Former two division champion David Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) is placing his entire future on the line in the upcoming rematch with Tony Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs).
After months of negotiations, a deal for a rematch was finalized and announced on Friday. It takes place at the O2 Arena on December 17, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
The two met back in March, with Bellew dropping the WBC cruiserweight title and heading up to the heavyweight division to face Haye in a very anticipated grudge match.
In a fight many felt would be a mismatch, Bellew walked away with a TKO victory in eleven rounds. Haye was doing very well in the fight - until his Achilles burst and he became a one-legged fighter - and a sitting duck for Bellew's punches.
Haye admits that he underestimated Bellew and this time around he's fully focused on the fight, on camp, and victory.
"I need to raise my game. If I show up in the same condition, if I turn up with the same tactics and the same mind-set then he's correct - he could walk away with the victory," Haye told Sky Sports News. "But I'm not a stupid fighter.
"I reviewed the fight and I know what happened - I understand his strengths, and I understand my strengths and weaknesses. He showed me something that I didn't believe he had. By the time I get into the ring [for the rematch] I'll be 37 but I haven't won multiple world titles in multiple weight classes by making the same mistake twice."
After the fight, Haye parted ways with trainer Shane McGuigan and hired Cuba's Ismael Salas, who is helping the British fighter sharpen his boxing skills.
A victory is not enough at this late stage of the game. Haye states that he needs to make a statement - by knocking Bellew out. If he simply wins, without a stoppage victory, then Haye intends to retire from the sport.
"The first time around, I wasn't mentally anticipating a tough battle but I found myself in one," he said. "This time, I know it can happen. I've tasted his punches, I've seen him take my punches. He's a serious contender so I need to be on my A-game mentally and spiritually. I didn't believe I needed that prior to the first fight.
"I know this is my last chance, I'll never get another chance after this. Whatever heart and determination you saw in the last fight, you'll get the same or more this time. If I can't knock Tony Bellew out, that's it for me. If I can't knock him out then I'm not the fighter that I once was, and I'm not the fighter that I believe I am."