Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Haye: I'm Ditching the Trash Talk for What Could Be My Final Fight

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Haye: I'm Ditching the Trash Talk for What Could Be My Final Fight

Article excerpt

Byline: BOXING John Dillon

DAVID HAYE has asked himself a searching question: "Do I really just want to be remembered as someone who talked crap?" Right now, his answer is "no", which is why he has promised to avoid crass stunts and trash talk in the build-up to his return fight against Tony Bellew at the O2 Arena on May 5. The former WBA world heavyweight champion admits it is a tough promise. Haye has been a specialist at the cheap publicity game although it backfired when he suffered a shock defeat against Bellew in March 2017.

But at 37 and facing the prospect that it could be his last big night in the ring, Haye says he is thinking about his legacy more than money.

He now understands, too, that he falls into a trap of his own making when he shouts the odds too loudly.

"I could add another million pounds to the earnings of this fight by throwing a glass of water at a press conference or slapping him," he says.

But at what cost? "I don't want to be known just for selling tickets and payper-view television. I've done that throughout my career.

"How about the merit of my work? At 37, I am thinking about how I want to be remembered.

"This may be my last fight even if I win. If I don't win well and feel good about it, I won't be carrying on. So the focus on what I have done in the ring is more important.

"I've done the same things to crank things up for so long that I could slip back into it. It will be tough to avoid it. So it's another challenge for me to treat Tony Bellew as I would anyone else and not hurl abuse at him."

Neither Haye or Bellew have fought since their first clash at the O2.

That night, Haye battled on for five rounds after snapping his Achilles tendon in his right leg before his trainer, Shane McGuigan, threw in the towel in the 11th round.

Bellew, who is no shrinking violet himself, is disdainful of his opponent's pledge to play things straight. Haye, of course, was handed a PS25,000 fine by the British Boxing Board of Control for his pre-fight brash words and insults.

But it is a signal of Haye's changed attitude that he is training now at his own gym in Vauxhall after preparing for the first fight in Miami. …

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