by Johnny Walker

David Haye successfully defended his WBA paper title today at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester, UK,  with a third-round TKO stoppage of Audley “A-Force” Harrison. 

The fight made a mockery of Haye’s criticism, which he repeated again after the fight, that the legitimate heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko fight “fat Americans” and “bums” who are supposedly beneath the Hayemaker’s own exceedingly high standards.

In reality, Harrison made the recent efforts of Shannon Briggs and Sam Peter against the Klitschkos look downright heroic in comparison with his own pitiful non-effort against Haye.

Harrison, who talked very big during the lead-up to this farce, came up small when it was time for action.  Legitimizing every criticism ever made against him, the man known in the UK media as “Fraudley” and “A-Farce” took the money and ran, exiting the arena in a big hurry after doing a very good impression of a statue for three rounds.

Haye, who had predicted a third-round KO, was content to do almost as little as Harrison for the first two rounds, both men staring at each other and feinting but exchanging very little in the way of actual punches.  Referee Luis Pabon actually admonished both men to start exchanging at one particularly static point in the fight, as the disgruntled fans in attendance rained down boos upon the ring. 

Haye made good on his prediction in the third round, as Harrison continued his frozen man impression.   A series of hard shots put Audley on the mat, though for some reason (as he surely didn’t want to fight) Harrison beat the count.  Haye then attacked him with another flurry and Pabon mercifully stopped one of the worst heavyweight title fights since … well, since Haye won the WBA title from Nikolay Valuev.

More entertaining than the (non) fight was the hyperbole dished out by the UK Sky Sports announcers.  Jim Watt, notorious in Britain for having called the Haye-Valuev fight for the Russian giant, seemed very eager to make amends for his past sins, raving about Haye’s win as if he had just knocked out a combination of Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson, rather than the anemic Fraudley Harrison.

The only thing funnier than Watt was Haye himself, preening and bigging himself up in the post-fight interview as angry boos still reverberated around the arena.  Pressed about his desire to make a fight with one or both of the Klitschkos happen, Haye finally promised the audience that “those fights will happen next year.” 

Of course, we’ve heard similar promises from the Hayemaker before. 

As for tonight’s fight, if Haye is truly serious about retiring in a year’s time, this was a tragic waste of his remaining time in the sport– and of the paying customers’ hard-earned money.