David Haye has openly praised Tyson Fury after his draw with Deontay Wilder, expressing that he still deserves to be recognised as the lineal champion.
Following from Fury’s controversial draw against Wilder, the former World Heavyweight Champion, David Haye, in an interview with iFL TV, has defended the Brit, who - despite no longer holding any of the world title belts - still refers to himself as the lineal champion.
“He has never lost. He was the guy who beat the guy. He hasn’t lost since. He holds that belt," Haye said.
"I remember when Muhammad Ali was stripped of his titles he was undefeated. People still saw him as the champion although Joe Frazier held the heavyweight title at the time.
"It was until they got in and fought that people then gave Frazier his credit when he did finally beat Ali.
“People need to give Tyson Fury credit because he has never lost and I don’t think anyone could convincingly make an argument that he lost that fight against Deontay – although he got knocked down heavily – he still came out the fight as the people’s champion.”
This interview follows from Eddie Hearn defending comments made by himself and Anthony Joshua’s after playing down the lineal champion status.
“It means nothing," Hearn reiterated to iFL TV.
“What AJ is saying is 'What the f*** is a lineal champion? All I know is I want to be the undisputed champion and win every belt.'
“That’s the sort of thing you call yourself when you haven’t got everything else. So, if he was the WBC champion, he wouldn’t be calling himself the lineal champion.”
Whether he deserves the title or not, many people hoped he would receive a nomination for BBC's Sports Personality of the Year after his commendable return to boxing from a two-and-a-half-year absence while suffering with mental health issues, drug addiction and alcoholism.
But Haye insists being snubbed for the award shouldn't bother the Gypsy King.
Haye added: “The good thing about boxing is it’s not down to anyone else’s opinion apart from the three judges. If he wins a personality competition then good luck to him but if he doesn’t then who cares.
“It won’t affect his life, his career and I think he should be focusing on staying healthy, training hard, listening to what his coach says - because I think his coach is very good - stay on the right track, don’t enjoy his draw that long, get back in the gym, get working and look forward to a rematch that the fans will want to see.”