DAVID Haye insists the hatred of Dereck Chisora that has fuelled his training camp will be replaced by cold-hearted professionalism on Saturday night.
Five months of controversy, hearings, legal challenges and insults will come to an end when the sworn enemies collide in a fight that excites and repels in equal measure. The shameful brawl in Munich that disgraced British boxing initiated a feud that will finally be settled at Upton Park, despite strong moral objections.
"It's fair to say I really don't like Chisora - I fought him for free in February - but there will be no emotion in the fight," Haye said of the Zimbabwe-born fighter.
"The fact I hate the guy so much has driven me on in training, but when it comes to fight night he must be seen as a slab of meat who will get pounded on, just like any other. Chisora's got one hell of a beating coming. I was looking at him this week and I can't want to put my fists in his face.
"He's not a nice guy and is someone who needs to be taught a lesson. I'll teach him because he's an idiot."
If Frank Warren does a good job of filling Upton Park – 30,000 tickets had been sold as of Friday night for a ground capable of holding 40,000 – then the promoter who has done so much for British boxing will have all the vindication he believes is necessary for a fight with serious ramifications for the sport in this country.
“People want to see this fight,” has been his mantra from the start. He said it again this week, in between claims from Haye that he will be “judge, jury and executioner” of a man he says has not been sufficiently punished in the law courts for “beating up his ex girlfriend and other transgressions”.
For his part, Chisora, curiously, has been saying he wants to “cut David’s hair off”.
Born in Zimbabwe, Chisora moved to the UK when he was 16, and is clearly proud of the London roots he has laid since, nicknaming himself Del Boy after his favourite TV show, Only Fools And Horses.
In the world of boxing, where spite sells and trash talk needs constant escalation, this grudge match is off the chart for a 10-rounder that is being billed as a bout for the “WBA and WBO international titles”. So are the purses, with Haye understood to be pocketing around £2.5million and Chisora at least half a million.
The fight is set to stream live on the Jumbotron screen at Times Square in New York.
Haye will be conceding two and a half stones to Chisora, but mocks the conditioning of the 28-year-old, who looked fleshy at the weigh-in.
"Chisora's horrible to look at. You want to see an athlete in his physical prime, but he's never looked in his physical prime," he said.
"He always looks like he's skipped too many sessions or eaten too many Burger Kings. He will be weighed down by the excess fat hanging from his neck, arms, midriff and legs."
While Haye is dismissive of Chisora, his trainer Adam Booth realises the potential for an upset.
Chisora's three successive defeats heading into the fight – all on points across 12 rounds – are misleading, particularly against Vitali Klitschko who he troubled throughout.
"Against Vitali, Chisora showed a total disrespect and disregard for what was coming at him," Booth said. "By the end of the fight it was Vitali who wanted the fight over. We won't be underestimating Chisora."
Civil war has raged in British boxing since it was announced on May 8 that Chisora and Haye will finish in London what they shamefully started with a brawl at a press conference in Munich in February.
But for Warren, who is not the show’s official promoter but has put his fingerprints all over it, ticket sales, subscriptions to the BoxNation television channel and the likelihood of a dramatic fight surely cannot justify the means.
The fact that neither was licensed to fight in this country – Haye’s having been relinquished when he retired in 2011 and Chisora’s withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control for that brawl – was sidestepped by the unearthing of Luxembourg’s boxing federation and their willingness to sanction the bout. The ingenuity of those involved is regrettably impressive.
Chisora certainly has the authentic heavyweight power to hurt Haye if – and it’ s a big if – he proves he has the craft to get up close, but punch resistance was one of the few areas in which Haye took credit from his retirement-inducing defeat to Wladimir Klitschko last year.
Haye’s movement should be the deciding factor, enabling him to evade Chisora’s attacks before advancing on the likely openings. “This fight will be won by knock out,” Haye said.
Let’s hope so, whichever way it goes. They have agreed a bet whereby a knockout victim has to make a £20,000 donation to the other’s charity. At least then something positive can come from all this.