x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Haye taunts Valuev as a 'smelly circus freak'

The British challenger stages a spoof news conference where he punches the head off a life size cardboard cut-out of the Russian champion.

David Haye poses next to the headless cardboard cut-out of Nikolai Valuev during his press conference in London.
David Haye poses next to the headless cardboard cut-out of Nikolai Valuev during his press conference in London.

LONDON // The Briton David Haye expects world heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev to be an ugly opponent when they fight for the WBA title next month, but the smell also worries him. Haye, who fights the "Beast from the East" in Germany on November 7, was not so much stirring up a hornets nest at a trash-talking news conference today as wading in with a smile and the biggest stick at his disposal.

The 28-year-old said he hoped to get under the giant Russian's skin to the point where the champion steps into the Nuremberg ring with real hatred clouding his vision. "I always fight better when my opponent's angry," said Haye, who traded insults with a "lookalike" Valuev in hooded robe and Halloween fright mask before punching the head off a life size cardboard cut-out. "I relish that, I need him to come out there and throw a lot of punches. I thrive off that excitement and that anticipation before a fight," he said.

"I'm going to get him in a position where he really wants to not only beat me but to kill me. "I know he's big on hunting, on shooting bears and pigs and whatever. I want him to go out there and treat me the same way he tries to treat those animals." Haye, who has a 21-1 winning record, will be giving away 90 pounds in weight and a foot in height to the tallest and heaviest champion ever - and one who has yet to be floored in a 16-year professional career with just one defeat in 52 fights.

Haye, who has previously called Valuev "the ugliest thing I have ever seen", says there would be nothing pretty about the David v Goliath battle. "All you've got to do is look at a picture of the guy and that speaks volumes. I consider him more of a circus show freak that happens to be boxing," he said. "He's an ugly type of fighter, he tries to lean on you, tries to brawl and comes out with a really hairy chest that gets matted and is disgusting.

"I've never been a big fan of the matted hair in my face. The size I am, I sort of come up to his chest and apparently the word around the campfire is that he doesn't smell too sweet. "I've talked to a few guys that have been in the ring with him and they say that's the first thing they notice, just the stench. "Hopefully he runs a cold tap over himself or someone hoses him down outside before he comes in."

Haye, a former cruiserweight world champion, would be Britain's first heavyweight title holder since Lennox Lewis retired six years ago and he said he would do "anything humanly possible" to succeed. He recognised it would be tough, but refused to be intimidated. "I don't think he can hold his technique together, I think he's too clumsy. He doesn't have the technical ability to beat someone as fast and as experienced as me," said Haye.

"There are certain aspects of his game that are very effective, he's got a very good and fast jab, a double jab, he throws a nice upper cut. But he's going to need a lot more than those three shots to beat me." * Reuters