WBA world heavyweight champion David Haye was handed a priceless pre-fight boost on Tuesday night, when former world super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe visited the fighter's Vauxhall gymnasium and watched 'The Hayemaker' train for the best part of two hours.
The 30-year-old Haye meets IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on July 2nd at the Imtech Arena, live on Sky Sports HD Box Office, and it's fair to say the blockbuster match-up has reignited Calzaghe's interest in a sport he once dominated.
“I always love coming down here and seeing David go through his paces,” said Calzaghe. “He is such a dynamic and exciting fighter to watch – he's my kind of fighter. He's quick, sharp and classy and throws punches with bad intentions. David is one of the most exciting fighters in the world right now, and even his gym sessions are more exciting than many actual fights.”
Retired since 2008, Calzaghe was a former WBO, IBF, WBA and WBC world super-middleweight champion and defeated the legendary Bernard Hopkins to highlight his superiority as a light-heavyweight. On Tuesday night in Vauxhall, however, Calzaghe was back to being a fan.
“I have been looking forward to this fight for years now, and it's just great to see David looking in such awesome shape,” said Calzaghe. “I expected him to look sharp and fit, but he looks even better than I could have ever imagined. I have been lucky enough to see David prepare for his last few fights, and I don't think I've ever seen him look in shape like this.
“The punch power he is showing on the pads is frightening, and everything is thrown with speed. He's moving like a middleweight with heavyweight power at the moment, and that can only be a good thing.
“He's very lean and mobile, too. It's extremely refreshing to see a heavyweight throwing seven and eight punch combinations and looking like they are able to throw 100 punches per round, if needed. David is well on course right now.”
Currently winding down preparations ahead of this weekend's trip to Hamburg, the heavy-hitting Haye admits the presence of Calzaghe spurred him on to new levels throughout Tuesday's training session.
“Joe went about things the way all boxers aspire to,” said Haye. “He defeated every opponent put in his way and then retired with his zero intact. Joe is one of the few guys to have the talent and intelligence to achieve his goals and get out when the going was good.
“Whenever I see Joe at ringside watching me prepare, it gives me added impetus to do well. He knows what he's talking about and knows what it's like to be involved in these sort of big unification title fights. As far as experts go, none come more experienced than Joe.
“I got a real kick out of seeing Joe sat ringside on Tuesday, and it was especially nice to see him standing and clapping at the end of the rounds. If I can sense Joe is impressed by what he's seeing, I know I'm in a very good place.”
*** David Haye's world heavyweight unification title fight with Wladimir Klitschko takes place on Saturday, July 2 at Hamburg's Imtech Arena, and will be televised live on Sky Sports HD Box Office, 08442 410 888 ***