David Haye has gone back to basics in a bid to reverse a stunning defeat to former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew last year.
Haye, 37, is handed the opportunity for redemption on May 5th after suffering an injury prior to the first meeting and says turning the result around in imperative.
“I was confident there would be a rematch because the first fight generated too much excitement and left too many unanswered questions for there not to be,” Haye said in a pre-fight column for The Daily Mirror.
“I wanted to get revenge, otherwise, I’d have the loss hanging over me. I could have gone another route but no matter what I achieved, I’d would still have the niggle of that loss to Tony Bellew.
“Camp has been going really well. I refer to Ismael Salas as a teacher rather than a trainer; he’s had 40 years in the sport working with some of the best and highly-skilled boxers, from Guillermo Rigondeaux to Felix Savon, he has been in the corner of 18 world champions. That level of success speaks for itself.
“Even at 37 years old I can still be moulded to a certain degree. Every fighter knows every punch in the book; there’s not a fighter who doesn’t know what a left uppercut is and how to throw it but if you don’t practice it daily, when it comes to the fight you won’t throw it properly.
“What Ismael has done is bring out some of the stuff I know how to do but had forgotten how to do.
“I’ve been able to get away with my hard jab and hard right hand but when it comes to body shots or punch evasion, I hadn’t been practicing it.
“I’m going back to basics for this fight and going back to what made me successful in the first place and I’m looking forward to showing people what they didn’t think I still have,” he added.
Enjoying an undefeated run stretching back to a 2013 loss against Adonis Stevenson at the light-heavyweight limit, Bellew has proven his guile at cruiserweight, whilst there remain question marks over his heavyweight capabilities due to weight constraints.
Bellew weighed in at 213 pounds for his first meeting with Haye, which is close to what WBC ruler Deontay Wilder scaled for his recent clash with Luis Ortiz, although the Briton doesn’t possess that equalizing power of the American.
A second victory over Haye could lead Bellew into precarious battles with much-bigger men in the mold of Tyson Fury, something which certainly wouldn’t faze the Liverpool man in the future.
Pitting his wits against Ward at a catchweight would at least give Bellew a puncher’s chance, but still see the ex-amateur star begin the fight as a massive underdog.
First things first for Bellew though, who also starts his rematch with Haye as the second favourite in the betting.
Haye needs to be firing on all cylinders to compete with Bellew, who proved he can easily deal with the Londoner when the former world champion isn’t at 100%.
Promising all injuries are now healed, Haye has a lot more to prove than Bellew does when the duo collide on May 5 at the O2 Arena.
Read David Haye’s full column in The Daily Mirror here