David Haye and Tony Bellew have each vowed to end the other’s career when they clash in their heavyweight rematch at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday.
The pair are meeting again 14 months on from Bellew winning the original bout at the same venue via an 11th-round stoppage. Haye ruptured his Achilles midway through that fight.
On Monday the two fighters spoke in Bellew’s home city of Liverpool at a press conference that was open to the public.
Tony Bellew (left) and David Haye go head to head again this weekend (Anthony Devlin/PA)
And Haye, 37, said to his 35-year-old opponent: “I know we are both going to be better versions of what we were in the last fight, and the last fight was a cracker – everyone enjoyed it, apart from me.
“I’m going to do what I tried to do last time and failed miserably, and you guys are going to unfortunately see the end of Tony Bellew.”
Bellew then addressed Haye and said of the Londoner’s career: “On Saturday, it comes to an end, it really does.
“For the first time in your whole career you are actually fighting for your career.
“You’re in a lot of trouble on Saturday.”
He added: “David is not back to win world titles, he’s back to try to rob the bank and he’s trying to do it with as little risk as possible.
“The mistake he made is picking this little fat cruiserweight Scouser with a mouth, because he thought it was an easy fight.
“On Saturday night David gets his a**e smacked and put back in his box.
“Saturday is time to go to war, and your career ends in a beat.”
The tone of the build-up to this fight has been notably less fiery than that of the initial contest, which saw some particularly unsavoury outbursts from Haye.
Among them was his use of the term “f****** retards” as he responded to taunts – some of which he claimed were racist – from the crowd at a public press conference in Liverpool.
On Monday, Haye took swigs from a mug that had an ‘I love Liverpool’ message on it as he said, amid boos from the audience: “Last time round I was a bit angry, this time round, not so much.
“It’s going to be very fun, very explosive from the very first round. I love you all and enjoy your evening. Peace out.”
Since the defeat to Bellew, Haye, who had to postpone the rematch from an initial scheduled date of December 17 due to a bicep injury, has switched trainers from Shane McGuigan to Ismael Salas.
While Bellew described Salas as an “amazing coach” on Monday, he also called him “Mr Miyagi”.
And his interruptions while Salas was trying to talk drew an angry response from the Cuban, who shouted back: “You listen up. Shut up.”
Bellew’s trainer Dave Coldwell then suggested his fighter had “got under the coach’s skin”, before Salas said with a smile: “It’s fun, no worries. (Bellew is a) very good entertainer.”
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