Dave Coldwell has revealed the extent to which David Haye’s ongoing activity undermines the heavyweight’s long-term plans to retire young.
The former WBA champion and then-trainer Adam Booth for years planned for Haye to retire by his 31st birthday, yet for Saturday’s rematch with Tony Bellew he is a 37-year-old injury-prone fighter.
Haye even announced his retirement when he turned 31, having earned millions winning world titles at cruiserweight and heavyweight and establishing himself as a British great, before being briefly tempted back for a lucrative fight with Dereck Chisora in 2012.
He retired once more when a shoulder injury forced his withdrawal from a further fight with Tyson Fury, and since then – amid suggestions of financial difficulty – he has worked without Booth, turning to Shane McGuigan and more recently Ismael Salas.
The reality has become a far cry from the glamorous, easy lifestyle Haye had sought, and Bellew’s trainer Coldwell – once integral to Hayemaker Boxing – finds that reality “sad”.
“His intentions were never to carry on,” he told Press Association Sport. “The philosophy that he and Adam had – that Adam has for all of his fighters – is to get to the top as quick as you can, make your money, and get out with your faculties in tact, no marks on your face, still looking pretty.
“It’s sad to see how at 37, nearly 38, he’s still fighting on, trying to capture what he once had. He was a phenomenal fighter; those days were great, watching him in the gym.
“He just oozed class, speed, athleticism. He doesn’t do the same things with the same qualities he did back then, and that’s plain for anybody.
“Watch the workouts before (fighting Wladimir) Klitschko and (John) Ruiz and now; he’s not the same fighter.
“It is perfectly understandable, because he’s had injuries – he’s recovered from injuries – and he’s ageing. Time waits for no man, that’s not knocking David Haye, that’s just how things are.”
Haye first retired in 2011 as British boxing’s highest-profile figure after losing to Wladimir Klitschko, at a time when Bellew was a light-heavyweight whose ability to win a world title was in doubt.
The 42-year-old Coldwell was once on good terms with Haye and involved in his camp for that fight, and he insists that his pride will also be hurt at his career not going to plan.
“I see that in his eyes; his demeanour,” he said. “When crowds are heckling him he doesn’t take it well, he doesn’t like things being as they are for him.
“He’d probably be in Miami chilling, and enjoying his life, because he’d worked hard for it. His last couple of fights he’d have made plenty of money so he can walk away from this, and have some good times.”