• Boxing

Klitschko fight 'couldn't be any bigger' - Haye

ESPN staff
March 11, 2011

David Haye believes Wladimir Klitschko has finally agreed to step into the ring with him because the 34-year-old realised he no longer had anywhere left to hide.

The heavyweight duo have agreed to a blockbuster unification fight in the summer, after years of claim and counter-claim between the pair. After finally securing an agreement, WBA champion Haye is delighted he was able to pin the Ukrainian down - believing the WBO and IBF belt-holder's sudden change in demands indicated he knew the fight finally had to happen.

"I think he realised that the world boxing fans would never have allowed him to walk away from this situation," Haye told Sky Sports. "We said from day one it's a 50-50 deal - it makes perfect sense - and it can't be that complicated a deal to do; everything goes into the pot, it's split 50-50.

"He tried to wriggle out of it a few times but finally he put pen to paper and I'm just happy that the fight I've been craving all these years is finally going to happen.

"Adam [Booth, Haye's manager and trainer] said to me in recent times they've been negotiating it's been completely different to in the past. When he first got the contract, it was completely different to anything we've seen before from them - and that made me think they genuinely wanted the fight to happen."

With the fight discussed for a number of years - almost ever since Haye pulled out of a scheduled contest between the two in 2009 due to injury - the Englishman believes the delay has ultimately only heightened the anticipation from fans and broadcasters.

"For whatever reason it dragged out but the way boxing works, the fight is bigger now than it was last year, it's bigger than it was the year before that," Haye noted. "It couldn't be any bigger than it is; the fight's ripe and it's ready to go.

"Ever since I left the cruiserweight division I said I had aspirations to be number one on the planet and at the time Wladimir was number one - and still is. At the time I had no doubt about calling him out.

"He probably thought I was just some loud-mouth guy who was jusy a bit mouthy and couldn't fight. But over the years I've proved that I can. Not only that I've won the WBA title - a title that he's not even fought for, or his brother."

Haye is confident he can win the fight, believing Klitschko's main advantage - his jab - will be nullified by his own speed and quickness, a combination his opponent will not have come up against before and will find very difficult to replicate in the gym.

"It's head movement, speed and athleticism," Haye said. "He's never fought anyone athletic enough to get past his jab. His jab is very, very impressive against guys like Samuel Peter [Klitschko's last opponent] - fat heavyweights who aren't in shape.

"A lot of people feel I've got a weight disadvantage going into this fight with Wladimir but I look at it a different way; I feel I've got a weight advantage. With my lighter weight comes more speed, more athleticism, more ability - something he's never encountered before.

"He can try and replicate that in sparring but the only way he can is by sparring someone who's 12 or 11 stone and those guys won't be able to take his punches.

"By the time he gets in the ring, he won't have faced anyone as quick as me."

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