The verbal sparring begins as heavyweight rivals launch £10m showdown
The circus has opened for business. David Haye and Tyson Fury went head-to-head at their first press conference ahead of September’s domestic megafight in Manchester and the tone has been set.
Fury entered first with the declaration: ‘Round of applause for Mr Haye for turning up. The chump has arrived.’
Haye looked a little bemused. He has made a career out of being the pantomime villain but, in the press arena at least, he has met his match.
Fury threw a few verbal bombs, calling Haye a dog, a has-been, a joker, a pensioner. Haye, for his part, believes their fight on September 28, for which both men are expected to pocket £5million, will be Fury’s last of this magnitude.
The former world heavyweight champion said: ‘I think he deserves a shot. He has a string of wins, a good ranking. My aim is to regain the title and this will help me get here. I am getting back in the ring with a big strong lad and it will bring the best out of me.
‘I am the seasoned veteran in this situation which is new to me. I am against a young hungry lion. He says he is the best ever, which is a bold statement based on his last performances.
‘I am happy to give him his opportunity and a nice big payday. I think it will be his last fight at this level.’
Fury had something about that. Of course he did. ‘He says he is giving me the opportunity – let’s not get confused,’ Fury said. ‘You’re the dog and I am throwing you a bone. I am the young up-and-coming fighter. You are the one of stinks the place out, complains about your toe.’
It was a reference to Haye’s excuse after a points loss against Wladimir Klitschko in July 2011, the best fighter in the division. Fury had more to say on the calibre of Haye’s opponents.
‘He has the Hayemaker, I have the playmaker,’ Fury said. ‘I bring it to every fight. Everyone he has fought including Klitschko I would smash to bits. I am glad this little b**** has signed up and is here.
‘He fought Nikolai Valuev, John Ruiz, Audley Harrison, Wlad the robot. He couldn’t hit a robot. Good work, sir. You are a stepping stone, sir. I have a little fly swatter, sir, and you will get flattened. I will prove I can. You are nothing but a little girl.
‘I am not in it for fame or fortune or being a celebrity. You are a little celebrity fighting man playing on the telly. You are getting knocked sparked out. I’m not running around, I am here to fight.’
With that his fist slammed on the table. Some cronies in the room started cheering; Haye started laughing. And then he applauded.
‘People ask me when you are knocking out Tyson Fury,’ Haye said. ‘It is not easy to get the world to want a fight. I will show the world.
‘It’s going to be fun. I believe I am a pretty good boxer. You can guarantee from me accuracy. I have coordination. He has been known to miss opponents and hit himself.’