By Declan Taylor, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE says he can do a Muhammad Ali on world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
The 37-year-old is currently preparing for his revenge mission against Tony Bellew on May 5 at London’s O2 Arena.
But Haye says he is simply using the Scouse puncher as a “barometer” for a potential clash with the reigning WBA, IBO and IBF king Joshua.
And he reckons he could roll back the years and beat the young wrecking ball, just like Ali did when he faced George Foreman in the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle.
He said: “I would be a huge, huge underdog going into a fight with Joshua, I’m aware of that.
“He is 10 years younger, taller and heavier and I’m coming off a couple of injuries, but for me it’s like Muhammad Ali fighting George Foreman.
“They said Ali was old and finished, allegedly past his prime and everyone was worrying for his health but he somehow turned the tables.
“Even when he was past his prime, he beat the monster that was George Foreman. That would be me versus Anthony Joshua.”
Haye was stopped by Bellew in the 11th round of their dramatic first clash back in March.
And the Hayemaker says he will call time on his 16-year career if he fails to beat Bellew this time around – and he might retire even if he wins.
He said: “A medium day is not good enough, unless I win in style I will retire.
“A medium day might be good enough to beat Bellew but beating Joshua, [Deontay] Wilder, [Joseph] Parker or anyone else who holds a title will be so far out of my reach what’s the point?
“I am not in there to get beat by these guys, I want to become the best in the division.
“Bellew offers a barometer but it is not just the win, if I knock him out in the three rounds but suffer a cut or knock down and it is a real battle, I will know.
“If I do not take him out in a destructive way and make it look like a complete mismatch then I see that I can start looking at titles.”