David Haye wasn’t perfect today at Upton Park, but he was plenty good enough in his return to the ring after a one-year absence, flooring Dereck Chisora twice in the fifth round and stopping him at 2:57 of that frame.
Haye (26-2, 24 KO) did what he said he’d do. The 31-year-old former cruiserweight champion dictated the fight moving backward, shutting Chisora (15-4, 9 KO) down with a sharp jab and the occasional right hand or left hook, and even a few body shots, to keep Chisora off-balance.
Chisora, on the other hand, appeared singularly focused on landing one big right hand, and I think that was to his detriment. The 28-year-old brawler pressured nicely, but Haye was able to handle it with good footwork and that ever-present left hand coming at Chisora, who didn’t use his own jab much at all.
Haye was starting to look tired in the third round, but it wound up not mattering. It could have been just the fact that he hasn’t been in a ring competitively in a year, or it could have been Chisora’s pressure, but whatever it was, the fifth round saw the brash Brit unleash heavy blows that were meant to stop Chisora, and did.
It’s not a win that makes a big-time, true elite fighter of Haye, and it’s still hard to envision him beating Vitali Klitschko, because Klitschko ain’t Chisora, but it’s a win that at least brings him back to the discussion with more legitimacy than he had a few months ago, and I think there’s an audience for that bout. But then I think there always was.