‘The Home of Witty Banter’ is set to showcase the return of David Haye this weekend and despite perplexity over Dave as a sport’s broadcaster, a big free-to-air boxing clash is exactly what Britain needs.
Haye’s comeback fight against Mark de Mori on Saturday 16 January at The O2 Arena, will be the first ever live sporting event on UK TV owned Channel Dave.
Dave also furthered their intent to give boxing the coverage it deserves with the announcement that they will broadcast a special half-hour documentary on Haye’s return to the ring the night before.
After major shoulder surgery to Haye in November 2013, many believed the former WBA heavyweight champion had finally hung up his gloves. So when ‘Haye Day’ was announced as his comeback to boxing, many fans were left in shock – or more plausibility, denial.
The 35-year-old’s recent history of pulling out of big fights may have hindered his bargaining power when negotiating with bigger broadcasters such as ITV, Sky and BoxNation.
(Check out this slick tribute to the Haye’s career thus far, via YouTube account Tezel Prod):
‘The Haymaker’ is also no stranger to Freeview in the last 12 months, where he has held the role as on-screen presenter for UK mixed martial arts promotion BAMMA – which is broadcast on Spike UK.
Haye was scheduled to fight Manuel Charr in Manchester on 29 June 2013. However, an injury to his left hand forced Haye out of the fight.
Also, the main reason behind Tyson Fury’s loathe of Haye, the former WBA, WBC, WBO cruiserweight champion’s withdrawal from their speculated 2013 fight.
After recovering from his hand injury, Haye negotiated to fight Fury on 28 September, but again withdrew with an ailment, this time a severe cut above his eye a week before the fight. Both camps tried to reschedule the match-up, but it never came to fruition after Haye’s career threatening shoulder surgery.
The last time UK boxing fans were given a free and relevant heavyweight showcase was when Fury was signed to Channel 5 between 2011-2013. Since then, major British names have slowly disappeared from free-to-view television, instead landing on both pay-per-view and subscription platforms.
Meanwhile, Haye is lobbying for a major all-British showdown with the fast rising Anthony Joshua, and should he get past De Mori, a summer showdown could be very likely.
Plus, a Haye vs. Joshua showdown would without question draw the attention of the big guns, especially after Joshua’s win over Dillian Whyte was shown live on Sky Sports PPV.
People fear the unknown, and the mystery surrounding Dave opposing the professional and polished coverage of counterparts Sky Sports and BoxNation, is one of huge intrigue.
Nonetheless, to have a major British boxing figure back on freeview, in an event which will undoubtedly bring in a great amount of media attention, is a great feeling.
As Sky Sports and BoxNation increase their stronghold on the major boxing names in the UK, a rare giveaway like ‘Haye Day’ should be welcomed by all.
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