By Danny Winterbottom
On September 28 SKY Sports pay-per-view customers and a live audience packed into Manchester’s Phones 4 U Arena will witness the most anticipated domestic heavyweight showdown since Lennox Lewis vanquished Frank Bruno 20 years ago at Cardiff Arms Park in defence of his WBC world title.
When David Haye and Tyson Fury finally come to blows on the night, after some heated press conference exchanges, there won’t be a world title draped over the shoulder of the victor but the huge public interest in the contest, that has seen boxing’s glamour division once again thrust into the full glare of the media spotlight, only confirms if a fight is good, its good, and no ‘title’ is necessary.
Haye, the former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion, will start the contest as a betting favourite and he has locked himself away inside his gym in Vauxhall, London, to hone the attributes he believes will see him overcome the 6’9” Fury and set him on a path to another shot at Wladimir Klitschko. The “Hayemaker” has enlisted the services of Sheffield’s unbeaten EU champion Richard Towers and the former European heavyweight champion Alexander Dimitrenko.
Fury, meanwhile, is in camp in Belgium with his Uncle Peter directing operations as he works alongside his unbeaten cousin Hughie, former British champion Michael Sprott, Dillian Whyte and recent KO victim, American, Steve “USS” Cunningham.
“When I get hold of sparring partners I usually maul them to death and then rip them to pieces” an extremely focused Tyson told SecondsOut.com this week.
“But this time we have been working on some different tactics because it isn’t always about knocking em out is it?”
Haye is no stranger to the big fight stage but for 25-year-old Fury this will be his first step into the world of pay-per-view boxing. A step that will guarantee him a 50/50 share of a £10 million bounty, after protracted negotiations, that has only whetted his appetite for more massive pay days in the future.
“After I have dealt with Haye I will fight whoever and wherever pays me the most money. I don’t care if that is in Africa somewhere, so be it. I don’t care about becoming a legend, belts, titles or organisations. I care about money and who will pay me the most so I can give my family a better life. This is prize fighting after all.”
A capacity crowd of excited boxing fans is expected to descend upon the newly named Phones 4 U Arena (formerly the M.E.N Arena), generating an ambience reserved for only the most special of fistic nights. Haye has experienced the unique Rock ‘n’ Roll atmosphere created by German fans when he faced Wladimir Klitschko in 2011 at the Imtech Arena in Hamburg and although Fury has boxed at the fabled Madison Square Garden in NYC (W KO 7 Cunningham), he is unlikely to have fought in anything like the conditions and pressure he will face next month.
“The crowd doesn’t bother me one bit. I haven’t really thought about it” he claimed.
“I’m no more excited about this fight than any other because at the end of the day it is just another idiot wearing boxing gloves standing across the ring with a cheque at the end of it.”
Fury has clearly adopted a certain mind-set that is all part of preparing himself for the biggest challenge in his 21 fight career so far but Haye, the mind games master, has begun to ramp up the pressure on his less experienced foe by claiming Tyson will buckle under the weight of expectation come fight night.
“Is that what Haye said?” questioned Fury.
“Well, yeah he is probably right! I am expecting myself to crumble to be honest because I’m quite a shy person and don’t like talking too much” he quipped
“I have beaten better men than Haye already in Steve Cunningham and Kevin Johnson so why would I crumble now?”
Haye isn’t shy when it comes to self-promotion but the Bermondsey native, who turns 33 in October, has unusually taken a step back and allowed Fury to do the majority of the talking whenever the pair have come face to face, and there is a growing feeling that Fury may just be winning over the boxing public with his dry sense of humour and fondness for a one liner.
Not that Tyson is particularly bothered.
“I don’t really care about all that stuff. People can like me if they want to, but I don’t see a good guy or a bad guy in this fight. I’m Tyson Fury and that’s it. Not a good guy or a bad guy, I box and that’s it.”
“…..Well perhaps a bad guy, but not in the ring. I do some stuff outside of the ring that I shouldn’t do but in boxing I am known as a big mouth idiot who can’t fight and has won 21 fights by a fluke.”
“This will be a smart little contest whilst it lasts but I fully expect to win.”
David Haye vs. Tyson Fury will be live on SKY Sports HD Box Office on September 28 from the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester. For tickets contact EVENTIM.CO.UK on 0844 847 8000