Tyson Fury doesn’t seem intimated at all about facing the most dangerous foe of his career, former two-division champ David Haye, in what will be the biggest UK heavyweight showdown in recent memory.
David Haye and Tyson Fury may have formally announced their Sept. 28 showdown at a packed London press conference but the latter still has plenty more to say prior to his date with destiny at the Manchester Arena.
“David Haye is scared to death and he should be because I’m going to smash his face in,” said THE RING’s No. 8-rated heavyweight.
“When it comes down to it this guy can barely talk and it was clear at the press conference that he’s all flash and no cash. I’m just being myself and I look forward to the fight because David Haye isn’t the man he thinks he is.”
Both men were actually on good form for the media last week and there were plenty of laughs as a result.
Haye, THE RING’s No. 3-rated heavyweight, berated Fury for accidentally thumping himself in the face with a right uppercut in an early pro outing but was immediately countered by the notorious “toe excuse,” which followed his title fight defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in July 2011.
“I’m the good guy and the bad guy,” Fury told Ring TV.com. “I can play both parts and if Haye isn’t capable of playing his, then I’ll do it for him. I’ll play the good guy, the bad guy, the sweet guy and the nice guy.”
Clearly there is real animosity between the British rivals but the outspoken 25 year old does acknowledge the quality which will face him in his first assignment at world level.
“Haye has achieved a lot in boxing,” acknowledged Fury. “He’s a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, so credit where it’s due. This is simply his last crack at the big time because it’s my time to shine.”
Peter Fury, Tyson’s trainer and uncle, agrees that Haye is to be fully respected as both a fighter and an athlete.
“I have high opinions of David,” said the affable coach. “He belongs on the world stage and has a lot to prove after what happened in the Klitschko fight, so he’ll be out to make a statement.
“Haye has got good footwork, moves his head, fires quick on angles, brings explosive power and he can box. He’s knocked out 24 of 26 opponents and he’s only ever lost to world champions.
“His record speaks for itself.”
The 12-round contest will mark Fury’s introduction into the world of Sky Box Office PPV. Quite frankly there is no platform bigger for a fight in the UK and one could be forgiven for feeling the heat.
“I will thrive on it,” dismissed Fury. “I was born to fight at this level and the pressure is all on David because, as he said, I’m just a chump and everyone expects him to beat me.
“He’s the one that has to perform, whereas I’ll just do what I do best and win.”
A lot of fighters are cautious about divulging their game plan for an event of this magnitude but Fury answered immediately when questioned on tactics for his biggest bout to date.
“I’m going to walk forward and meet fire with fire,” said Fury. “I’m the bigger man so I’ll be pushing Haye around the ring and eventually I’ll knock him out. It’ll be something similar to the Steve Cunningham fight only I’ll have a tighter defense.”
Two years ago Haye was bested by a bigger man in Wladimir Klitschko and, although he lasted the distance, the 32-year-old Londoner struggled to make the match up competitive.
Granted, we’re talking about a first-ballot Hall of Famer in Klitschko but this reporter was curious to know if Fury would adopt a similar approach to that of the Ukrainian legend.
“Wlad and I are completely different in terms of style,” said Fury. “Klitschko likes to jab and grab and I’m not that type of fighter because I want to mix it. I’ll be on top of Haye and I’ll wear him out.”
“I’ve had 21 fights and my journey towards this moment has been perfect so I’m looking forward to doing the business. Haye can punch but I don’t really care because we’re both heavyweights and if I hit him properly it’ll be curtains.”
Indeed, if the fight goes the way Fury thinks it will then there will be plenty of drama.
“My prediction is that I’ll come through a few sticky patches at the beginning but I’ll get on top of him in the middle rounds and stop him late. I’ll get Haye in eight, nine or 10 when the fight gets harder.”
More than one critic has questioned Haye’s engine and Fury seems intent on testing the former two weight world champion to the limit.
“Tyson will be on his A Game and he will be 100 percent ready,” said Peter Fury. “As a fighter he has improved, he will continue to improve and it’s time for the world scene.
“This is a great fight for British boxing between two heavyweights at the top of their game and Tyson will prove a lot of people wrong on the night.”
So, will we get another piece of lyrical genius from Fury as we did following his most recent victory, over Cunningham, in New York’s Madison Square Garden?
“Definitely,” said Tyson. “I don’t know what song yet but you’ll definitely get one.”
A Greatest Hits Collection is what boxing fans need from both men on the night.
Photos / Shaun Botterill
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and contributes to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing