Harry Pratt

Haye lowers pay demands for shot at Vitali Klitschko in March

Former WBA heavyweight beltholder David Haye has revealed talks over a title shot at WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko are on-going, and that he would be willing to accept less than half of the total fight purse.

While news of a Haye-Klitschko showdown early next year hardly comes as a huge shock to the boxing world, the Brit’s concession on 50-50 split most definitely does. This appears to be key to the bout going ahead in March 2012.

Cruiserweight-turned-heavyweight Haye (25-2, 23 knockouts) retired in October on his 31st birthday — as he always promised — having two months earlier lost, in desperately disappointing fashion, his WBA belt to The RING’s undisputed heavyweight champion, Wladimir Klitschko, younger brother of Vitali.

Until now Haye, from south London, Eng, insisted there would be no comeback – against either Klitschko – unless he received an equal slice of the financial action. However, in an interview with BBC Hard Talk, to be aired next Monday, he now admits such pay demands are unrealistic and confirms that negotiations with 40-year-old WBC holder Vitali (43-2, 40 KOs) are well underway.

“No, I don‘t believe that I deserve a 50-50 split on this fight at this particular time. I don‘t have a title,” said Haye, who made £8million from his defeat to Wladimir Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) in July. “I do bring revenue to the pot. I am not like your usual contender, who is just a nobody. I bring a lot of excitement. I put bums on seats and I get television networks interested. I know I bring a value, but that value I don’t believe is 50-50.

“I haven’t seen a contract but there’s definitely talks going on and there’s a date in March that’s already been talked about. I said before I retired I would love the fight against Vitali, the big brother of Wladimir, who beat me in my last fight. They’re the only guys I’d consider coming out of retirement for. Whether it happens or not I don’t know.

“What I will do, though, is make sure I am in good shape. So if the fight does happen, if they give me what I believe I deserve and if the date for the TV networks and the sanctioning bodies all comes together on one night and it can work, then it’s something I’ll seriously, seriously consider.”

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