DAVID HAYE is desperate to beat Tony Bellew in good style, to earn himself a shot at unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. But it requires a ‘destructive’ performance against his Liverpudlian rival.
“A medium day is not good enough, it might be good enough to beat Bellew but beating Joshua, [Deontay] Wilder, [Joseph] Parker or anyone else who holds a title, will be so far out of my reach, what’s the point?” asked Haye. “I am not in there to get beat by these guys, I want to become the best in the division. Bellew offers a barometer but it is not just the win, if I knock him out in the three rounds but suffer a cut or knockdown and it is a real battle, I will know… How would Joshua, Parker or Wilder handle Bellew. Does he even get past two rounds with those guys? If he gets through more than that with me, then why am I even thinking about fighting those guys?
“If I do not take him out in a destructive way and make it look like a complete mismatch then I don’t see that I can start looking at titles.”
But Haye is thinking about those guys. He believes he’d have a greater claim to a shot at Joshua than, say, Jarrell Miller. “Me fighting anyone for a title is big news. It all solely depends on this fight though. If I go out there and struggle then it’s not worth anything. But I go out and look a million dollars and absolutely punch holes in him like I believe and said I would do first time round, then people can start making the argument – he’s a former champion, back on form. The two highest-profile boxers in the country and then that starts changing things. Anthony Joshua versus Jarrell Miller vs Anthony Joshua versus David Haye are two very different spectacles. One is “who is Jarrell Miller?” and the other one is ‘okay that will be an interesting fight,’” he said, “while David is alive!”
Haye envisages a bout with Anthony Joshua as an Ali-Foreman-esque encounter. He explains, “I’d be a huge, huge underdog going into that fight, I’m aware of that. He’s nearly 10 years younger, three inches taller, three stone heavier. And I’m coming off a couple of injuries so for me that’s the Muhammad Ali fighting George Foreman. Coming off two losses against Ken Norton and [Joe] Frazier, and Foreman knocked them both out. [Ali] was old, finished, allegedly past his prime, everyone was worrying for his health and he somehow turns the tables. That’s what I believe Muhammad Ali has been most recognised for. It wasn’t in his heyday when he was more agile and he was physically superior to everyone. It was the fact that he beat the monster that was George Foreman when he was past his prime. That solidified his great legacy.”
Haye continued, “AJ is the biggest name, [with] the profile, what’s the point in fighting for a title when no one knows who the holder is?
“If you want to be the best in the division then you have to fight the guy the highest profile, the biggest name, with the most belts. Right now that is Joshua but it could be Parker… Joshua is the guy who has beaten the best opponents, 20 unbeaten, no decisions, you cannot argue with that resume.”