By Terence Dooley
London's David Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) has admitted that he has had to curb his anger in order to try to beat bitter rival Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) at London’s O2 Arena live on Sky Sports Box Office on Saturday night.
“The Hayemaker” revealed that Bellew’s pre-fight talk got to him before their March 2017 encounter, which he lost in 11 rounds after injuring his Achillies in round six, and has stressed that he now has the mental measure of his Liverpool-based foe.
The 37-year-old has appeared downbeat at times leading up to this one yet he attributes this to a new, laidback approach that he feels will be necessary to ensure that he can register a much-needed win and move on to a fresh challenge in the heavyweight division.
“The last time round I came in angry, I came in screaming and shouting, whooping and hollering, and said some horrendous things to the good people of Liverpool,” he said when speaking to David Anderson of the Daily Mirror (Irish edition).
He added: “I paid the ultimate price because I talked big and then under-performed. I'm not going to lower myself to that again. That's where he is. He's in the gutter, that's where he performs.”
Haye also believes that the input of Ismael Salas, his new trainer, will come to the fore on the night and he has pledged a vintage performance after looking ragged even before the injury last time out. Salas has recently split with Jorge Linares so has been able to devote all his time to Haye. “The punches I was throwing, I've never missed so many,” he said.
“If I had watched someone else do that I would have said: 'Boxing ain't for you, mate. You haven't got what it takes to even make it past Southern area level.' Fortunately I have changed quite a few things, Ismael Salas being one of them, and having conditioner Ruben Tabares back on the team. He knows how to get the best out of me. Believe me, I will get my revenge on Saturday.”
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