DAVID HAYE announced last week that Cuba’s Ismael Salas would be his new trainer; having left Shane McGuigan. Salas, who has worked with, amongst others, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Jorge Linares and Guillermo Rigondeaux, is a fine trainer Haye has admired for some time.
Here, Salas speaks exclusively with BN:
Q: How excited are you to be working with David Haye?
Ismael Salas: “Very much so. What I can verify with my own eyes is this: I think we have, between us, a perfect combination. He has great natural talent, talent which will make him, again, a boxing star. This, along with my experience – I have over 40 years in active boxing, amateur and pro – will make Haye a champion again.”
Q: How soon will Haye fight again, how is his Achilles injury, which he of course suffered in the Tony Bellew loss?
I.S: “That fight, that defeat, it taught Haye a lesson and he has indeed learned from it. He has had a tremendously successful operation, followed by great post-op therapy and treatment. I would say he is around 95-percent fit and healthy right now. I think before the end of the year, he will certainly be ready to fight again. I feel a rematch with Tony Bellew would be the best first step [in the comeback] and then take another step forward. I certainly feel Haye can become champion again.”
Q: Who do you think is the best current heavyweight champion?
I.S: “In my opinion the heavyweight division is in a revival period right now, after the last true great, Lennox Lewis. We have fresh talent with Anthony Joshua and [Deontay] Wilder. In time, Haye will be able to reappear on the big stage and fight these names. In terms of who is the best, this will come down to the growth process of the fighters. I would say Joshua is the head of the heavyweight division today, with Wilder a close second. But there are also a number of good young fighters come up who will soon emerge as stars.”
Q: What is it about Haye that made you want to work with him?
I.S: “I have always liked Haye’s style and approach. His fighting style pleases me greatly. He has great explosiveness and mobility. I feel he has a lot more to offer, he must first come through the first [comeback] stage and then continue to go forward. I have now in my hands a great fighter with great natural attributes.”