Former WBA heavyweight champion, David Haye (26-2, 24ko), has claimed that he wishes to surpass all prior boxing achievement with his comeback under new trainer, Shane McGuigan; a process that begins for the ‘Hayemaker’ on Jan. 16 at London’s O2 when he fights Australian, Mark De Mori (30-1-2, 26ko).
Haye – who also unified WBO/WBC/WBA 200 lb titles in a 10 year career – has not boxed for 3 and a half years, since he knocked out Dereck Chisora at London’s Upton Park in July 2012, and is also returning after an extensive period of rehabilitation on the injured shoulder that brought about his enforced retirement from the sport in the first instance.
Along with the new-trainer pairing, these will have been crucial determining factors in measuring up a suitable and credible enough opponent for his return, something much of the scathing criticism of De Mori across social media this afternoon, perhaps hasn’t taken fully into account.
“He’s ranked, he’s got a good record, he hasn’t lost in 11 years,” Haye explained pragmatically to iFLtv about the opponent selection. “He hasn’t really fought anyone of my calibre by any stretch of the imagination, but then he hasn’t really had the chance.
“He was signed with Don King, but he’s with Al Haymon now and he’s getting his shots now.
“I don’t think he’ll [De Mori] make 10 rounds,” Haye continued honestly. “I think I’ll bang him out early doors the way I’m feeling in the gym. But then again you’ve got the old ring-rust.
“I don’t think I’ll have ring-rust, personally. That’s just my opinion. I’ve never really believed it. I know the term, but remember, I had big gaps between most of my fights and I’ve never seemed rusty.
“As long as my timing is in and the distance is there, and I connect, I can beat any opponent.”
Naturally, many fans are skeptical of the-now-35-year-old Haye’s assertions that he wishes to get back in the world title mix at the top of the division, and isn’t merely returning to warm up for a quick payday against the likes of emerging countryman Anthony Joshua, in what would admittedly be a big, big fight in the UK, regardless of whether or not there were any [world] belts on the line.
For many of those same fans it’s especially difficult to take Haye’s word too seriously, after the ‘toe-gate’ saga that embroiled the aftermath of his fight with Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, as well as the fact he twice signed to fight Tyson Fury before twice pulling out, citing the injury that eventually ‘retired’ him.
Yet Haye swears he really does mean business with this comeback, and is 100% fit and ready and keen to chase the big names and fights. In short, he says he won’t be letting his supporters down anytime soon.
“I’ve been through a very extensive rehabilitation process to make sure that the shoulder is rock solid, as one thing I didn’t want is any more issues with it. It’s stronger now than it was.
“I’m not looking at matching what I did [previously in my career], I’m looking at surpassing it. It’s a great time for the heavyweight division at the moment, it’s really warmed up of late.
“Believe me, I will step through those ropes and show the world what the ‘Hayemaker’ is all about.”