The ‘bad guy’ last time around; confident, outspoken, threatening, could all describe how David Haye approached his first showdown with Tony Bellew. This time though it is all different.
A switch in trainer, as Haye introduced Ismael Salas for Shane McGuigan, but also a change in demeanour, the Londoner comes into the rematch a more humble and gracious character – something Bellew has made clear that he does not believe is genuine.
Although Haye’s transition in personalities has frustrated Bellew, the “Hayemaker” has insisted his fresh approach has nothing to do with winding up his Liverpudlian counterpart.
“I haven’t done anything to affect Tony Bellew in anyway,” Haye said. “I’ve completely detached myself from Tony Bellew, I’m not acting, I’m not saying anything to affect him.
“Good luck to Tony Bellew I wish him all the luck in the world. Because he’s going need it.”
The change in his ego is all down to the former WBA heavyweight champion’s plan to focus on himself and Haye vowed to put into practise the gameplan he and new Cuban trainer, Ismael Salas have conjured up.
“I can only focus on myself and that’s what I’ve done for this fight,” Haye said. “My coach has laid out a gameplan for me and we’ve rehearsed it and practised it day in and day out and you’ll see the fruits of all that hard work Saturday night, you truly will.”
Before, in the first fight, Haye suffered a crucial Achilles tendon injury in round six, which was the catalyst for his downfall. The 37-year-old had failed with attempts to aggressively land shots on Bellew, despite the fight being a close affair early on.
Haye doesn’t plan to come out with the same aggression as before, but stated that more shots would be landed successfully this time.
“I think the main difference is I’ll be landing the punches I’ll be throwing,” he said. “It sounds silly to say but the last time round I threw a lot of missed punches, probably my most inaccurate performance I ever had in my life and this time round it won’t be the case.
“I’ll be landing the majority of my punches.”
Haye and Bellew meet for the second time this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London and live on Sky Box Office.