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David Haye’s level of confidence grew by leaps and bounds when he sat ringside on December 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and watched Manny Pacquiao demolish Oscar De La Hoya for eight one-sided rounds. Pacquiao, a much smaller man, made a jump from lightweight to welterweight for the fight. He was viewed by many as being too small to win.
Haye views the win by Pacquiao as a perfect example of speed and power overcoming size. Haye plans to use his own speed and power to overcome the much larger man in WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. The two fighters plan to meet in June. He wants beat Vitali in the same fashion as Pacquiao did De La Hoya.
“I've got speed. I've always said a fast athlete can beat this guy. I drew great confidence from watching Manny Pacquiao beat De La Hoya. Everybody said Oscar was going to beat him, even myself. Oscar De La Hoya is the much bigger [man], he's about 4 or 5 inches taller than Pacquiao and [I thought] the size and the weight would be too much for this little guy, but the little guy showed that with speed, dedication and heart - you can do crazy things. You can really go out there and shock the world and that's what I'm planning to do,” Haye told BBC Sport .
Haye has a lot of respect for what Klitschko can do in the ring. He even praised Vitali’s 2003 performance against Lennox Lewis, who Haye plans to use as an advisor during training camp.
“The guy is a beast. He's knocked out 35 of his 36 opponents. He's a dangerous, dangerous man. He's the most feared heavyweight of recent years. He's the guy who people feel Lennox Lewis went into retirement from. He had a great fight with Lennox that he was actually winning up until the point where he got a bad cut under his eye. The fight was stopped due to the cut and obviously Lennox Lewis retired after that so people really rate this guy,” Haye said.
“He's considered as the best heavyweight in the world. I was considered the best cruiserweight in the world. That was my weight class and I ruled it. I think I'm the best cruiserweight since Evander Holyfield and I now I want to emulate Evander Holyfield by moving up by one weight category against these giants and bring the WBC championship back to Britain.”
For months, Haye chased after younger brother Wladimir Klitschko, holder of the WBO/IBF titles. He views a win over Vitali as something much bigger for his legacy. He doesn’t believe that people would have given him the proper respect if he knocked Wladimir out.
“I could have fought Wladimir but if I knocked him out then people would say he's been knocked out before. Lamon Brewster knocked him out and Corrie Sanders knocked him out. People would say 'why not fight his big brother, he's the tough one of the two' and that's exactly what I'm doing - going after the toughest guy out there,” Haye said.