Has David Haye versus Tyson Fury lost its appeal?

After their heavyweight bout was rescheduled for February, Sports Mole assesses whether the fight between David Haye and Tyson Fury has lost some of its appeal.

This Saturday, September 28, should have marked the date when the most anticipated domestic bout in a decade would have taken place between former world champion David Haye and unbeaten fighter Tyson Fury.

However, just over a week before the fight, Haye suffered a deep cut above his eye which brought an immediate cancellation of their encounter, bringing disappointment to the sport's fans around the country, who weren't shy in bombarding social media with their anger.

A new date of February 8 has been agreed and signed by the two parties, but after the circumstances in which the fight was shelved and money lost by fans planning on attending the event, has the buzz that was created from the anticipation of the first fight been lost?

When a deal was agreed by both camps for the initial tussle, there was little more than 10 weeks between the opening press conference and fight night, and in that short amount of time there had been an unprecedented amount of talk about a battle that divided opinion with those involved within boxing.

But it was also a bout that needed little to attract the casual fan to the sport, and while tickets were sold far slower than for Carl Froch against George Groves, there was little doubt as to which match was creating more excitement.

David Haye and Tyson Fury at a press conference on July 11, 2013

However, just as the prospect of the two heavyweights locking horns inside the ring was about to become a reality, the displeasure of Haye withdrawing was heard in all quarters, and despite suffering what appeared to be a nasty cut, there was little sympathy for the 32-year-old.

Conspiracy theories were thrown about left, right and centre about the legitimacy of Haye's injury and how he sustained it, but while it appears a genuine accident in a sport that almost invites injuries, it will be a cut that will stick with Haye, who is the much more popular of the two combatants.

The first reaction of everyone who had purchased tickets, transport and accommodation for the headline match on an attractive card was to reschedule for a few weeks down the line, which was optimistic but it outlined the desire to get this fight done and dusted.

But when a date in the second week of February was announced, there was as much bemusement as there was anticipation, and that isn't ideal for an occasion that is over five months away.

After his second injury withdrawal in the space of three months, Haye is beginning to lose the faith of his fanbase that has made him one of the leading names in the sport, and they will ultimately play a significant part in selling out the Phones4u Arena in 19 weeks' time.

David Haye during a public training day during preparations for his heavyweight fight against Wladimir Klitschko on June 29, 2011

There was little that could have been done to stage the bout earlier than February, due to Sky requesting a break in between pay-per-view events plus a space needed to be found in the Arena's diary.

But it doesn't appear likely that many of the thousands of fans that will hope to attend in February will commit their money and time into another of Haye's fight until they are confident that the Londoner will be making an appearance.

Another issue lurking around the corner is the outcome of the upcoming heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, with Haye and Fury both hoping to secure a title shot against the victor sometime in the future.

Peter Fury, Tyson's uncle and trainer, has already voiced his concerns that Haye could distance himself away from the domestic scene should he be offered an opportunity to fight either fighter early next year, in the same way in which Haye shelved plans to fight Manuel Charr in June to get a shot at Fury.

When looking at the bigger picture, those worries are justifiable because no matter how much money is on offer for this showdown to take place, Haye, or Fury, wouldn't think twice if they were given the chance to compete for a world strap against Klitschko or Povetkin because they would believe that they could return to this fight at a later date.

But at a time when the appeal of this bout has already been lessened, and with the rescheduled date set for 29 weeks after the contract agreement of the first, this is Haye and Fury's one last shot at making this encounter work, or else interest in the fight will be lost for good.

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