Boxing: WBA heavyweight champ Haye dismisses Hopkins fight
LONDON — WBA heavyweight champion David Haye on Monday ruled out defending his title against veteran Bernard Hopkins, a boxing great he said is one of his idols.
Two days after stopping John Ruiz in nine rounds, Haye is trying to line up a unification fight against one of the Klitschko brothers, Vitali or Wladimir, who hold the other heavyweight belts, and said he may have to meet former champion Nikolai Valuev in a rematch of last year's title contest.
But he said a fight with the 45-year-old Hopkins, who beat Roy Jones Jr. in a lopsided non-title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday, was not in his thoughts.
"Bernard Hopkins is one of my idols. Looking back at his fights over the last 20, 25 years, he's always been a great fighter," Haye told the BBC. "But now he's 45 years of age, he fought another 40-year-old on the same night as me and it was a dire fight for everybody there in attendance.
"I think he just wants a big payday, to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world he can demand big money."
Haye said he may have to wait until much later this year or even into 2011 to face one of the Klitschkos. Wladimir holds the IBF and WBO belts and Vitali the WBC title.
"It is not that close at the moment. In an ideal world it would happen by the end of the year," Haye said. "I want those big fights. I want the fights that the fans want to see. We're going to start sitting around the table. They've both got fights coming up, so once they've got their obligations out of the way, we'll sit down and thrash it out. Whenever we do get in the ring, it's going to be an amazing fight."
Haye outpointed the 7-foot-2 Valuev on Nov. 7 to claim the WBA title from the Russian, who said he had agreed to a mandatory rematch once the British fighter had beaten Ruiz, a two-time former champion.
"Potentially. It's not 100 percent guaranteed," Haye said about the possibility of meeting Valuev again. "It's more a fact of whichever fight out there makes more money I can go for. If a fight with Valuev makes more money, then my promotional partners will edge me to that direction."