AT his public workout on Monday, former heavyweight champion David Haye revealed that George Groves, a super-middleweight, had given him a black eye.
“I hadn’t sparred with him for a while,” Haye said. “You’ve got to speed yourself up when it gets closer to a fight. I always like to do over-speed training, so instead of sparring with heavyweights I spar with super-middleweights, light-heavyweights who have quicker hands to force me to get my head moving and obviously my head wasn’t moving as fast as it needed to. Obviously as the rounds get on I kind of adjusted a little bit more to his speed so come fight night there’s nothing this guy [Arnold Gjerjaj] is going to do speed-wise that should affect me.
“When a super-middleweight’s sparring a heavyweight, he’s under instructions to do what he can to land quality shots and I’m not allowed to let the right hand go so he knows that, so he can let his hands go. It was fine, I enjoyed it, I’d rather get a black eye from George in sparring than a punch off a big heavyweight with 10 ounce gloves on.”
Haye has been working on his speed. Moving up originally from cruiserweight, he believes that that quality is going to set him apart from the gargantuan heavyweights, like Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua, who currently rule the division. “My speed has always been the key to my success. A lot of people think it’s my punch power. But it’s the fact that I’m quick enough to land the shots. You can have all the power you want but if you can’t land your punch, it’s irrelevant. You can have all the power you want but if you’re not quick enough to avoid the shots coming at you, you’re going to get hit, hurt, slowed down. As long as I maintain my speed and focus on speed being at its optimal, come fight night I don’t think there’s anybody on the planet that can deal with it,” he said.
Haye was unwilling to write off Arnold Gjerjaj. “This fight might be the one that takes me into those later stages of the fight. I’m preparing for that. I’m not preparing for a one or two round blowout. This guy’s unbeaten in 29 fights, there are no massive names on his record but it doesn’t mean he can’t fight, it doesn’t mean that he’s not taking this fight as the fight of his life,” David said.
“If he beats me, he’s got himself in contention for a world title fight against any of the champions, it’ll put him on everybody’s radar. If he beats me, he’ll be 30-0, 22 knockouts and just knocked out David Haye. Who else has done that? What other heavyweight has done that? No one else can claim that. Wladimir Klitschko beat me on a points decision so he’ll be right up there. He knows that, his team know that and that’s why they’re taking this fight so seriously.”
David Haye takes on Arnold ‘The Cobra’ Gjerjaj at The O2 on May 21. Watch #HayeDay exclusively live and free-to-air from 8pm on Dave, for tickets visit theo2.co.uk.