David Haye needs a big night at O2 arena on Saturday when he faces unbeaten Kosovan-born heavyweight Arnold Gjergjaj. The 35-year-old is making his second appearance in the ring since his comeback from retirement and is seeking a world title fight in the near future but needs to put on a solid display against Gjergjaj to show the world he is back to somewhere near his best.
His opponent does not have any significant wins on his record with the most recognisable name on his list of 29 victims is Denis Bakhtov, a man that Anthony Joshua brutally knocked out inside two rounds. Gjergjaj did not even manage to knock Bakhtov out and despite having no losses on his record, should be easy pickings for Haye.
A potential grudge match with Shannon Briggs awaits Haye if he disposes of his Swiss-based opponent and possibly after that, a showdown with either Joshua or another world champion, dependent on who holds which belt at that time in the future.
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Haye is arguably the best heavyweight in the world at his best and certainly would test Joshua more than he has ever been tested before, or anyone else for that matter. A former world heavyweight champion himself, the Londoner is looking to re-establish himself at the pinnacle of the sport and he needs to raise his profile with an eye-catching win on Saturday.
One concern for Haye, according to Lennox Lewis, is his bigger build since his return to boxing. Haye weighed in at 16 stone, three pounds and five ounces for his comeback fight against Mark de Mori, heavier than he has ever been before and Lewis suggests that his bigger frame may take away his biggest weapon, his speed.
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Having been a cruiserweight for the majority of his career, Haye has electrifying speed in the heavyweight division and can use his instincts and quick movement to mystify opponents. He has a style that can cause problems for anyone when accompanied with this speed and Lewis worries his extra bulk might reduce this threat.
He told Press Association Sport: "He should depend on his speed because he's very good - his speed with his legs, good speed with his hands - and I think he should focus more on that, but this is what he feels he needs, he went out and got himself into great shape, got himself strong."
Haye desperately wants to reclaim his place at the top of the division but has not warranted a world title fight just yet, and whilst a dominant win over Gjergjaj would by no means force him into contention, it would continue to raise his profile. Expect a flashy, early knockout from Haye on Saturday and then he can focus on a way to get himself the fight he really wants - Anthony Joshua.
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