Over 10,000 tickets were sold in three hours for the David Haye-Tyson Fury heavyweight bout and the remaining 13,000 will be long gone, come fight night, when the two men collide at the Manchester Arena on Sept. 28th.
The biggest British heavyweight duel since Lennox Lewis defended his title against Frank Bruno doesn’t have a world championship at stake but it does have the backing of the British public, who have taken to the fight like it’s the ultimate blockbuster movie of 2013.
The bout will be available through Sky Box Office PPV in the UK and there will be a plethora of build-up material in the intervening weeks. Haye, the smooth talking ex-champion with thunderous punching power versus Fury, the ambitious contender with colossal physical advantages.
What’s not to like?
When Haye vs. Fury finally ignites it will be almost 20 years to the day since Lewis and Bruno squared off in Cardiff, Wales. Once again the boxing fraternity, as well as the British public, will be hoping that a fight can match the build-up and if it does then this encounter will be memorable.
RingTV.com spoke to Haye about his return to the ring and found the former two weight world champion at his confident and loquacious best.
RingTV.com: You haven’t fought since July 2012. What was the most difficult part about going back into training camp and how has preparation been thus far?
David Haye: No difficulties whatsoever, it was just a question of getting back into a routine. The transition has been pretty easy and I feel at home in the gym to be honest. I was doing training camps when Tyson Fury was a snot-nosed amateur, competing in two-minute rounds, with a head guard and a vest. When he was doing that I was winning world championships from Jean Marc Mormeck. I’ve been there and done it so I’m the seasoned veteran in this fight. Fury is just a 24-year-old kid who has never fought a heavyweight prepared to hit him back. Cunningham, who is still really a cruiserweight, punched back a bit and had him in all kinds of trouble.
RTV: I spoke to Tyson in June and he said quote “David Haye should be scared because I’m going to smash his face in,” unquote. Your reaction?
DH: (Laughs) This is just what he does and there are some great quotes out there. How much of it can we take seriously? This is the same guy who said “I am the greatest boxer that has ever lived and I am the greatest boxer who shall ever live.” These are his words. Anybody who says that, after being decked by Steve Cunningham, has problems.
RTV: Tyson Fury has, for the most part, exuded confidence in the build-up but he has also referred to the outside possibility of defeat. Does that surprise you?
DH: I’ve looked Tyson in the eye and he was in no hurry to look back. He was looking for excuses to break the stare by clowning around and he was far from convincing. Fury wanted away from that situation and he was very twitchy and nervous at the press conference. Soon we’ll meet in the center of the ring, he’ll be in a super fight and he’s never been there before. He hasn’t even fought on the undercard of a big fight, so he is way out of his depth. This guy will panic on the night because he doesn’t know how to handle the pressure. He lost his way in New York with Cunningham and looked terrible at times. He hasn’t had the necessary experience and he’s going to be found wanting when it comes to the crunch.
RTV: What are the main technical weaknesses that you will be looking to exploit on Sept. 28?
DH: His chin. I’ll be looking to test his chin and when I land he’s going to know about it. The one thing that all my opponents have said is that I punch extremely hard and it’s rare for me not to get a reaction when I land flush. Dereck Chisora supposedly had a granite chin and went the distance with Vitali Klitschko and Tyson Fury. What happened when The Hayemaker connected? Down he went like a sack of potatoes. My power is different to that of other fighters and Fury doesn’t understand this because he lacks championship experience. In the first round he’s going to understand and he won’t be enjoying it either.
RTV: Steve Cunningham decked Fury heavily with a single right hand and he is not regarded as a puncher. You’re a renowned fast starter, so will you be looking to finish the fight early?
DH: I check everyone’s chin early doors when I’m fresh and I won’t be letting rounds pass without checking his that’s for sure. He’s going to be tested quickly and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds. Most people respond by hitting the floor but perhaps Fury thinks he’ll grow a Marvelous Marvin Hagler chin between now and fight night. I personally doubt that is going to happen.
RTV: Fury is going to be sparring with Cunningham amongst others. Can you disclose any of the sparring partners who will be helping you with preparation?
DH: Not all of them because I’m not 100 percentage sure yet. There has been talk of me working with Deontay Wilder who has helped me out in the past. Deontay was very professional, came over in terrific shape and pushed me hard in training camp. We had some great workouts so if we could get him again then that would be ideal. His punches are a lot tidier than Tyson’s and he’ll help enhance my speed and timing because you can’t come in there half-hearted with Deontay, as we’ve all seen (laughs). He’s a very good puncher and he keeps you on your toes. I must also say that Deontay is a good quality operator in his own right – not a sparring partner.
RTV: Your last fight on Sky Box Office PPV, against Wladimir Klitschko, failed to dazzle. What will be different about this event?
DH: Wladimir is very defensive. He doesn’t put it on the line and I actually dropped my hands to entice him into a fight because he had promised to knock me out. That said he boxed smart, was happy to win the rounds and full credit to him for implementing that game plan. The fight didn’t dazzle in terms of explosiveness but this is a different scenario altogether. Tyson Fury is simple, relies on heart and guts and he’ll want to knock me out. We’re not talking about a master tactician, this is a guy who will come forward with the intention of roughing me up and he will look to use his size as an advantage.
RTV: As a heavyweight you’ve fluctuated between 210 and 222 pounds. Do you have focus on where your weight needs to be for this fight? Will you be lighter or heavier and why?
DH: I’m not concerned about my weight and I’ll just do the training and eat healthily. I’m not one of these fighters who eats his way up to a particular weight and I just come in as I am. Sometimes I’m 210 and sometimes I’m 222 but it is what it is. My belief is that a fast heavyweight is an effective heavyweight and I will never outweigh Tyson Fury so what is the point in trying? It’s a boxing match and I will be more effective with my natural athleticism.
RTV: You’re a big betting favorite and, for many, you’re expected to win. What ultimately motivates you with that being the case?
DH: So many people are interested in this fight. Non-boxing fans are even interested because they want to see Tyson Fury get demolished. As a boxer you like to give the fans what they want and this will be entertaining while it lasts. Competing in big fights like this is what it’s all about.
RTV: Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin meet a week later. Many see Povetkin as a serious threat. What’s your take on it?
DH: I don’t see Povetkin as a threat and Wladimir is too well schooled for him. There’s a reason this fight hasn’t happened up until now and it’s not because Wladimir is afraid. I think Povetkin’s people have always been a bit reluctant for this one to happen. It would be nice for heavyweight boxing but ultimately I don’t think Povetkin can match Wladimir because he is so effective at what he does.
RTV: What is your prediction for Sept. 28 and, if victorious, when would we see you back?
DH: I see a spectacular victory by knockout. This will be a lot more exciting that Klitschko vs. Povetkin which, despite being a title fight, has barely had a fraction of the column inches. Nobody cares about that fight, it’s all about Haye vs. Fury, and that is testament to Vladimir’s style and his personality. We all understand that he’s a good world champion but do people want to see him? At the moment they don’t, it’s as simple as that.
RTV: You’ve been like a heavyweight version of Sugar Ray Leonard in that you’re only turning up for work once a year. Will we see more of you from now on?
DH: (Laughs) I’d never thought of it like that. Is that what Leonard did? Fought once a year? Look it would be great to be more active but it all depends on opponents and dates. I expect this fight to go smoothly and we can sit down and evaluate my options afterwards. A win over Fury will benefit my world ranking but I’m hearing whispers that Vitali has had no interest in facing me since I knocked out Chisora. He found Chisora very tough to deal with, whereas I stopped him easily. Vitali is just picking and choosing his opponents now, so I need to get myself into a mandatory position. Beating up Tyson Fury won’t hurt that process.
Photos / Shaun Botterill-Getty Images, Clive Rose-Getty Images, Scott Heavey-Getty Images
For information on David Haye and future updates regarding his upcoming fight with Tyson Fury please go to his official site http://www.hayemaker.com/boxers/1/david-haye.aspx
British fans can order the fight live via Sky Sports Box Office (Channel 731) and Sky Sports Box Office HD (Channel 752) from 8.00pm, Saturday, Sept. 28