It will be very heavy going for Bellew, says Haye
David Haye has warned Tony Bellew he has made a mistake in attempting to bulk up into a heavyweight because it is his skills and not his size that will determine his success.
Saturday's grudge match at London's 02 Arena will be the first at heavyweight for Bellew, who has spent the majority of his career fighting at 175lbs and is the WBC cruiserweight champion.
He will therefore be at a career heaviest and, with Haye expected to weigh his lightest since he returned to the ring last year, the size difference between them may not be as significant as many expected.
The 36-year-old Haye is aware of the demands involved in stepping up to the heavyweight division, having impressed there after establishing himself as one of the finest cruiserweights in history.
However, his move to heavyweight had long been planned and was one he made via a steady transition. Bellew, in contrast, is facing potentially his most difficult opponent with minimal preparation, and Haye believes that is one of many oversights his opponent has made.
"If you're super talented - Roy Jones Jr, for instance... he could jump up to heavyweight in one fight because his skill-set was so superior to everybody else when he went and beat John Ruiz (in 2003)," said Haye, who on Monday claimed Bellew will be "risking his life" on Saturday.
"He was one of the very few who could do that. It takes someone very, very special to jump up to heavyweight and have big results. I don't believe Tony Bellew's skill-set is adequate. He takes too much punishment and he is not that tough. He's not (one-time cruiserweight) Evander Holyfield. Holyfield could take punishment and he can throw punches and he can mix it with bigger guys because he is just that tough a guy. I don't believe Bellew is.
"I never actively bulked up to heavyweight. Everyone thinks I went away and came back bigger; if you look at my weights, when I fought (Wladimir) Klitschko (in 2011) for instance, I only weighed (13lbs) over the cruiserweight limit (of 200lbs). That's not bulking up - a lot of cruiserweights walk round at 210lbs and boil down.
"I was never that much bigger. It's only as I have got older, as I got into my thirties, I thickened out 15lbs or so.
"Even if I was a light-heavyweight and Tony Bellew was a heavyweight... let's say he was 16 stone. I'd still beat him. I'm just better at boxing.
"It's not about the fact that I'm bigger than him. People think it is a size thing; it's just I'm better than him. It's like Usain Bolt versus anyone else. He's just faster, he can run 100 metres in 10 seconds."
The 34-year-old Bellew suffered the first loss of his professional career - via majority decision to Nathan Cleverly at light-heavyweight - in October 2011, when Haye first announced his retirement from boxing.
The latter had long insisted he would not fight beyond the age of 30 and the Londoner expects to return to retirement in two years, when he hopes to have achieved his goals.
"I don't envisage it lasting two years," said Haye, who has long denied money has motivated his return. "In my opinion, I believe I can achieve what I need to achieve (in that time).
"I'm fortunate that I'm still here, healthy at 36, (with time for) a good run at the heavyweight division.
"If I had won that fight (against Klitschko), I would have achieved everything."