In what could be the beginning of a ferocious battle of words, the David Haye vs Tony Bellew rematch hype began today with their first press conference before the big rematch on December 17 at the O2 Arena in London.
Having been defeated by the WBC cruiserweight world champion back in March, Haye has now been giving his predictions ahead of their winter rematch.
Haye will be looking ahead to the rematch after an injury to his Achilles during the original bout meant that he was unable to properly compete, eventually losing the fight in the 11th round.
In what has already become one of the most eagerly anticipated fights this year, Haye has been looking to dismiss the previous fight as Bellew simply getting lucky.
Haye stated: “My prediction for the fight, Tony Bellew will not hear the final bell, it’s different from last time.
“Whenever it happens, it happens, whatever round.”
Haye also described Bellew's victory last time during today's conference with an analogy about “robbing a bank”, suggesting that Bellew's motivations for victory were distorted and purely to secure his family's finances.
Bellew responded in rather blunt fashion by saying: "I didn't rob a bank - I got in a boxing ring and punched you senseless."
Although today's first press conference was a much more mild mannered affair, it is without doubt that the ante will be raised following today's war of words.
Now working with his new Cuban coach Ismael Salas, Haye has been looking to reinvent himself in order to be fully prepared for the fight and to arguably sustain a bit of a renaissance in the sport.
Perhaps in reference to his Achilles injury, he also has been quick to reiterate his health and fitness levels, stating that: "I am very healthy, in very good condition."
Whether or not he will be able to go toe-to-toe with the slightly younger Bellew remains to be seen, however, he will be desperate to seek revenge and achieve a total knock out.
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