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It's hardly Ali v Liston, but it's definitely progress

David haye was, predictably enough, still pouring on the braggadocio when he boarded his private jet for Hamburg and his world heavyweight collision with Wladimir Klitschko at the weekend.

No doubt we have to brace ourselves against another tide of trash talk.

Trash talk, however inspired, will always be an assault on the spirit and there have been times when Haye has come closer than most to defining it. However, for the first time in his heavyweight career there is at least one gleam of redemption. It is that Haye's frequently horrible effusions on this occasion indisputably precede a real fight.

He can hardly wave a set of traps, as the then Cassius Clay did while pursuing the menacing Sonny Liston, and declare that Klitschko "is a big ugly bear", but no one can argue that the large, experienced man from Ukraine is not a serious threat to his health and sense of well-being. In a better endowed era, Haye-Klitschko would not be guaranteed rapt and universal attention. But it does have the dignity of a genuine contest. This is, unquestionably, progress.

Belfast Telegraph