David Haye failed in his bid to unify the heavyweight division on this day 10 years ago as he was beaten on points by Wladimir Klitschko.
Haye had been bidding to add the Ukrainian’s IBF and WBO belts to his own WBA title but failed to fire in a much-hyped fight in Hamburg and later claimed he had a broken toe.
The judges scored the bout 117-109, 118-108 and 116-110, handing Klitschko a comfortable victory after 12 rounds of mostly defensive boxing from the Briton on a wet night at the Imtech Arena.
The outcome was far from the straightforward win inside the distance Haye, then 30, had predicted in his aggressive pre-fight trash-talking.
Haye had labelled Klitschko a “fraud” and “not tough enough” and claimed the Ukrainian looked “beaten and broken” before he even stepped into the ring for “the biggest fight in boxing”.
None of this registered with German-based Klitschko, who outboxed his opponent in a highly-professional performance.
Defeat was a disappointment to the 10,000 Britons in the 45,000 crowd and a blow to the credibility of Haye, who had previously spoken of retiring in glory before he turned 31.
“I broke my toe on my right foot,” Haye said afterwards. “I couldn’t push off the right foot to throw the right hand.
“I thought adrenaline would get me through it but it was tough. It’s incredibly frustrating.”
Haye returned to the ring the following year to fight British rival Dereck Chisora and eventually retired after the second of two losses to Tony Bellew in 2018.