The days of heavyweight boxing dominating the sports world are long gone.
But David Haye is determined to bring heavyweight boxing back, and he hopes to start with a big win against Wladimir Klitschko on Saturday night in Hamburg, Germany.
The 30-year-old, 6-foot-3 215-pounder Londoner is well acquainted with the history of his sport and how far it’s fallen in the international sports consciousness. He blames Klitschko’s recent dominance for sapping interest from the American boxing audience in particular.
As the conveniently-nicknamed “Haymaker” told The Guardian’s Paul Hayward:
"Boxing has become a joke in the heavyweight division and it's time for me to come in lean, sharp, heavy and as a real athlete. I'm going to show these fat slobs what real boxing is about. This will be an exciting ride."
Haye should have his hands full with the bigger 35-year-old Ukranian. Klitschko will put his IBF, WBO and IBO championships on the line, while Haye brings his WBA title into the ring.
Neither fighter has lost a bout since 2004, which means something’s gotta give. The fight will be broadcast live in the U.S. on HBO at 4:45 p.m. EST.
At a Monday news conference, the two sat side by side and Klitschko shot back.
“My name is Dr. Klitschko. I am a therapist and on July 2 I am going to give you treatment. It is going to be reality rehab. I will knock you out into reality, which will be good for your life. You will be a better person and have better manners,”
But the young Englishman isn’t backing down.
“This is going to be the most brutal execution of a boxer that you’ve seen for many, many years,” Haye predicted. “I’m going to go out there and absolutely destroy him, really quickly.”