Lord Of The Force
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David Haye: “You’re Going To See Klitschko Falling And Stumbling All Over The Ring"
Interview in full.
PAVEL: IT’S INTERESTING THAT YOU DO A LOT OF TRAINING AT THE LEGENDARY, WORLD-FAMOUS 5TH STREET GYM IN MIAMI BEACH. OF COURSE, THAT’S WHERE MUHAMMAD ALI TRAINED FOR MANY OF HIS FIGHTS. TO ME, THIS IS INTRIGUING BECAUSE YOUR PERSONALITY MAY BE THE MOST COLORFUL AND DRAMATIC OF ANY HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION SINCE THAT OF MUHAMMAD ALI HIMSELF. WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS?
HAYE: Well, the fact that I’m training at the 5th Street Gym gives me inspiration because I know Muhammad Ali trained here. But, in no way, shape, or form do I compare myself with The Greatest! He was in a niche of his own in every way. But training at his gym is a great experience…hopefully some of his magic will rub off on me as I prepare for Klitschko. The 5th Street Gym definitely puts a fighter in the best condition..
PAVEL: AN INTERESTING PARALLEL BETWEEN YOU AND ALI IS THAT HE TRAINED AT THE 5TH STREET GYM IN 1964 FOR HIS FIRST FIGHT WITH SONNY LISTON. LISTON WAS REGARDED AS UNBEATABLE AT THE TIME. IN 2011, YOU ARE TRAINING HERE FOR VLADIMIR KLITSCHKO, A GUY THAT MANY, TODAY, REGARD AS UNBEATABLE. IS THERE MUCH OF A PARALLEL HERE?
HAYE: Not really…there are differences. Liston was a great fighter, but he fought in a different era. His situation was different from Klitschko’s. In Klitschko were talking about a guy who has put together some great statistics, defended his title lots of times, held his titles for a very long time. He’s all about those record book accomplishments. Liston didn’t hold his title for very long, but I think he was a more dangerous fighter than Klitschko.
PAVEL: OKAY, THEN. LET’S TRY A DIFFERENT PARALLEL: THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE UPCOMING FIGHT WILL TURN OUT LIKE KLITSCHKO’S LOSS TO CORRIE SANDERS IN 2003. YOU, LIKE SANDERS, HAVE BLINDING HANDSPEED AND ONE PUNCH KAYO POWER IN EITHER FIST. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF OVERWHELMING KLITSCHKO AS SANDERS DID, WITH YOUR SPEED AND POWER BEING THE DRIVING ELEMENT IN THE FIGHT?
HAYE: You’re definitely going to see that happen again. You’re definitely going to see Vladimir falling and stumbling all around the ring. Once I get his chin, he’s going to have flashbacks. No question about it. He’ll remember what happened to him before and he’ll fall apart. Everyone reverts back to type, and it will happen to him when he tastes my speed and power. When someone hits Klitschko’s chin, he breaks down. When the going gets rough, he falls apart. Vladimir Klitschko is just a bully. When he gets taken out of his comfort zone, he breaks down. He is accustomed to fighting older, smaller, overweight fighters that he can overwhelm…that he can bully. He does not like being taken out of that zone. That’s the reason he never fought Valuev, someone who’s six inches taller and much heavier. Both brothers refused to fight Valuev. The Klitschkos fought every single American bum, but avoided the one guy who was that much bigger than them. Just watch what happens when I fight Klitschko. He will fall apart, like a bully.
PAVEL: BEFORE THEIR FIGHTS, THE KLITSCHKOS TEND TO TEAM-UP WHEN APPLYING PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESSURE ON AN OPPONENT. I REMEMBER VLADIMIR ACKNOWLEDGED THIS IN AN INTERVIEW YEARS AGO. BOTH BROTHERS GIVE AN OPPONENT THE INTENSE STARE-DOWN IN THE RING BEFORE THE FIRST ROUND. I FOUND IT INTERESTING THAT THIS WEEKEND, VLADIMIR HIMSELF WAS IN ODLANIER SOLIS’S DRESSING ROOM TO MONITOR THE HAND WRAPPING. I CAN IMAGINE WHAT KIND OF GLARE HE GAVE SOLIS. WHEN YOU FIGHT VLADIMIR, I EXPECT VITALI WILL BE IN YOUR DRESSING ROOM MONITORING YOUR HAND WRAPPING, AND TRYING TO PSYCH YOU OUT. ANY COMMENTS?
HAYE: I am looking forward to that. I would love to see Vitali try his really serious, intense stare with me in the dressing room before the fight. I will totally use reverse psychology on him, and psych him out. I am looking forward to that moment, to watch his reaction when he sees how completely cool and confident I am. I am going to psych Vitali out very badly when that happens…I’ll look right into his eye and tell him that I am going out there to completely destroy his brother…to knock him out. And then I’ll tell Vitali the same thing is going to happen to him when I’m done with Vladimir. I am going to enjoy that moment. I want to see the look in Vitali’s eye when he sees that I have absolutely no worry. I am going to psych Vitali out, then do to his brother what I’ll do to him.
PAVEL: WHAT DID YOU THINK OF VITALI’S VICTORY OVER SOLIS THIS WEEKEND? I AM AMONG THOSE WHO BELIEVE THAT VITALI’S RIGHT TO THE TEMPLE WAS THE DECISIVE FACTOR IN THE FIGHT. HOW DO YOU SEE THINGS?
HAYE: I don’t think Solis went into that fight in the best physical shape. The talk around the campfire is that something was wrong with Solis’s knee even before the fight. Solis was that much worse for being fat. He was carrying thirty extra pounds of blubber in the ring that night. He was just not in shape, he showed that he has no discipline. That’s what Solis is like; that’s why he is fat. He has bags of talent, but without discipline, he will turn himself into a bum. Just look at him, he is not supposed to weight 247 lbs, or 260 lbs, or all the other weights he’s carried into the ring. I fought Solis in the amateurs, when he weighed 200 lbs. He was in shape then, and he was much better because of it. In those days he was lean and mean. Not anymore. When he was in Cuba, Solis controlled his weight and he was excellent because of it. But now look at him. Solis’s problem is his attitude. Nowadays, when he gets home at night after a hard workout, if he feels hungry, he’ll just open the refrigerator and have a huge meal. He’s not the kind of guy who has the discipline to put off the big meal until the next morning, when he could sit down and have a big breakfast that he works off that same day. No, Solis will get home and have a massive meal before he goes to bed. That’s why he’s obese. I think it’s a shame, because Solis is a guy who could be right up there with me as a dominant heavyweight. He’s got the talent…he has everything going for him. But he doesn’t have discipline. He will turn himself into a bum if he doesn't have discipline. And he’s that much worse for being fat while having a knee problem. If a fighter has a problem with his knees or his ankles, he’s supposed to offset it by keeping his weight down. That takes the pressure off of the knees, ankles, or whatever. But look at Solis, he had a knee problem and he stuffed himself anyway, came into the ring thirty pounds overweight.
PAVEL: YOU AGAINST VLADIMIR KLITSCHKO WILL BE A HISTORIC FIGHT, ESPECIALLY FOR BRITISH BOXING. IF YOU BEAT KLITSCHKO…(Haye interjects, cutting the interviewer off)..
HAYE: (deepens his voice) …when I beat Klitschko, not if…(he emphasizes “when”)
PAVEL: OKAY…(laughs)…WHEN YOU BEAT KLITSCHKO, IT WILL BE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT OF EPIC PROPORTIONS FOR BRITISH BOXING. YOU WILL GO DOWN IN BRITISH HISTORY AS A GREAT NATIONAL SPORTING HERO. REGARDING YOUR ANTICIPATED STATUS WITH YOUR COUNTRYMEN, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN BECOME MORE POPULAR THAN LENNOX LEWIS AND SIR HENRY COOPER?
HAYE: I think we’re talking about different things here; there’s really no comparison. Lewis, me, Cooper, we have our own niches, so you can’t compare. Cooper…he never won the championship. He’s more of a household name, the sort of boxer that everyone knows about. I remember hearing about Cooper when I grew up. I heard about him at school, and just about everywhere else. Cooper had that kind of recognition even though he was never world champion. He had that popularity. Lewis held the championship for a long time, and for that reason, he had his own niche. He was on top for years. That built up his legend over a decade. With me it’s different from those guys. Unlike Lewis, I’m trying to do a lot in a short period of time. And I’m unlike Cooper, who wasn’t champion but who was a legend in a different way. I’m my own man…I have my own niche.
PAVEL: WELL, I HAVE LOTS MORE I WOULD LIKE TO ASK YOU, DAVID, BUT I KNOW YOU’RE PRESSED FOR TIME, SO LET’S CALL IT HERE. THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW.
HAYE: Thank you.