David Haye has sent a serious warning to Oleksandr Usyk ahead of this weekend’s world title fight against old foe Tony Bellew.
The Hayemaker says his fellow Brit ‘punches way harder’ than any other cruiserweight and his blows rival those of Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder.
‘Bomber’ Bellew will face the Ukrainian at Manchester Arena on Saturday night in a bid to be crowned the undisputed cruiserweight world champion, in what he has vowed will be the last fight of his career.
Usyk, 31, is undefeated after 15 professional fights, having won European, world and Olympic gold in a decorated amateur career.
He is the first boxer in history to hold all four cruiserweight belts, but Haye believes he will come up against his toughest opponent yet when he meets the big-hitting Bellew.
Joining talkSPORT to preview the fight, Haye told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “Usyk is not a big knock-out specialist, which works in Tony’s favour.
“Usyk will be wanting to win this fight on points over the 12 rounds, so Tony needs to land that bomb and really let that left hook fly, because if he can catch Usyk on the button…
“I can tell you first-hand that he punches way harder than a cruiserweight.
“Believe me, I’ve been hit by Wladimir Klitschko, I’ve been hit by Deontay Wilder, I’ve been hit by some of the biggest and hardest-hitting heavyweights on the planet and none of them have put me down like Tony Bellew did in our last fight.
“So going on current form you’d have to say Tony Bellew is the knock-out specialist, and going into a fight which he needs a knockout in, you can’t get better preparation than the stoppage victories he’s had over the last couple of years.”
Bellew told talkSPORT on Tuesday that, whatever the outcome, this fight will be his boxing swansong.
Some, including Sports Breakfast host Alan Brazil, however have questioned whether the Liverpool-born fighter will actually go through with his retirement.
But Haye is convinced his old rival will hang up his gloves for good, saying he will have nothing else to achieve in boxing after he beats Usyk – he’s convinced about that, too.
“He’s got nowhere to go after he wins this fight,” the Hayemaker added.
“Once he’s won this fight he’s won all the belts at cruiserweight, and he said he’s got no ambition to move up to heavyweight to challenge the giants of the division, so he’s got nothing else to do.
“He will have proved his point that he is the best in the world at cruiserweight and he’ll go down as one of the all-time great cruiserweights, ever.”
Usyk, meanwhile, is eyeing the heavyweight division next and wants a shot at Anthony Joshua.
Eddie Hearn, the world champion’s promoter thinks it could happen next year.
Listen back to David Haye on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast IN FULL above!