Harry Pratt

Haye gets back in ring Saturday … as Groves’ cornerman

David Haye steps back into the ring on Saturday night, fully prepared for a bruising, hate-filled encounter.

Fear not. The heavyweight titleholder has neither lost the plot, nor his diary. And, no, Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko, his opponent in Hamburg on July 2, is not expected to be anywhere near a packed London O2 Arena.

Haye will be there as a corner man for George Groves, England’s Commonwealth super middleweight champion, who faces bitter rival James DeGale, the 2008 Olympic Gold medalist and British titleholder.

“I will carry the spit bucket. I will be in the corner to make sure his water is nice and chilled and his Vaseline is ready to go,” said the 30-year-old, whose Hayemaker company is promoting the clash billed 'The Grudge'.

“I will be more nervous than for my Klitschko fight. But this is not about me. It’s about George Groves. I am a Groves fan. I am his friend. I believe he is going all the way.”

It may only be a warm-up for the main event of the night – Welshman Nathan Cleverly’s bid to dethrone WBO light heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer of Germany – but Haye predicts the Groves-DeGale battle will be absolutely red hot given how much they loathe each other.

Indeed, the recent war of words between the two unbeaten Brits, schooled in the same west London gym, makes Haye’s feud with WBO and IBF world champion Klitschko seem a relative love-in.

“There is genuinely more needle between George and DeGale than me and Wladimir,” Haye said. “They have known each other since they were little kids. They despise one another.

“I have sparred with Groves and know how he tough he is. I know what his will is like. He will fight to the end. DeGale, though, reminds me of Audley Harrison. Tall, southpaw, not a big puncher but someone who talks a lot.”

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