It falls into the category of the one that got away and David Haye still believes he would have had enough in his locker to beat Tyson Fury in 2013.
The all-British heavyweight clash came at a time when ‘The Hayemaker’ was still riding high off the back of his spectacular knockout win against Dereck Chisora in 2012. Haye and Fury had been scheduled to meet in September 2013. Five months earlier Fury had been put on his back in New York against cruiserweight turned heavyweight Steve Cunningham, but the raw Brit landed a short right hand to put the American down and pick up his 21st win.
Haye v Fury had all the ingredients for something special but a cut eye suffered in training followed by shoulder surgery threw the fight out the window. It would be three years before Haye would fight again.
“Back then in 2013, I believe it was, Tyson Fury wasn’t the fighter he is today,” Haye told Sky Sports.
“He was very young, he was very inexperienced. He wasn’t as teak tough as he is now.
“He hadn’t been through the trials and tribulations that’s made him the man and fighter he is today.”
How would have Haye beat him then?
“Using my speed, using my punch power,” he answered.
Richard Towers, friend to Haye’s former trainer Adam Booth, talked about the tough sparring sessions which saw a young and explosive American by the name of Deontay Wilder brought in. The video released of Haye sparring Wilder showed exactly the speed and power that Haye had to hurt a heavyweight of that size.
“David Haye did catch him,” Towers recalled.
“He caught him with an overhand right and Deontay recovered quickly and well. His legs wobbled, of course they did, David had a horrible right hand on him.”
Of the Fury fight, Haye added: “It would have been the perfect bit of matchmaking on my fight, if I was able to get him. [He was] a baby, in boxing terms.”
Haye’s comeback in 2016 was a much criticised one beating the heavily overmatched Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj. The former WBA heavyweight champion restored some credibility in fighting on with a ruptured Achilles tendon in the 6th round of his first of two defeats to former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew.
Fury has since gone on to superstar status rising from the ashes against Deontay Wilder in their first bout before demolishing the ‘Bronze Bomber’ second time around to win the WBC title. All this coming a few years after out-foxing the seemingly unstoppable Wladimir Klitscko to take the Ukrainian’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles in Germany.
Feature image: (L) Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing (R) Mikey Williams/Top Rank