By: Sean Crose
Former cruiserweight king and heavyweight titlist David Haye is planning to return to the prize ring. The colorful Brit may be forty years old and three years out of the sport, but he’s determined to leave his mark on boxing once more. For Haye is arguing he’s not truly returning, but is simply looking to teach Joe Fournier – a successful businessman turned boxer – a lesson. “This is not a comeback,” Sky Sports quotes the 29-4 Haye as saying, “this is about teaching Joe Fournier there are levels to the boxing game.” Fournier began fighting professionally in 2015 and has a record of 9-0.
“I will shock the world and knockout David Haye,” says Fournier, a former protégé of Haye’s. “Unquestionably one of the hardest challenges of my life, but this is the perfect fight at the perfect time for me.” Fournier was last seen on the undercard of the Jake Paul-Ben Askren fight. He stopped performer Reykon in two. Although Haye is certainly more experienced than the likes of popular musicians making their ring debuts, Fournier is confident. “Haye is riddled with injuries, 10 years past his prime,” Sky Sports quotes Fournier as saying, “I was a late starter to this pro boxing game – now I’m coming into my fighting prime.”
After an impressive amateur run, Haye began fighting professionally in 2002. By 2008, the man held the lineal cruiserweight title, as well as most of the other important divisional belts. Moving up to heavyweight, he won the WBA title by besting Nikolay Valuev via decision. After two title defenses, Haye ended up being decisioned by Wladimir Klitschko in a 2011 title unifier. Haye’s last battle, which went down in 2018, saw him losing his second in a row to Tony Bellew. The man clearly feels he’ll do better against the generally inexperienced Fournier.
“One must stay in their lane or risk getting flattened,” Haye says. “There are certain things in life you can’t buy – Joe ‘The Billionaire’ Fournier needs to learn that.” The Haye-Fournier fight will be on the undercard of Triller’s Oscar De La Hoya-Vitor Belfort event on September 11th. Indeed, Haye-Fournier fits the novelty fight atmosphere surrounding the event, and Haye, whose always known how to draw attention to himself, is saying the right things promotion-wise. “I was the heavyweight champion of the world just 10 years ago,” he states. “I’m only 40. Joe is delusional. Champions are born not bought.”
*cover photograph from Sky Sports