x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Confident Haye happy to be underdog

Klitschko finally reacted to the taunts Haye has been launching his way, saying that his prescription for the Briton is a knock-out back to reality ahead of their bout.

Wladimir Klitschko, left, and David Haye have spent months exchanging insults.
Wladimir Klitschko, left, and David Haye have spent months exchanging insults.

HAMBURG, Germany // David Haye is "enjoying" his role as the underdog in Saturday's heavyweight title unification fight against Wladimir Klitschko because he believes victory will be all the sweeter as a result.

The 30-year-old WBA champion is notoriously cocky and outspoken but has historically backed up his boasts by undertaking tough challenges and coming out on top.

His two biggest wins, against Jean Marc Mormeck for the cruiserweight world title in 2007 and Nikolai Valuev for the WBA heavyweight crown in 2009, took place on foreign soil with Haye as the firm underdog.

On Saturday in Hamburg, the British fighter ventures into hostile territory again to face the 35-year-old Klitschko, the long-standing IBF and WBO champion who holds significant height and weight advantages. But Haye (25-1, 23 KOS would not have it any other way. "I'm enjoying that. It means you get more credit afterwards," he said.

"If I was heavy favourite then what is there to do? You beat him on points and people say 'you could have knocked him out'.

"This time around everyone thinks I'm going to lose and that's great. But to the people who are writing me off - just make sure you give me my dues after the fight."

Haye, like Klitschko (55-3, 49 KOS, will spend the remainder of this week in Hamburg ticking over until the first bell on Saturday night.

The Londoner can focus solely on the fight now after the main press conference was held on Monday rather than the more usual Wednesday or Thursday.

"It's weird doing the press conference on the Monday, this far out, when you'd normally do it on the Thursday and the next day have the weigh-in and then the fight," Haye said. "But this fight needs the big build-up, there are a lot of people wanting interviews, there are lots of media engagements because it is a mega-fight.

"But I just want to get in there and get it on. The talking is over and it's time."

At Monday's news conference, Klitschko promised to deliver the therapeutic beating Haye needs to become a "better person".

"My name is Dr Klitschko. I am a therapist and on July 2 I am going to give you treatment," Klitschko told Haye, who was sitting next to him at a news conference.

"It is going to be reality rehab. I will knock you out into reality, which will be good for your life. You will be a better person and have better manners."

Haye, meanwhile, promised "the most brutal execution of a boxer that you've seen for many, many years".