By Chris LaBate
GQ Magazine has republished an earlier interview the publication had conducted with WBA heavyweight champion David Haye. In the interview, Haye talks about winning the title from the "Russian Giant" Nikolai Valuev, the critics always discussing his chin, and his July 2 opponent - WBO/IBO/IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko.
On getting knocked out early in his career by 40-year-old Carl Thompson, who many thought was shot to pieces.
"I realized then that talent can only get you so far," said Haye. "I'd had ten easy fights as a pro. I felt like a footballer who scores five goals every week. After a while you wouldn't bother training, and I didn't. I learnt to have more hunger during training, and I didn't want that horrible, embarrassed feeling afterwards, sitting in hospital."
On critics always discussing his chin and calling it suspect.
"I'll always have a suspect chin," admitted Haye. "Anyone who's been down always will have. But I've never been on the canvas for longer than eight seconds. You can train yourself to take punishment."
On his fighting strategy against Nikolai Valuev, and the post-fight debates.
"The plan was to land my shots and avoid his, go dancing in the rain without getting wet. Getting hit by a giant like that wasn't an option. Each round, I was counting the punches in my head. If I got caught, and I rarely did, I'd land five, I knew I was winning. If I've landed five punches in a round, and he lands none, I've won the round. You don't get points for missing the goal, you have to get it in the net," said Haye.
"All the people who didn't think I won that night were the ones who didn't think I'd win before the fight. Afterwards they were all saying Valuev was terrible, no one said that before the fight. Two of the judges had me winning eight of the 12 rounds. To do that in Germany you have to whitewash the guy. The best the other judges could do is call it a draw."
On making his decision to remain a "self-promoted" boxer.
"We talked to a lot of boxers. None of them had anything good to say about those who looked after them," Haye said. "Boxers were the employees, the promoter was the boss who told them where to go, who to fight and what they'd get paid. The promoter would earn £100,000 and pay the fighter £7,500. The less that we could have to do with those people, the better."
"A year before the Maccarinelli fight, in January 2007, one of the biggest UK promoters offered me a six-fight deal for £975,000, and I said no." Within three fights, Haye said, he earned far more than that on his own.
Haye's thoughts on the Klitschko brothers.
"I'll test their chins early, break their hearts. When things aren't going their way, they can't readjust and they find a way to get out of the fight," said Haye. "They even blamed one of [Wladimir's] losses on drugged water. That level of denial, or self-deceit, is a weakness. That lets you know a lot about their mind-set."