On Saturday, David Haye will fight Mark de Mori to denote his return to boxing. This will be the 35-year-old’s first fight in over three years, but he’s already got undefeated top prospect Anthony Joshua in his crosshairs.
Return after advised retirement
David Haye was best known for his immense speed and power. When coming up from the cruiserweight division he managed to stay fit and not just load on pounds to make weight.
In only his second fight as a heavyweight, Haye defeated the “Beast from the East” Nikolay Valuev, to win the coveted WBA heavyweight title. He then went on to win three of his final four heavyweight bouts – with the only loss coming against Wladimir Klitschko, by unanimous decision.
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After having a professional boxing career record of 25-2, David Haye underwent shoulder surgery, prior to a planned bout with Tyson Fury. But, according to the BBC, he was strongly advised to retire.
It will be interesting to see if he’s still got the trademark agility and power that he used to fight with – given his age and the shoulder injury potentially still being an issue.
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Haye wants AJ
Speaking to Sky Sports News at the end of last year, David Haye announced his desire to fight the 15-0 powerhouse that is Anthony Joshua.
The former WBC champion stated: "If I was to fight him, I'm sure there are people who would think that AJ would beat me and I love the thought of that - getting into a fight where people are not quite sure what happens but if I tag Anthony Joshua, can he take my power?
"These are all things that are unknown. I think he probably needs one or two more fights before he would be ready for someone on my level but if he wants to do that before, let's go for it.”
What’s surprising is the amount of respect that Haye is giving to Joshua. As seen by the likes of Fury, Whyte and even Haye in the past, smack talk is still a big part of the sport. In his time off, you can see that Haye has watched Joshua and seen that he’s a force to be reckoned with.
Haye added: "Anthony Joshua is a very good fighter who is unbeaten. He's knocked out every single one of his opponents.”
"He had a very big test in his last fight against Dillian Whyte, who was an unbeaten prospect who had beaten AJ in the amateurs.
“I was there commentating for Sky and he passed the test with flying colours that night. It was an entertaining fight; he got hit on the chin a good few times and he sucked it up.
"He is nearly 10 years younger than me and he's a lot bigger and stronger.”
The next challenge
Haye needs to prove that he’s still got it in his comeback fight against De Mori, and Joshua needs to continue his progression up the boxing ranks.
Many people expect Joshua to take on Dereck Chisora next – the man who Haye knocked out in five rounds, following the infamous “he glassed me!” press conference in 2012. His promoter, Eddie Hearn has other thoughts, though.
Writing in the Mail, Hearn had this to say on Joshua’s next bout, and how it’s unlikely to be David Haye: "April 9 will be Anthony Joshua's next outing and again it will be at the O2 - it's his home."
"People are talking about Dereck Chisora, which is ideal if we go down the British title defence route, but I think we might prefer the European title route.
"Right now we are prioritising titles and David [Haye] doesn't bring that to the table at this point. It is, however, one I think will happen down the line. As ever, watch this space."
It seems as though Anthony Joshua’s career path has already by-passed David Haye’s reboot, and – unless the 35-year-old can come up with some titles that Joshua wants in his cabinet – a showdown seems a bit unlikely at this point in time.