David Haye Warns Roy Jones: ‘There’s No Exhibition When Mike Tyson Is In A Fight’
David Haye Has Warned Roy Jones Jr that "there's no such thing as an exhibition when Mike Tyson is in a fight" as he predicted the winner of their September showdown.
"If Roy Jones doesn't get caught with one of Tyson's bombs in the first two rounds, with his superior skills - in terms of timing, speed and agility - I think he could pull away with it," Haye told SPORTbible in an interview. Yet the two-weight world champion turned premium mask entrepreneur with The Black Mask Company could easily see it going the other way.
"But if it turns into a slugfest early and Roy Jones gets caught with just one of Mike Tyson's crazy combinations that we've seen him doing on the pads recently - it could be very dangerous," he adds. "It could be game over.
"Because Tyson is much naturally bigger. Roy Jones in his prime was probably 12 stone (168lb). Mike Tyson? About 15-and-half stone - a big difference. He's not taller but he's thicker set; he's just a much bigger animal."
As the Haymaker sees it, the decisive factor is how much ammunition the modern-day Iron Mike has in the tank.
"How many 'explosions' has Mike Tyson got in him at 54?" asks Haye. "I don't know. If he has 10 big, explosive bursts, I'd be surprised - because it takes so much energy for him to throw those amazing combinations. But if in a six-punch combo, one or two land on the chin - that could end it."
Haye, like Jones, retired from pro boxing in 2018 - but says no amount of money could tempt him into taking on the winner of Tyson vs Jones. Well, almost certainly.
"At the moment, I've got no intentions of getting back in the ring. I gave it my best in my last fights and my best wasn't good enough for elite boxing," says the 39-year-old of the losses to Tony Bellew that ended an otherwise hugely successful career. "Although this isn't elite boxing... But at this juncture I'm happy on the safe side of the ropes."
The Bermondsey banger does keep a keen eye on the heavyweight scene though, as a TV pundit and as manager of Dereck Chisora - a man he once spectacularly chinned. Some job interview.
"I'm really split - I can see how either has the ability to beat the other," he says. "If you look at both fighters' worst nights: Anthony Joshua losing to Andy Ruiz Jr - watch that and you say, 'Fury beats him.'
"But if you watch Fury's fight against Steve Cunningham where he got heavily dropped you think, 'Well if Cunningham can knock him down, AJ can definitely knock him down.'
"I prefer to look at fighter's best fights. The version of Anthony Joshua that beat Ruiz in the second fight - mentally switched on, razor sharp, light on his feet, fast hands, good defence, high punch output. That's the version of AJ I see in the ring with Fury.
"If he sticks to boxing and Tyson Fury walks forward as he did against Deontay Wilder, I can see a way AJ can outbox him.
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"But I can also see a way he gets mowed down by Fury if he gets tired of boxing and moving. Because Fury can apply pressure better than Ruiz - he's bigger, stronger, longer arms. So can Joshua use that style against someone bigger than him?
"It's all unknown! That's why we want to see it. When they sparred, many years ago, Joshua apparently got the better of the session. It's a small factor but maybe in Anthony Joshua's mind, psychologically, he has the beating of him. Maybe Fury wasn't taking that too seriously - he was only sparring an amateur at that time. So there are solid arguments either way."
It's a boom time for British heavyweights - with Dillian Whyte fighting Alexander Povetkin in August, Chisora set to fight fellow loon Oleksandr Usyk in October, plus rising unbeaten stars Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubious set to square off later this year.
Haye may not miss the ring right now, but he admits a boxer's competitive spirit never goes away.
"The fire will always burn inside every fighter," he says. "Whenever you watch boxing, you think: 'I could beat him.' Even though deep down you know you can't... Once a fighter always a fighter."
One of the things that keeps the Haymaker fully occupied in 2020 is an unusual new business path. Haye says that when news of the coronavirus first appeared in January, a concerned friend who lives in Vietnam, which borders China, contacted the ex-boxer telling him to get himself a face mask.
"I said to my buddy: send me the best mask - you just sort it all out for me! He told me you can't actually get the best one. It's the one the police use, the services use, it's government issue effectively. I said you gotta find a way to get me some of them! They sound really good."
Naturally, the old Haymaker got his way. More than that, he ended up setting up a company to distribute the masks in the UK. "So many face masks are uncomfortable, they look like you're about to go into an operating theatre, they're bad for the environment," he says. "This is easily breathable, sweat absorbent, comfortable, you can train in it. As importantly: it looks good.
"The mask I use, the VP195, I just saw Lewis Hamilton on the BBC today wearing one. So if you've got people like him, who've got the option to buy any mask, choosing this one - there must be a reason."
The former heavyweight champ's slick sales pitch soon has us on the ropes. But before we throw in the towel, one final question. Usyk - an undisputed champion at cruiserweight - is widely viewed as one of the pound-for-pound best in the sport. As a man who stepped up from cruiser to heavy with success himself, how does Haye think Chisora can possibly spring the upset?
"Usyk is going to struggle when it comes to punch power," he says simply. "Even at cruiserweight, he wasn't a one-punch knockout specialist. He's a skilled fighter - timing, rhythm, angles - but when it comes to brute power, you need to steady these giants up. Having skills isn't enough to beat these bigger men because they're just going to walk you down.
"He doesn't have enough firepower to keep Del Chisora off him. Let alone Wilder, Fury, Joshua. He won't be able to keep these monsters off him.
View this post on InstagramDance, exercise and look forward to the fight with Derek
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"My skill was being able to hit with single punches very, very hard. And that kept my opponents wary - gave me that breathing room to go about my work. If I didn't have that, they would just have been all over me."
With heavyweight boxing set for a massive 18 months - pandemic allowing - let's hope we see plenty of monsters exchanging power punches in the near future. Though with Haye, for now, on the safe side of the ropes rather than dishing them out.
The VP195 face mask, between £9.50-£12.50, is available in black and grey in a range of sizes and can be purchased at theblackmaskcompany.com.
Imagery: PA Images/Instagram