Exclusive: Mark de Mori talks David Haye, fitness, desire and sending ‘that tweet’
Heavyweight contender Mark de Mori is delighted to have finally nailed down a big name opponent following the announcement of the Croatia-based Australian’s clash with former world champion David Haye this week.
The 33 year-old sent out an innocent reply to the returning Haye on social media without expecting anything in return but was suddenly sitting opposite the one-time cruiserweight king at a press conference in London just nine days later.
De Mori and Haye collide at the O2 Arena on January 16 and ‘The Dominator’ took time out to discuss the beginnings of his massive opportunity, along with what kind of shape his British foe may be in after three years out of action.
“I had a previous argument with Deontay Wilder over Twitter when he was an undefeated prospect in 2011, but our promoters didn’t make the fight work, so after a while I sort of gave up on social media,” de Mori exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I’ve had a few big fights fall through since then and I was disillusioned with boxing, but I saw David Haye put the tweet up and I just replied. I thought, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’
“Then he started replying and giving me a bit of stick, so I gave it back and it became a twitter argument. It was pretty juvenile, but his management actually called me so I’m glad I put that little reply as it’s a life changing opportunity.
“I honestly thought nothing would happen, but here I am. It’s all happened so quickly.”
Asked if Haye, now 35 and without a fight since 2012, looked as if he’ showing any signs of age as the two got up close and personal at the media gathering, de Mori answered: “He’s always been a pretty boy, so he still looks like a young, fit guy. He’s got a great physique on him so I don’t think he’ll ever get out of shape. Haye’s just what I expected though as he’s a little bit taller than me, although I’m wider than him and I think I’m the natural heavyweight.
“I got in his face a bit as there’s obviously a script written already that I’m supposed to get beaten up and send him on his way back to title contention, but I wanted to let him know that I’m serious and I’m not just here to pick up a pay packet. This is life or death to me and my boxing career.
“In the past a cruiserweight he had a lot of stamina problems and he’s got lots of muscle. Some fighters can handle that and still have stamina, but Haye’s got a new trainer and a new regime so it’s hard to predict if he’ll have gained a few pounds in his time away.
“His trainer (Shane McGuigan) said he’s now training every day instead of every other day, so maybe he’s doing more cardio and he’s going to come in a bit lighter? Against a fighter like me, I’m assuming he’s going to stay on the outside and try to catch me rushing in, so he may want a bit more speed and stamina.
“I think there’s two ways to look at Haye’s time out. He can either come back really refreshed or he can be completely out of his depth when a real fight happens.
“A guy like me stays in shape all year round and Haye’s got one of those physiques that even if he doesn’t train he still looks like a statue. I’ve got one of those physiques that I have to stay in the gym and watch what I eat, but I think even if Haye was out of shape, you still wouldn’t see it in his physique – he’s always ripped.
“He does seem to enjoy the celebrity lifestyle which is why I said to him; ‘You’re a millionaire and a celebrity, you don’t need this anymore’ and asked him how could he want this more than me.
“To him, this is just a fight to see if he can get back to where he was, to me this is everything.”
Tickets for David Haye v Mark de Mori on January 16 at the O2 Arena in London are available here from axs.com