Thursday, November 5, 2009

David Haye is Training for a Giant Fight

Ricky Hatton (left) and David Haye get a laugh at the enormous size of WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev.

David Haye's trainer and manager, Adam Booth, claims only minor adjustments were made to the training regimen in preparation for Saturday's WBA heavyweight title fight against Nikolai Valuev, who stands over seven feet tall and weighs north of 300pounds.

“Well, we hung the bags a bit higher, we had him punch upward at an angle,” Booth said Tuesday after an open workout in Nuremberg, Germany. “I wore what I call 'wedge boots' when we worked on the pads. We had some life-sized photos of Valuev in our gym which put his height into perspective and helped to remind David of the enormous task in front of him. But to tell you the truth, besides that, there was nothing major that we have done differently.”

Haye trained at a specially constructed private gym in South London just around the corner from the Park Plaza Hotel, which served as his home base. Most visitors were kept at a distance and locked out of training sessions. Haye often trained late at night and into the early morning hours to mimic the time the fight between he and Valuev is set to begin.

Booth admitted that part of their strategy revolved around making Valuev angry by insulting him and calling him names. The hope is that Valuev will be more aggressive than he has been in recent fights which they feel will play right into their hands.

“There has been a lot of talk, back and forth, and yes, some of it has been done by me,” said Booth who chuckled a bit. “David wound him up because he wants a fight, not a boxing match. We want the knockout. The hope is that Valuev won't jab and grab as he has been doing in the recent past.

Haye is not a small man, but Valuev will outweigh him by 100 pounds and will tower over him by a foot.

“After 23 fights, to have this fight and for David to be in a position where he could choose which champion he could challenge, is definitely a testament to how exciting he is,” said Booth.

The primary sparring partner for Haye was 6'7” tall Danny Watts, 36, who retired in 2002 with a 10-2, 7 KOs record as a pro. Watts was the 1994 and 1996 English ABA super heavyweight champion when he boxed for the British army. His fighting weight was in the vicinity of 250 pounds but he now tips the scales at close to 300. Watts, who hails from Aldershot, about an hour's drive from London, has been in camp for the past three months. He also worked with Haye prior to the aborted Wladimir Klitschko fight.

Those who witnessed the sparring between Haye (who is weighing around 225 pounds) and Watts noted that the sessions were very productive. Watts watched many hours of fight tape on Valuev and he was able to closely emulate the Russian's moves. He also proved invaluable with the pad work and wearing the body armor as Haye was able to punch the big man with full force – something that was not possible to do with the smaller Booth.

November 2009

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