David Haye sits in the pantheon of injury-prone athletes, alongside the likes of Kieron Dyer and Daniel Sturridge. Injuries plagued his career from 2009 when he pulled out of a Wladimir Klitschko match-up with a back complaint 17 days from fight night.
The pair met two years later as Klitschko inflicted a wide-points defeat on the Londoner. In the aftermath, Haye infamously blamed his lacklustre performance on a broken toe. A hand issue ruled him out of a comeback against Manuel Charr before back to back pullouts against Tyson "The Gypsy King" Fury. The 37-year-old - who made his name putting opponents to sleep - underwent an operation to reconstruct his shoulder.
During years of shoulder rehabilitation, the heavyweight landscape changed. Fury dethroned the undisputed champion Klitschko, and the emergence of Anthony Joshua captured the world's attention. The heavyweight division long dominated by the Ukrainian's effective but one-paced style was open for business. Haye looked in from the outside as "AJ" steamrolled his way to a world title, spearheading a golden age for British boxing.
Following Haye's shoulder surgery, the doctor's orders were explicit - retire from boxing or risk further setbacks. But in a sport that never fully closes its door on its faded stars, the "Hayemaker" returned to the gym, dogmatic in his desire to recapture former glories.
After four years out of the ring, the Londoner tested the waters by knocking-out two unknown imports, before signing to fight Tony Bellew. When Haye tore his achilles against the Liverpudlian last March, he cut a desperate figure, swinging and missing wildly for five rounds before being bundled to the canvas. His heart and determination unquestionable. His body and career in pieces.
Shortly after, Haye parted with trainer Shane McGuigan and entered another period of rehabilitation. The Bellew rematch was slated for December - just nine months on from their first contest. But predictably - and aligned with the pattern of his career - Haye suffered a ruptured bicep in a "freak accident" forcing the bout to be postponed until this weekend.
Footage emerging from Haye's social media channels depict a sculpted, powerful fighter ready for war. But history tells us the physical stresses of prizefighting have long taken its toll on a man whose career is beginning to be defined by injury, rather than by those famous nights under the lights.
25/1 David Haye to win (New customers)
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