The long-anticipated bout between British boxer David Haye and Tyson Fury may not hold again, after the former world heavyweight champion had a five-hour reconstruction operation on his shoulder in Germany on Thursday.
The heavily-hyped British heavyweight showdown was postponed from September due to a cut suffered by Haye above his left eye in some late sparring.
The 33-year-old Briton, Haye, has been advised to retire by some experts following a second set-back to the fight rearranged for 8th February.
“The boxing gods keep hinting that maybe enough is enough,” said Haye. “It’s a crushing blow for me. This wasn’t how I wanted to end 2013. Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Haye announced his retirement in October 2011, three months after losing his WBA belt to Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in Germany, but he returned to the ring the following year.
“The surgery and subsequent results are a bitter pill to swallow because I truly felt I had a lot more to offer,” added Haye.
“I genuinely believed the shoulder injury wasn’t that bad. But the doctor sent me for a detailed MRI scan and within 24 hours I was told the full extent of the damage. Twenty-four hours after that I was in the operating theatre.
“I had big plans for next year and the ultimate goal was to win back the world heavyweight title.
“What I didn’t anticipate was that this year would be the unluckiest of my career and that a number of injuries would disrupt my plans so much.”
Earlier in his career, Haye became European cruiserweight champion and went on to win the WBC, WBO and WBA world titles before stepping up for heavyweight.
He became the second Briton to hold a world heavyweight title since Lennox Lewis in November 2009 when he beat WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev in Germany.
Fury and his promoter Mick Hennessey are understandably fuming.
“I’m absolutely furious but in all honest this is exactly what I expected,” Fury told The Mail Online. “Everyone knows I was very suspicious when he pulled out the first time and this confirms to me that he’s always been afraid of me and never wanted this fight.”
Right now, Fury’s promoter Hennessey is considering his legal position and the promoter is wondering why Haye, who called for the Fury fight to be rescheduled after pulling out with a cut, kept silent about his shoulder problem.
Fury is now looking for a new February 8th opponent, yet as Hennessey says, it will not be easy pleasing the approx 20,000 fans who have bought tickets to see Fury Vs. Haye.
“In my view it might just be, simply, that he’s bottled it,” Hennessey said of Haye and his desire to face Fury.
Haye’s credibility amongst fight fans may have been forever tarnished.
He added: “If i’m now destined to have won the European Championship, the unified world cruiserweight championship and the WBA heavyweight championship of the world- with a record of 28 fights, 26 wins, 24 victories coming via knockout and only two defeats- then so be it.
“I’m proud of these achievement and consider my boxing career a huge success.”