DAVID HAYE claims there is minimal interest in Anthony Joshua’s IBF world heavyweight title defence against Eric Molina this weekend.
Unbeaten Joshua is an enormous favourite to retain his title at the Manchester Arena on Saturday, with a view to potentially fighting Wladimir Klitschko afterward.
Haye – who fights Tony Bellew in a massive heavyweight clash next year – feels heavy underdogs like Molina do not grab the public’s interest, and insists the pay-per-view figures will suffer for it.
“Joshua is defending his IBF title against Molina in a week and I’ve heard zero talk about it,” he said. “I’ve got a fight happening on March 4 and it’s headline news.
“Most people haven’t seen Eric Molina and the ones who have, saw him get knocked out against Chris Arreola in one round. Chris Arreola isn’t known as elite. He also got knocked out by Deontay Wilder who had his worst performance to date, with a broken hand, and still knocked him out. This guy going in against Anthony Joshua isn’t getting people excited. This fight [against Bellew] does.”
Haye also took a double swipe at both Bellew and Joshua with regards to their world titles. Bellew claimed the vacant WBC cruiserweight title when he stopped Ilunga Makabu in Liverpool while Joshua won the IBF belt by walloping an awful Charles Martin.
A former unified cruiserweight champion and world heavyweight title-holder, Haye does not feel someone who won their title in such a manner can claim to be a world-beater.
“This is his [Bellew’s] first big fight really. He had the [world title] fight in his hometown but it didn’t sell that many tickets, that was his sort of homecoming and he won the vacant WBC title,” he said.
“I haven’t had the luxury of fighting for a vacant title, I went overseas for it but that’s how I always dreamed of doing it. I never dreamed of fighting for a vacant title in my hometown. Although it might look good on paper, are you really the champ? Can you really call yourself the best in the world? Joshua as well.”