David Haye’s sharp eye for an opening could be leading him to an unexpectedly early shot at his old world heavyweight title, against the new Australian champion, Lucas Browne, at the O2 Arena in London on 21 May.
Browne got off the floor to stop the two-times world champion Ruslan Chagaev in the 10th round in Grozny last weekend to find himself the owner of the WBA belt the 35-year-old Haye last held six years ago.
Haye, one fight into his comeback – a first-round blowout of Browne’s underdone compatriot Mark de Mori in January – said on Saturday night he has an opponent already lined up for May but would prefer a shot at Browne’s title.
“I am holding off a few days to try and secure Browne,” he said. Haye claims Team Hatton, who promote Browne, are open to the idea.
“Next week I will be getting some numbers from terrestrial television stations. Hopefully those numbers will be attractive enough to lure Browne back to the UK [from his home in Sydney] to allow me to challenge for my old WBA championship.
“Nothing is done until it is done, but my experience in boxing is that if it makes financial sense, nine times out of 10, unless there are egos involved or deep-rooted hatred, whatever makes the most amount of money makes the most sense. I can’t see a bigger fight at the moment that is available [for Browne] other than myself.
“I know there are mandatory obligations with Fres Oquendo, which we will need to get to the bottom of and ensure Oquendo is happy. Brown needs to be impressed with the numbers. If he isn’t, the fight won’t happen, plain and simple.”
Haye added: “It was getting frustrating, people were pricing themselves out. Everything happens for a reason. Perhaps I shouldn’t have signed to fight anyone else yet. Browne would see me as dangerous for sure, he knows I can punch.
“I have had one fight in four years. His last fight was a 10-round fight against a very good former two-times world champion. He is bigger than I am, he is heavier than I am but I believe I have superior skills.
“I have meetings next weeks with TV networks. It’s out of my hands and in theirs. Hopefully they will see the value. The stats for the comeback show it all: it went out live on Dave [who] they didn’t have a history of live sport, in fact they hadn’t shown any sport. But what did we do? We broke their records: 3.2m peak ratings, having only promoted the event a week prior.
“I believe I am exciting and my record suggests that. Of my 27 victories, 25 have been by KO. I don’t go out there looking for pitter-patter punches, I bring the hard stuff.
“I hope Browne will be ready. He got a cut eye [against Chagaev] which will take two to three weeks to heal. Timing is everything in life; this could be perfect for me and perfect for him. He is a big guy, 24 fights unbeaten, he has a 90% KO rate. We have a date, we have an arena, tickets have nearly sold out. Now to just get the TV sorted.”
This article was written by Kevin Mitchell, for theguardian.com on Saturday 12th March 2016 23.43 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010