It looked to have been all over for David Haye, when he was advised to retire after major shoulder surgery in 2013, but his return to the ring has been subject to some criticism by Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn and he insists the heavyweight should look to fight Dillian Whyte.
The 35-year-old heavyweight began his return with a bout that wasn't one to excite his fans, stopping Mark de Mori in the first round in January, before a second-round knockout of Arnold Gjergjaj on Saturday proved how big a mismatch the bout had been.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Hearn admitted that he feels Haye has not helped himself, if he wants a fight with one of the hottest properties in heavyweight boxing right now, Anthony Joshua, and Shannon Briggs isn't the man to face, to get him closer to a world title fight.
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“He [Arnold Gjergjaj] didn’t do himself any favours setting himself that nickname in the first place. I think the garden worm might have been better than Cobra," Hearn joked.
“The problem David Haye has is that there isn’t the revenue to bring over or make a big fight without a pay-per-view model, and as disappointing that might sound to fans, it’s the truth.
“David Haye is a world-class heavyweight, but he’s got to get real and I don’t think the Shannon Briggs fight is the fight. I think Dillian Whyte is the fight, and I think that’s the fight he should be looking at."
The London-born boxer last secured a world title by knocking out Dereck Chisora in 2012, and Haye has admitted he is looking for a bout with Briggs in his next appearance in the ring. But Hearn feels that Whyte is the calibre of opponent that will bring him within reach of IBF world heavyweight champion, Joshua.
Hearn added: “David Haye is desperate for the Joshua fight. He wants to win as much money as he can. And when he started his comeback, I feel like he’s further away in our minds now, for that fight, than he was when he announced his comeback. So, that tells you about the progression, and he’s not going to be able to make the big fights."
Tyson Fury, who defends his WBA and WBO belts in a rematch against Wladimir Klitschko at the Manchester Arena in July, is also looking to square up with Joshua, heightened by several Twitter spats in recent months. Therefore Haye's chances at this moment in time are looking slim, with the Mancunian able to put his belts on the line, alongside Joshua's IBF title.
Whyte was knocked out by Joshua in December, and is looking to get himself back in line for a rematch with the 26-year-old, and Haye's failure to secure a significant opponent upon his return also asks questions whether the Jamaica-born sees Haye as an attractive option, either.
Haye has, in the past, been considered as one of the best heavyweights in the sport but, with a bout with Briggs (60-6-1-KO53) seemingly likely, it is yet to be seen whether the fight can springboard him into contention for a world title fight.
Whether Hearn is right has yet to be seen, but Haye has openly expressed his confidence, and believes he is on the road to fighting the best in the division.
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