Harty on David Haye and the Albion

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HAROLD Wilson was spot on when he said a week was a long time.

Go back seven days and I’m sat in front of my computer writing this column, bound for Hamburg and confident that David Haye would beat Wladimir Klitschko.

Even arriving in Germany on Friday, dumping the bags and making straight for the weigh-in, I still felt good. All my party agreed that the body language of both fighters appeared to be in Haye’s favour.

But, clearly, it was all a ruse, because what we didn’t know but the Haye camp did was that he’d broken his little toe three weeks previously and hadn’t done any sparring.

As miffed as I would have been at losing my flight money, I, and I’m sure the 10,000 thousand-or-so who travelled to Germany, would have preferred he’d come clean, even as late as last Wednesday, and pulled out or postponed the fight.

But, perhaps, did they actually try to pull out in an indirect way on Saturday?

We had torrential rain in Hamburg from about 11am Saturday morning. I received a call from a former BBC SCR colleague around lunch time saying that 5 Live were reporting that the fight could be in doubt because of the rain.

I later spoke to a friend who was over there with Sky and he said the rumour around mid-afternoon was that if they didn’t make it into the ring by 11.45pm, due to the weather, the fight could be postponed for 28 days (very convenient if you’ve got a broken toe).

As it turned out, when we got to the Imtech Arena, the cover on the ring would have stopped a monsoon, so any thoughts of wet weather postponements were clearly wishful thinking by certain parties.

When you strip everything down to the bare bones, I, like thousands, possibly millions of others, have been duped. Would a fit Haye have beaten Klitschko?

Not according to Jim Watt (a top bloke, by the way), who we met up with on Friday night. He called the result of the fight almost to the punch, the constant huge left jab and the fact that that when Haye did get close, he would get pushed to the floor.

In defeat, Haye reeled out all the excuses, including getting up on a table and showing his injured pinkie off.

He also said that the trash talk had made a mega fight. Well, actually, no, the trash talk is all well and good if you can back it up. Haye did all that spouting off in the last few weeks knowing full well he wasn’t fit and clearly not up to the task, which the judges’ scorecards re-iterated.

We left at the final bell and had our backs turned, so it wasn’t until I saw it on German TV on Sunday morning that I saw Haye put his arms up in celebration, so concussion, as well as the broken toe?

Talk of a rematch is laughable. They would have to do it open air at Hill Barn Golf Club to even get a modicum of interest from me, and then only if it didn’t clash with Emmerdale.

And, finally, the Albion wait nearly 31 years to break their transfer record and then surpass it three times in six weeks.

Fans will get an immediate chance to see £2.5million pound striker Craig Mackail-Smith in the blue and white stripes when he turns out for the Albion against a Horsham XI at Woodside Road on Wednesday for long-serving former Hornets boss John Maggs. Kick off is 7.45pm.