Former WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye has shot down Tyson Fury's claims that his edge in size will be too much for the Londoner when the pair meet in Manchester on September 28.
The 32-year-old is six inches shorter and 40-pounds lighter than Fury, but, no stranger to facing big opponents, is relishing the chance to once again play David versus Goliath.
“If Fury is relying on size and strength to win this fight, he's in for a rude awakening,” said 'The Hayemaker', clocking in at 6'3 and 215-pounds. “Fury might be taller and heavier, but that doesn't mean he's stronger than me. And it certainly doesn't mean he hits harder than me. In fact, I'm pretty sure, based on our track records, that one of my shots will do twice the damage of one of his.
“Also, I'm used to fighting taller opponents at heavyweight. I've been in there with a few of them in my time, including Wladimir Klitschko, the number one in the world, so I know what I'm up against. How many little guys with quick hands, quick feet and fight-ending power has Fury faced in his career? It doesn't take a maths genius to figure out the answer.”
Despite suffering defeat to Klitschko in 2011, Haye's record against the giants of the heavyweight division makes for impressive reading. A decision win over 7'2 Russian Nikolay Valuev scooped him the WBA world heavyweight crown in 2009, and a three-round destruction of 6'6 southpaw Audley Harrison saw him successfully defend the belt a year later. Even so, Haye believes his September 28 showdown with Fury will mark his most memorable giant-slaying to date.
“Fury is the ideal big man for me, because he doesn't use his dimensions the way he probably should,” explained Haye. “He's not long, cautious and technical like Wladimir and Audley, and he's not granite-jawed and hairy like Valuev. What you get with Fury is a game and hittable heavyweight who loves a tear-up. That means he gives you loads of opportunities to bounce punches off his jaw and fleshy body.
“Some people may have wanted more excitement in my fights against Wladimir, Valuev and Audley, but the way those fights played out had a lot to do with a clash of styles. All of those guys were wary of closing the range on me, as they knew I was ready to unleash quick and sneaky counterpunches on them. Fury isn't like that, though. He's not scared and he's not worried about being sparked out. Once he climbs into the ring, he wants to do damage and he wants to feel like he's in a proper tear-up.
“If he boxes me at long range it won't work, because he's not good enough, technically, to do that. But if he comes to fight, and uses every ounce of his weight on me, we're in for one hell of a fun ride. And he's in for one hell of a headache the next morning.”