By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE could fold under pressure when he meets Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg next month.
Klitschko believes that fighting in front of 50,000 fans in the open air at Hamburg’s football stadium may just prove too much for WBA world heavyweight champ David Haye.
And, while Klitschko feels that Haye may bottle it, he is relishing the occasion himself, saying: “The crowd will bring the best out of me.”
IBF and WBO king Klitschko, who will be having his fourth successive stadium fight in Germany, added: “I positively thrive on the kind of pressure such occasions bring.”
Londoner Haye, 30, has never headlined in front of such a huge crowd and Klitschko believes the Brit could freeze on the big stage.
He said: “Just how it will affect Haye is a different matter.
“He won’t have experienced that kind of thing before so I know I will have an advantage over him in that respect.”
The 35-year-old German-based Ukrainian has won 49 of his 55 victories by knockout and says the packed crowd will help him on to KO No.50 against Haye.
The 6ft 7in Klitschko said: “This will be my fourth stadium fight in succession and I can’t wait to fight in front of 50,000 people in Hamburg, which is where I live.
“I know exactly what to expect, I know exactly what’s coming at me. I have been there and done it before so I am fully prepared.
“Also, my failures have made me mature and a better fighter and man than I was before. I am getting wiser as I grow older.”
Klitschko loves performing in front of big crowds – something he illustrated when he threw a strike at a packed-out Yankees Stadium in New York.
He recalled: “When I fought at Madison Square Garden five years ago when I was defending my title against Calvin Brock, in one of the promotions for the fight I had to throw the first pitch at Yankees Stadium.
“There were 60,000 people at this sold-out event and the guy asked me if I was nervous.
“He said, ‘If you miss it, they’re going to boo you and it will be embarrassing’.
“He asked me if I had butterflies. I said I have flamingos in my stomach because there are 60,000 people out there.
“I was very happy that I was able to perform and throw the first pitch. I got a strike and instead of booing, I got cheering.
“I definitely perform better if there’s more tension and there are more people out there.
“Not so much when just five people watch us instead of 50,000. I definitely enjoy the pressure.”