Cruiserweight contender David Haye sent out a message to the heavyweight division last night (26 April) with a scintillating first-round knockout of Poland's Tomasz Bonin at Wembley Arena. Though outweighed by a natural heavyweight, Haye ended matters in just 105 seconds.
The result acted as a warning to a division he hoped to one day dominate, but, for now, Haye remains a cruiserweight. Not only that, a cruiserweight on the cusp of challenging for world honours. After all, it was only ever his impatience that moved him to take a non-title heavyweight encounter while waiting for a well-earned shot at WBC and WBA world cruiserweight king Jean-Marc Mormeck later this year.
Call it marking time, call it keeping busy, Haye wasn't content to dance to the champion's tune, so decided to act upon his urges and trade blows with Bonin, a natural heavyweight, ahead of a tilt at the cruiserweight belts.
Of course, the gamble could have backfired and Haye could have paid for his aversion to queues. But, thankfully, for the good of his career and, indeed, the cruiserweight division, Haye dusted off Bonin with very little difficulty and remained on track for his shot at glory in the 200lb weight-class.
In truth, the result was never really in doubt. Sure, Bonin possessed, on paper, a pretty record (37-1) and a reputation for durability, but he'd never before encountered someone as fast or dynamic as Haye. This much was evident just seconds into the contest, when the Englishman dazzled the flat-nosed Pole with a variety of feints, explosive moves and lightning pot-shots from out of his orthodox stance. Bemused, Bonin didn't know whether to duck, run or hide. Alas, he did none of the above and instead sat a prone target for a variety of Haye punches.
Then came the pay-off. Forty-five seconds into the opening round, 'The Hayemaker' effortlessly glided around the ring, shook out the tension in his arms and then unleashed a devastating one-two combination on the stunned face of his opponent. Such was the force of the attack, Bonin found himself blown halfway across the ring and then down on to the seat of his pants. Right on cue, the crowd erupted, while Haye skipped to a neutral corner.
Pride forced Bonin to pull himself upright almost immediately – the referee's count had barely reached two – but what was now clear was that the gulf in speed and class was far too much for him to ever catch up. The doleful look on his face suggested he knew this, too.
Still, he had no choice but to invest in hope at this early juncture. So Bonin trotted forward, first to referee Ian John-Lewis and then into a flurry of additional Haye shots. Chopping punches put him down for a second time, though this was ruled a slip. His third trip to the canvas was certainly no accident, however, as Haye measured him with the jab and then brought over a booming right hand, which dropped Bonin on one knee.
Again, he rose quickly. He also nodded his head when the referee probed his will to go on. But pride alone wasn't going to win him the fight, and so it proved. His antic-climatic last stand was only greeted by more Haye counter-punches, and more strife and turmoil. This time there would be no respite, either. As he tried to run across the ring and escape, Haye followed him and clubbed him into submission with less than two minutes gone in the fight.
A cruiserweight by name and reputation, David Haye looked as impressive and powerful as any heavyweight in the world last night. If at all in doubt, ask poor Tomasz Bonin.