By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
DAVID HAYE has dumped his trash talk as he claims he no longer needs it to sell his Wladimir Klitschko fight.
But David Haye is not suddenly going soft as the big fight approaches, insisting he has no regrets about insulting his opponents – even if it has offended fans and turned them against him.
The Londoner admits it was done simply to sell his fights and gain exposure as he progressed from world cruiserweight champion to world heavyweight champ.
Now Haye, 30, is in the final stages of his preparation for the world heavyweight title unification clash with Klitschko in Germany on July 2.
Klitschko, 35, has been Haye’s target of abuse for more than two years and is still raging from a 2009 stunt where the WBA heavyweight king wore a T-Shirt showing him holding the Klitschko brothers’ decapitated heads.
Haye has also called the Ukrainian brothers ‘Bitchkos’ to their face but he said: “People might think it’s disrespectful and distasteful but it has got me to the position I am in today.
“I wouldn’t say I’m the most politically correct person in the world. I say what I want and it rubs half the people up the wrong way and the other half laugh about it.
“If people don’t like what I say, they can tune in and watch me get beaten up. As long as you feel passionately about me one way or another, it doesn’t matter.
“A lot of people realise I say a lot of things tongue-in-cheek, it makes for a good headline and an entertaining fight.
“Nobody wants to see two anonymous guys who no one cares about.
“When I was doing a lot of the stuff I was doing, I wasn’t the champion. I was the challenger, so I was doing things to get attention and get noticed.
“Back then it brought big viewing figures but now I’ve got a title, I don’t believe I need to do some of the stunts I was doing then.
“Me doing those things got me noticed and allowed me to bypass those five or six other mandatory nobodies to get a title shot.
“I had one fight against Monte Barrett and then I was straight in there, fighting for the world title against Nikolai Valuev.”
Haye reckons his scrap with Klitschko is bigger than Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson in 2002.
Lewis-Tyson got 800,000 pay-per-view buys – but Haye is confident more people will tune in for what may be his last fight if he keeps to his October retirement deadline.
He added: “Pay-per-view numbers will speak for themselves but I believe this will outdo Tyson-Lewis.
“They were both in the twilight of their careers but this fight has two champions in their prime.”
Haye versus Klitschko is exclusively live on Sky Box Office HD & 3D on Saturday, July 2. Book now on sky.com/orderboxoffice