By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE wants to do an Eric Cantona and become a legend by retiring at the top.
Eric Cantona retired aged 30 in 1997 after a glittering career for Manchester United – and David Haye plans to leave fans wanting more, just like the French striker did.
WBA champion Haye has no intention of boxing beyond the age of 30, insisting he will hang up his gloves before his 31st birthday in October.
That means the Londoner’s £50m unification clash with rival world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, 35, in Hamburg on July 2 could be his last fight.
Haye’s ideal scenario would be to beat IBF, IBO and WBO champion Wladimir – and then move on to his elder brother Vitali.
But WBC king Vitali, 39, is due to meet Pole Tomasz Adamek, 34, on September 10, which KOs Haye’s hopes of fighting both Ukrainian brothers before his planned retirement date.
He said: “You’ve got to leave them wanting more. I like the way Eric Cantona went out. He went out on top. I love people who go out on their own terms and not because the doctors are saying you can’t box or you have failed a physical.
“Everyone complains about Evander Holyfield fighting in his forties and Roy Jones keeps fighting.
“Then you get someone trying to retire in their prime and it’s like, ‘No, we want to keep you fighting until it’s too late and you are a bit of cabbage’.
“That’s never been in my plan or ambition. It’s to get out in my prime and achieve all that I wanted to do.
“I said I would retire in October and I’m going to. Vitali has got a fight pencilled in for September at some stage and that one looks pretty unlikely it will happen after that.
“This could potentially be my last fi ght so I have to make sure I go out with a career-best performance.
“They say you are only as good as your last fi ght. So if this is the last one, I have to make sure it’s the best.”
Haye plans to end his career just like former undisputed world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis... by beating a Klitschko.
He said: “Lennox went out after beating a Klitschko and that would be the perfect end for me.”
And the Hayemaker hopes his new iPhone game – David Haye’s Knockout – will succeed in winding up Klitschko, just like a T-shirt he wore two years ago showing him holding the brothers’ decapitated heads.
He added: “It gives people a sneak preview of how I’m going to beat Wladimir. Without a doubt, he will be wound up by it.”
HAYE v Klitschko is exclusively live on Sky Box Office HD & 3D on Saturday, July 2. Book now on sky.com/orderboxoffice
Tags: Wladimir Klitschko , David Haye , Klitschko-Haye , Klitschko vs Haye