BRITAIN’S David Haye admits he is having second thoughts about retiring after losing his WBA heavyweight title to Wladimir Klitschko in Germany on Saturday night.
Haye has long insisted he would quit the ring in October, when he turns 31, but refused to commit following his unanimous points defeat to the Ukrainian, who also holds the IBF and WBO belts.
“I’m not making any decisions yet on retirement,” said the Londoner, who blamed his underwhelming performance in rainy Hamburg on a broken little toe.
A re-match has been mooted, although neither Klitschko, who has set his sights on more British opposition in Dereck Chisora and rising star Tyson Fury, nor Haye seem to have the requisite appetite to make the fight happen.
“Will he want to give me a rematch when I’m 100 per cent fit? I don’t know. If not, then I don’t know. I really don’t know,” Haye added.
“I’d love him to give me a rematch. He said he can knock me out and I’d love him to give it a go. If he couldn’t knock me out on one leg, pretty much, then how about when I’m fit?”
Klitschko, 35, responded: “If the guy wants a rematch and comes into the press conference shouting ‘I want a rematch, that was nothing’, then okay. But I didn’t see from David Haye a real desire to have a rematch. Instead the rematch was pushed to him and he was like ‘okay, maybe, I don’t know, whatever’.”
Promoter Frank Warren believes Haye should write off his heavyweight career just five fights after his step up from cruiserweight and is urging him to hang up his gloves.
“I think he should retire,” said Warren. “He’s got money in the bank so why does he need to fight on? He was a great cruiserweight but hasn’t got it at this level.”
Former WBC champion Frank Bruno refused to wade into the retirement debate, but said Haye would be remembered as “a very, very good cruiserweight”. Bruno added: “Heavyweight and cruiserweight are two different cups of tea; Harrods and Primark.”
The fight failed miserably to live up to months of bad-tempered build-up, yet Haye defiantly insisted the contest had been good for the flagging division.
“I feel we’ve put heavyweight boxing back on the map because this fight got so many people excited,” he said. “Wladimir’s had more than 50 fights and this is the first one to have reached out to everybody and I think I played my part in that.”
Klitschko is now targeting the winner of this month’s clash between British champion Chisora and Fury, the undefeated 6ft 9ins 23-year-old from Manchester.
REVISED RECORDS | HAYE V KLITSCHKO