Re: Bruce Woodcock v David Haye
My grandad used to sometimes drink at Woodcock's pub in Doncaster and was quite friendly with him after he'd retired. I vaguely remember meeting him as a young kid and he seemed a nice fella; very quietly spoken and down to earth.
My grandad - whose opinions on boxing I always respected massively - always said he thought that Bruce would've turned out better had he been born elsewhere with access to better training and better management. He used to train in shocking conditions upstairs in a barn that was built at the back of a pub named The Plough in a village near Doncaster. As has already been said, he was moved too far too quickly by Solomons and was mainly in the game to earn money for his family and kids despite having no great love for it. South Yorkshire was a desperately poor area in those days.
Whatever Woodcock's limitations, he did have a world class right hand. I met Brian Blessed, a very good amateur himself, at a Q & A evening at my local village theatre a few years back. He knew Woodcock well and apparently had a few conversations with Joe Louis about him. Said that Joe admired Woodcock and told him he thought Bruce hit hard enough to spark anyone with his right hand. And that he could have done more if he'd been trained and managed better, which ties in well with what's already been said.
Anyway, fuck Haye, whether he would've beaten Woodcock or not. Bruce was a far classier bloke out of the ring at least.