By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE fears Vitali Klitschko’s reign as WBC heavyweight champion will be in serious danger on Saturday if Cuban Odlanier Solis turns up fit.
Klitschko, 39, was last beaten on cuts by Lennox Lewis in 2003 but David Haye hopes the Germany-based Ukrainian holds on to his belt so they can meet later this year in what would be the Brit’s last fight.
WBA champion Haye, 30, is set to face Vitali’s younger brother Wladimir, the IBF-WBO ruler, at a German football stadium on June 25 or July 2 and has vowed to retire by the end of 2011.
The Londoner’s aim is to beat Wladimir and then capture the only remaining world-title belt not in his possession by toppling Vitali.
But unbeaten Solis, 30, will be trying to end Vitali’s reign in Cologne, Germany, and Haye is giving him a chance.
Haye knows all about the threat 2004 Olympic gold medallist Solis poses after being stopped by the Cuban as an amateur at the 2001 World Championships in Belfast.
He said: “It depends upon Solis because we all know what Vitali will do, he has done it his whole career.
“He will use his height and reach advantage and will be fit for 12 rounds. He has got a good chin so Solis can’t go in there and try and blast him out.
“You can’t go out there with Vitali with anything other than a perfect game plan and if there’s anyone on the planet other than me who can do it, it’s Solis.
“A Solis at 260 pounds won’t beat Vitali, but a Solis at 225 pounds can.
“It depends if Solis has got himself into condition. If he has, he could cause Vitali fits.
“I fought Solis when he was 14st 5lb in the amateurs. Now he is 18 or 19 stone he has lost the advantages he used to have as an amateur.
“I hope Vitali doesn’t lose. I don’t want to lose out on a great final showdown with Vitali, the chance to hold all four belts and beat the big brother.”
Before Haye can get his hands on Vitali, he has to get past Wladimir, 34.
The Hayemaker flies to Miami today to begin training for the world title unification clash confident he can turn their fight into a toe-to-toe brawl.
He said: “Wladimir fights safe and even when he has got someone completely out on his feet, when you could blow them away, he doesn’t go in for the kill.
“He’s afraid there might be a minute chance of the other guy throwing a punch back at him.
“That mentality is so ingrained in him he can’t capitalise on any advantage he finds himself in. But I want him to come out and go to war and let his hands go.
“I don’t believe he engages in battle when needed, so whether I need to hurt him or embarrass him, I will. I’m going to put him in positions he’s not comfortable with.
“I’ve never seen anyone with as much fear in their eyes as him when the bell rings.
“He’s just fortunate he is 6ft 6in and he’s bigger and stronger than other guys he fights. If he was 6ft 3in with that same style he would be nobody.”