David Haye was speaking ahead of his appearance on The Clare Balding Show which this week also features Shane McGuigan and Barry McGuigan.
On coming back to boxing
Yes, since I was a kid I said I wanted to be the heavyweight champion of the world and I did that by beating a big massive giant guy. En route to doing that I won the undisputed cruiserweight champion, the weight below heavyweight, because I’m not the biggest guy, I won all the world title belts at that and then went up and fought the really big guys but I still feel I have more to give. Although I have achieved my goal which was to be the heavyweight champion, I want to do it again and I want to win all the belts. A lot of boxers come back after a loss but my last fight was a victory and the only reason I have been out for so long is because I’ve had injury so I’ve been really unfortunate in the injury department so I’m healthy now and I want to get back in there and crack on.
On injuries and training
I found my motivation, yes. Because I was injured, for instance I had a big operation on my shoulder and my arm was in this position in a cast for six months. I got depressed, I was just sitting on the beach. Once you’ve laid on a beach for so long you get kind of bored and I’ve spent a lot of time on the beach in the last three and a half years, the novelty wears off after a while. I’ve got stuff to achieve and I’m sitting on the beach on the phone watching the other fighters winning fights and thinking I could beat that guy, let’s get off the beach and get back in the gym.
Yes, I am in perfect shape, yes. I am healthy, punching, sparring, everything is going great, I feel as good as I’ve felt in the last five or six years for sure, even when I was competing I feel better now. The three and a half years I’ve had out has given my body time to rejuvenate, recover because I was carrying lots of knee injuries over the years and by not getting the ring and pounding myself in training constantly, it has given me a good opportunity to heal and come back brand new. I’m a different shape, I’m 35 years of age now but I think I’m a young 35, I haven’t taken that much punishment. A lot of fighters at 35 have had ten world title fights, hard rounds, hard fights – I’ve only been the distance twice in my whole boxing career and I haven’t been battered or bashed up so in terms of miles on the clock I’m in a good place so I feel this next phase in my career or the final phase of my career, I can go through it and win all of the world titles I get in the fights for.
On Fighting at the O2
I think there are 16,000 and I think we’ve sold 14,000 so far and I’m really happy with that, particularly being after Christmas. They said it was a really terrible time to put a boxing match on, in mid-January when nobody has any money from Christmas because everyone’s broke but a few people have still got some money left over and they’ve come down and it’s going to be amazing. I grew up round the corner from the O2 arena, a stone’s throw away from Bermondsey where I was born and bred and I won my first unification fight at the O2 arena against Enzo Maccarinelli in 2008 and that for me, walking out there, the electricity of the crowd, south London, it was absolutely fantastic and after three and a half years out to go back there again and pack out the place and put on another good performance against a top ten ranked fighter, a guy who hasn’t lost in eleven years, he was talking about knocking me out and doing all sorts of horrible things to me.
His message to Mark
He hasn’t lost in over a decade and he has knocked out the same amount of fighters that I’ve beaten and he’s ranked top ten in the world so there are positive things about him. I hope training has gone really good and you’re feeling positive about 16th, I’m excited too and I’m sure everyone at the O2 arena are going to be thrilled by us really going at it. I know you’re the Dominator and you really want to dominate me but unfortunately, I’m going to rip out the Haymaker and get you down for the count.
On controversy between fighters
You have got two options you can go down. You can go down, ‘De Mori, you’re a great guy, you have nice hair, you use Pantene’ and no one is going to want to see me fight if I’m just stroking his hair, no one wants to see that. Or I can say I want to kick his head off his …, kick his head off, rip his head off blah-blah-blah and people think, oh he really wants to have a fight and the pay per view numbers really do affect if there is a genuine beef then if there is a fake don’t really care about each other. The fights that have sold the best are normally grudge fights, everyone loves a grudge match, if you are in a bar or wherever, in a park, you see two people screaming at each other, instinctively you want to see that. You see two people playing with each other, you’re not interested in that so it is an instinctive thing to see two people fighting with each other whether you are a violent person or not, it’s just instinct and that’s why I think the grudge fights sell so well and that’s why I like to pick an opponent that doesn’t like me and wants to do me some harm. People want to see us smashed out.
On the best opponent he’s faced
Jean Marc Mormeck. He’s the guy I fought for the world title at cruiserweight, none of his fights have been shown in the UK but for me had the most awkward style and he’s who I won my first world title off. It was really horrible, a hard fight for me, I won it, I got knocked down and got up and won it. It wasn’t a big fight over here, it was squashed between a Ricky Hatton and Calzaghe fight and no one saw my fight but for me that was probably the toughest.
Watch the show on BT Sport 1 from 8.00pm on Thursday or on BBC Two at 10pm on Friday 8th January’.