Originally written on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 9/26/14

David Haye found some of the old rocket fuel that originally propelled him into boxing stardom Saturday on Epix, downing Dereck Chisora in a grubby grudge match that lived up to the sordid hype and ended in an explosive combination from Haye that reminded you why you cared in the first place.

The last time we saw Haye in the ring, he was hiding in every corner from the contact of heavyweight kingpin Wladimir Klitschko, making something of a laughingstock of himself by blaming a broken pinkie toe for his skittish performance. Haye had talked awfully big before the fight, and came up awfully small. His reputation was left in tatters afterward.

You could be forgiven for wondering whether Haye's return to boxing against Chisora was an attempt to pull the same trick twice, with classless pre-fight antics followed by a meek performance. Not this time.

Instead, Haye started quickly, lobbing jabs and a whole kitchen sink full of other punches at Chisora in the very 1st round. Chisora helped him in that one and the next by stalking forward without throwing punches, other than an overhand right meant to take Haye's head off.

Things changed in the 3rd and 4th when Chisora began throwing punches of any volume, sometimes a very effective jab, other times hooks as he trapped Haye along the ropes. They traded well in those rounds, with Chisora landing damaging shots in both but Haye still controlling the action and beginning to damage Chisora himself; in the 3rd, the round ended early during a heated exchange thanks to referee Luis Pabon's confusion, and in the 4th, Chisora began to back up a little, apparently hurt for a stretch. Haye, too, appeared to slow down a little. What had been a virtuoso display against a sluggish opponent had become an authentically enjoyable contest.

Chisora kept coming forward in the 5th, and it would be his undoing. As a heavyweight, Haye hasn't demonstrated the same finishing power as he did at cruiserweight. Rather, he has shocking speed, the kind that can lead to a lot of knockdowns and referee stoppages from all those knockdowns accumulating. In this fight, in this round, Haye had some of the killer back. He knocked down the usually iron-chinned Chisora with a left-right combination, then, once Chisora rose, connected on a four-punch combo of frightening accuracy and intensity. Chisora rose, but just barely. Another ref might've let the fight go on, but Pabon waved it off just as the round ended. Chisora didn't much protest, though, and Pabon saved him from more severe damage.

It's tempting to write this fight off to Chisora's limitations. But those limitiations hadn't kept Chisora from two consecutive performances where he made a good impression. First was the ripoff loss against Robert Helenius, himself arguably a top five heavyweight right now. Then Chisora gave Vitali Klitschko his hardest fight in years. In the modern heavyweight division, those two performances add up to something. Additionally, Vitali couldn't do to Chisora what Haye did.

Nor can you write off the difference between Haye's last two performances entirely on the difference between those two opponents. Sure, Wladimir has a way of making everyone look bad. That certainly helped Haye look as bad as he did. But Haye started off anemic in that fight and finished it that way, too. This was a different Haye, in terms of his mentality. Haye hasn't even been this aggressive and focused against other heavyweights besides Chisora.

You couldn't help but roll your eyes when, in a post-fight interview, Haye went back into his "I'm exciting, the Klitschkos suck, Vitali's scared of me" thing. You couldn't be blamed if you were turned off by some aspects of how this fight came to be. But you also can't deny that Haye is one of the world's best remaining heavyweights, both in resume and talent; I say he's right behind the Klitschkos. I would gladly watch Vitali-Haye, so long as we skip over the long, frustrating dance Haye did with both men before he finally took the Wladimir fight. There's no guarantee Vitali's iron chin wouldn't revert Haye to a bomb shelter mentality, but Haye's style has an argument for being better for the older brother than it was for the younger.

Time will tell if Vitali, with one foot out the door toward retirement, wants to put up with Haye's antics. If this is how Haye's career ends, it's a more positive note than his first retirement, at minimum. This is the kind of thing we always wanted from Haye.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Full extent of Legion of Boom's Super Bowl injuries revealed

Charles Haley calls Tom Brady's Super Bowl wins 'tainted'

Recruit Mike Weber hurt Ohio State coach left for NFL

Adam Silver hints at changing format of NBA playoffs

Brandon Bolden, LeGarrette Blount discuss Lynch shirt


College Football Playoff keeping semifinal games on Dec. 31

Don't deny climate change: recruiting rankings matter

Wladimir Klitschko turned down $100 million to fight his brother

Scott Skiles a ‘serious candidate’ for Orlando Magic job

Illinois coach wants media to better support football program

Tom Brady will owe IRS if he gifts truck to Malcolm Butler

10 biggest questions heading into the NFL offseason

Winnipeg Sun cover hopes Evander Kane is done with Jets

Orlando Magic make right move in firing Jacque Vaughn

Rece Davis to replace Chris Fowler on 'College GameDay'

50 Cent's infamous first pitch gets own Topps baseball card

Eleven teams about to end NCAA Tournament droughts

NBA All-Star Celebrity Game lineup announced

Seahawks fan’s obit cites 'lousy play call” as cause of death

New presidential budget could mean trouble for stadium deals

Does the World Cup signify a new day for hockey at ESPN?

Al Michaels: Twins pumped in noise during 1987 World Series

Rob Gronkowski’s cocktail of choice? Espresso martinis

Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

10 biggest questions heading into the NFL offseason

Legion of Boom played through serious pain

Haley: Brady's SB wins 'tainted'

50 Cent's awful first pitch gets own card

Recruit hurt Ohio St. coach left for NFL

Bolden, Blount discuss Lynch shirt

CFP semifinal games to stay on Dec. 31

Top 10 impact true freshman for 2015

Victim: Jackson threatened to kill me

Top 50 2015 NFL free agents

National Signing Day winners and losers

Davis gets Swimsuit Issue cover

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.