ON two separate occasions last year, David Haye pulled out of dates with domestic heavyweight rival Tyson Fury, citing cuts and injured arms. Prior to that, Haye was forced out of a fight with Manuel Charr due to injury. It seemed the British star, a figure of love and hate, would not fight again.
But now, almost two years since he beat Dereck Chisora, Haye is ready to return to the ring believing his body is healing. This is what he had to say about his proposed October return.
So, you’re back and ready to fight again?
David Haye: I never actually retired [this time]. I was advised that I wouldn’t be able to [fight] anymore so I kept [returning] quiet so people didn’t say, ‘You’re not going to retire and come back again?’
I didn’t want to say I was coming back just in case I couldn’t. All I knew was I had a bad arm and shoulder. I wanted to do the best I could to rehab to see if I could or couldn’t fight again and now I know I can; but I didn’t want to make a song and dance about it.
Who will you come back against and when? [October in London has been mentioned]
DH: I’ve got no clue. I haven’t even thought about it. I will leave that to [trainer and manager] Adam [Booth]. We always come up with a plan. My whole plan, who I fight is almost irrelevant in my eyes. It is not just about who I fight, I’m looking at a year-and-a-half down the line. That’s what we are thinking. For the next year I know that all of the titles are tied up with lots of mandatories, lots of final eliminators so the time limit for titles is a year to eighteen months. That doesn’t bother me. In the meantime I can get back to doing what I do, knocking people out and trying to find a way to box as regularly as possible.
Throughout my career I’ve spent too much time not boxing. There have been reasons for that and me and Adam have figured out a way to have more fights regularly. That’s when you will see me on form. I’ve averaged a year, year-and-half between fights, which is a joke. It’s okay for me because I’m in big fights, making big money and not taking much punishment, I don’t take much punishment. How much punishment did I take against Wladimir Klitschko? Not much.
The abuse I’ve taken over the years, compared to the big fights and money that I’ve generated, I’m quite happy with. Even if they are smaller fights [now] I just want to get used to getting back in the ring, getting used to the training, shorter training camps. I would do these big, long, heavy-intensive four-month training camps where I’m just mashing myself up, sparring, and that’s where I’m picking up the injuries. Maybe I’m just not recovering like I used to when I was 24. When I was 24 I could spar one day on and one day off. Doing 10 rounds each day. As you get older you start picking up niggles here and there and they don’t heal as quick so I need to try to be a little bit more economical with my training. Me and Adam have sat down and analysed what I’ve done and we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to adjust because the training I was doing before I won’t be able to do. I will be constantly injured. You should see me way more regular than usual.
Kubrat Pulev meets Wladimir Klitschko in September, how will he do?
DH: I haven’t seen Pulev fight. No-one would beat Klitschko in Germany [on points] and he won’t knock him out so 100 per cent he’s going to lose.
Dereck Chisora meets Tyson Fury next month. How do you see that one going?
DH: It depends on how much damage has been done to Dereck and how dedicated he is and how seriously he’s taking Tyson Fury. If you don’t take Fury or any fighter seriously you can come unstuck.
If the same Chisora that showed up to fight me turns up to fight Fury, he’ll win against any version of Tyson Fury, but I don’t know what that fight took out of him, his confidence or his chin. Up until that fight he had never been put down, he’d never been badly hurt but one thing I’ve noticed about fighters with granite chins, once you start getting buzzed and wobbled you then get buzzed and wobbled more and more.
Everyone starts off with a great chin but that’s why I don’t get hit too much because I know the more you get hit the more your punch resistance goes, so I’d rather save every ounce of mine than use it up in fights. It depends on what Chisora has left. I bumped into him in town a few weeks back and he looked thick, quite chunky, solid, like he’d been hitting the weights and that might be the thing for him if he wants to move Fury around using his weight that could be good, I don’t think he should try to outbox him, Tyson Fury has way longer arms and is a half-decent-ish boxer. He kind of out-jabbed him the first time round when he [Chisora] was out of shape. He might have some success at boxing but I think he should go directly at Fury. He is used to people running away from him and not really punching back, because he’s never really fought anyone who punches back, he fights small guys who can’t really punch, so if you’re strong fighter, put it on him and let him have it. Anyone who’s thrown decent shots at Fury has either hurt him or put him down. It’s kind of a 50-50 fight.
You’re looking very lean. Will you definitely be coming back at heavyweight?
DH: If I wanted to make cruiserweight I could but I don’t want to make cruiserweight. I’m only about 10lbs over, I could boil down but who wants me to beat some small cruiserweights.
Was your appetite whetted being at the Carl Froch-George Groves rematch at Wembley Stadium?
DH: It was good to see the British public come out, not just boxing fans or sports fans but people in general, who knew nothing about boxing, were there. They got caught up in the hype and they wanted to be part of it and that’s what big-time boxing is all about, tapping into the non-sports fans and the non-boxing fans. And they did that perfectly. Eddie [Hearn] did a fantastic job. He really did.
You were ringside to see Bermane Stiverne lift the WBC heavyweight title. What do you think of him?
DH:He’s a heavyweight. He’s the type of guy who, if you let him hit you, he will hurt you but he doesn’t really have the footspeed or handspeed to close the range and doesn’t do anything to stop me landing my shots but, you know, I’m a way away from fighting for his title. There are a few people in front of me so I’m not worried about it. I just want to focus on myself. It’s not so much who’s out there. I know when I’m ready, on my day, and when I’m fit and healthy I can beat anyone on the planet. It’s about getting used to doing that, getting through training camps without getting injured, getting used to going into the ring and if I have three fights in the space of seven months. That will obviously build the confidence after all of the pull-outs I’ve had in the last couple of years so I can build my confidence in my body and the British public’s confidence that I’m going to actually turn up for a fight and I’m not going to get injured again.
Kalle Sauerland has said he would like to match you with Alexander Povetkin, are you keen?
DH: Definitely. Me and Povetkin were supposed to fight in the amateurs. We both went to a tournament in Croatia and we were on opposite sides of the draw, everybody knew we were going to fight each other in the final. It was who he had his fight his first and won on points, then I had my fight. We both got into the final and I was thinking it would be a nice little scalp at 91kgs and come the day of the fight he just pulled out. I was pissed off, so I won that on a walkover, which was annoying because I was really up for it. Then he moved up to super-heavyweight and I never got to fight him as an amateur so I think it would be good to do it as a professional. He’s a good-sized heavyweight, he moves well and throws good punch combinations and had a good win against Manuel Charr the other day so sure… Down the line it could happen but I’m sure he has his own plan for the future. But he’s definitely someone I’d be interested in.