David Haye v Mark De Mori: Can British boxer buck the trend of history with a successful comeback career?

Joe Hall
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David Haye v Dereck Chisora Heavyweight Fight
Comeback King? Haye is aiming for a return to the top (Source: Getty)

Former world heavyweight champion David Haye will have to buck the trend of history if the next chapter of his career is to be as successful as the first.

The British boxer takes on Australian Mark De Mori in his first fight for almost four years on Saturday night and is confident of a successful comeback.

Haye, who is also a former world cruiserweight champion, has not fought a professional bout since beating fellow countryman Dereck Chisora at Upton Park in July 2012.

In stepping back into the ring 1,282 days later he follows legendary heavyweights such as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and Max Schmeling in making a return following a lengthy absence.

Read more: Who is the best boxer of all time?

Yet the history of fighters getting back to the boxing business following a break is not littered with glorious Rocky-esque tales of triumph.

An analysis of the all time top 75 pound-for-pound pugilists as ranked by boxing statistics website BoxRec features 18 comebacks from following breaks of more than two years involving 16 top fighters.

De Mori has lost just once in 33 professional fights (Source: Getty)

Of those 18, only 11 - or 61 per cent, enjoyed immediately successful returns in winning their first fight back.

Should Haye fail to follow suit and lose to big puncher De Mori his hopes of regaining a heavyweight world title look likely to be scotched.

Of those analysed, the fighters who lost in their comeback on average lasted just one further fight before finally hanging up their gloves while those who won enjoyed an average of 15 more contests.

Yet even if Haye does roll back the years and taste victory at the O2 Arena, he would be statistically unlikely to hit the heights of old.

Of the 16 top fighters to have returned following more than two years out only Fred Apostoli, Thomas Hearns and Eder Jofre enjoyed a higher win percentage in the latter part of their career.

Even historic talents such as Sugar Ray Leonard and Jack Johnson could not recapture past glories, despite twice making comebacks.

After not fighting from May 1984 to April 1987, Leonard won three fights from five in four years before making another ill-judged comeback in 1997 which ended abruptly after being knocked out by Hector Camacho.

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