rehabilitation of his own.
The current heavyweight era may not be regarded with anything like the fondness of the days of Ali, Frasier, Liston and Foreman, but there is little doubt that domestically it is as interesting as it has been in years.