Former world heavyweight and cruiserweight champion David 'The Hayemaker' Haye has reiterated that the prospect of a fight against current WBC kingpin Vitali Klitschko is one of the reasons he decided to return to the ring in 2012.
The 31-year-old meets fellow Londoner Dereck Chisora on July 14 at Upton Park, but admits a clash against Klitschko remains his ultimate goal, despite recent claims he turned down a fight with the Ukrainian two weeks ago.
“It makes absolutely no sense for me to turn down a fight I desperately want,” said Haye. “Remember, the whole idea behind going ahead with this Chisora fight was that a victory may then lead to a fight with Vitali Klitschko. That was my plan, my reason for returning to the ring. I want to fight on July 14 and then again in September, and have been telling people this for months now.”
Haye's trainer and manager Adam Booth is just as perplexed by the latest noises coming from the Klitschko camp.
“A few weeks ago I received a first draft contract from K2/KMG (the Klitschkos), as a formal offer for the fight between David and Vitali,” explained Booth. “Once we'd announced the Chisora fight I left a message for Shelly Finkel, in which I informed him we were ready to move to completion of the agreement for Vitali versus David. However, since that message was sent to Finkel, I have received no reply.
“Today I read that Herr Boente claims David 'turned the fight down' and 'does not want to fight Vitali'. Both of these claims are completely false. If Vitali wants to fight David in September, we are here and happy to accept. If not, no worries or sadness from our side.
“Maybe K2 realised during Vitali's fight with Chisora in February that their precious champion was drastically slowing down and didn't fancy going up against anyone too quick in the future. Whatever their reasoning, if Herr Boente is happy to spin the lines he feeds people, good for him."
Eager to defeat both Chisora and Klitschko this summer, Haye stresses he's “fed up with being used as a smokescreen” for a bigger agenda.
“What is clear to me is that K2 are now happy to protect an ageing Vitali and usher him towards politics as soon as possible,” said Haye. “Politics is about popularity, and Vitali's popularity in Ukraine would take a massive hit if he were to get knocked out by me before retiring. It's imperative for him to keep winning and beating up puddings en route to retirement, as that sets him up nicely for a career in politics.
“At this advanced stage in his career, the last thing on Vitali's mind are tough challenges in the ring. He's essentially semi-retired, which is fine, so long as he comes clean about it. Don't go stringing everybody along – fighters and fans – when some of us know the truth.
“Unfortunately, Vitali will probably now look to fight some no-hoper, while telling the boxing world I turned down the fight. I will never turn down a fight with Vitali.”
One week before Haye meets Chisora in East London, former nemesis Wladimir Klitschko defends his array of world titles against Tony Thompson, a man he already knocked out some four years ago. And, while Haye is prepared to accept some criticism for his upcoming fight with Chisora, he draws the line at Wladimir's recent 'freak show' label.
“They can call my fight against Chisora a freak show as much as they like, but we all know that so-called freak show will have more people interested in it than either of the Klitschkos' next fights,” said Haye. “Who wants to see Wladimir fight Tony Thompson again? Even Tony Thompson doesn't want to see that again. Their first fight was horrible enough.
“Also, anybody with an ounce of intelligence would know that Boente and the Klitschkos were only name-dropping and ridiculing my fight with Chisora to raise some publicity over here for the Klitschko film, which they happened to be in London promoting on Monday night.”
Booth added: “It's bizarre just how much hatred with agenda the Haye versus Chisora fight has attracted. Maybe Bernd Boente has short-term memory issues. A quick look back at the video of that infamous Munich press conference clearly shows Bernd agreeing with Frank Warren that Haye and Chisora should fight for the right to challenge Vitali.”