Haye targets world domination
David Haye has promised more electrifying nights as he steps up his campaign to unify the heavyweight division by facing the Klitschkos.
Haye retained his WBA world title with a savage stoppage of heroic challenger John Ruiz, who was rescued by trainer Miguel Diaz with 59 seconds remaining of the ninth round.
It was the first time the durable Ruiz, a former two-time world champion, had fallen inside the distance in 14 years and only his second failure to go the full duration. When his corner eventually intervened he had endured a sickening amount of punishment, visiting the canvas four times before a noisy 20,000 crowd at the MEN Arena.
Showing vicious speed and accuracy, Haye honoured his pledge to ignite the division with a spectacular performance that will have alarmed and encouraged his rivals in equal measure.
A lucrative fight with either Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko, who hold the WBC, IBF and WBO belts, is now a question of when not if.
“My plan now is to unify the division. I'm going after whoever has the belts,” said Haye
“My performance against Ruiz was a good one — there were plenty of knockdowns, excitement and drama.
“That's something the heavyweight division hasn't had in a while, so it's my duty to make the best possible fight and give fans entertainment like this.
“If I hit the Klitschkos with the same shots I was hitting John Ruiz, both of them would go over.
“I'd like to fight again this year, in October or November. I'd take on the Klitschkos now, no doubt about it.
“I wouldn't have any qualms about fighting anyone. Look at my career to date — I'll fight anybody and go anywhere,” Haye added.
Understandably there appears little appetite in the Haye camp to satisfy a rematch clause with Nikolai Valuev, who the 29-year-old from London dispatched last November to seize the WBA belt.
Only the hulking Russian would want to restage a dismal contest that was light years away from the fireworks seen in Manchester last night.
“Given the option my next fight won't be against Valuev. I want to fight who the fans who want me to fight,” said Haye.
Haye's trainer and manager Adam Booth stated logic will prevail, suggesting Valuev will have to step aside, while Haye's partnership with Golden Boy Promotions could take him to America where he has struggled to make an impact.
His reputation across the Atlantic will rise after Saturday night even though the fight was not screened in America, and the Klitschkos will certainly have been interested spectators.