What was billed as the fight of the decade ended up being a bit of a damp squib – but I was lucky to see any of it after Sky crashed under the weight of customer demand.
As someone who is uninitiated in the sport of boxing I had very little idea of what to expect from the fight between Britain’s David Haye and Ukraine’s Wladimir Klitschko. Over the past few weeks I had been told that this was going to be big. Sky went to town on its advertising and probably wished it hadn’t as it buckled under the demand for subscriptions on the night. No matter how many cables we swapped around behind the television, it wasn’t going to happen. The poor old Sky call centre workers would have had a nightmare shift, that’s for sure.
After a bit of fumbling around and several calls to Sky, we eventually gave up. So did Sky, apparently, as they issued a tweet that suggested all its customers struggling to subscribe for the event should head down to their nearest pub.
There was a promise of decapitation and hospitalisation. If David Haye was a product he would have been thrown out at the trade descriptions act stage. His words melted as Klitschko absorbed what little pressure he was put under and played a classy, tactical game to win unanimously on points. He was magnanimous in victory while Haye blamed his performance on a broken toe he sustained in training and his coach called the referee a disgrace.
Now, as I’ve already mentioned, I’m no expert when it comes to boxing. I’ve watched very few boxing matches in my time but even I, with my limited knowledge in the sport, knew that it was turning out to be a disappointment. We watched 12 rounds of Klitschko occupying the centre of the ring as he dealt out jab after jab to an opponent who couldn’t really get anywhere near him. It was all too cagey and reserved for the first few rounds and then it all got a bit scrappy.
Apparently Haye lacked respect, class and tactical nous in the ring – when he eventually turned up, that is. He played the late arrival card and, to be honest, that didn’t work. Nothing much did. Klitschko, so I’m told, has been at the top of his game for the best part of a decade. This was supposed to be Haye’s career defining fight, but despite talking the talk he failed to walk the walk.
As a spectacle it wasn’t worth the £15 Sky were charging for it. It’s a good job we didn’t pay it, then. We made do with a less then consistent internet stream on a laptop placed delicately on top of a pouffe that was at risk of being walked on by a couple of cats. They kept their distance, though – and even had a fight of their own on the kitchen floor. That was more of a close contest.
The radio phone-in afterwards had a lot of callers claiming it was an embarrassment for Haye. Maybe it was, but if that’s an embarrassment then what do you call Mike Tyson’s singing at the end of The Hangover 2?