Vitali Klitschko would jump at the chance to knock out David Haye after revealing that he has developed a deep-rooted hatred of the Briton because of his taunts towards his brother Wladimir.
Haye's dreams of unifying the heavyweight division took a huge blow when he was out-pointed by Wladimir Klitschko in a one-sided clash in Hamburg.
A broken toe may have hindered him, but the 30-year-old's sub-par performance left many to suggest that his aim of beating both Klitschkos to win all the belts in the division is nothing but a pipe dream.
Haye said after the defeat that he would put back his planned retirement of October 13 if he could organise a rematch with Wladimir, but the IBF, WBO, and WBA champion admitted yesterday that a second contest between the pair is unlikely.
Should Haye decide to fight on, however, he now appears to have the option of fighting WBC champion Vitali. Vitali has not lost since he was stopped in the sixth round of his clash with Lennox Lewis eight years ago and is generally considered the better of the two brothers.
The 39-year-old has been present for most of the verbal jousting between his brother and Haye in the build-up to the Hamburg fight.
Many found Haye's decision to launch an app which showed him decapitating “an eastern European fighter” as shocking and distasteful as the t-shirt he wore two years ago which portrayed him holding up the severed heads of both brothers.
Vitali admits the barbs have hurt him personally and he plans to use them as motivation to knock Haye out if the two meet.
“The original reason why we wanted to fight David Haye is because he had the WBA belt, but now it's not just about the belt — it's more personal,” said Vitali, who was in London to promote a film about the brothers’ careers.
“There is just one reason why I want to fight David — because he touched me personally with his bad words.
“He has no respect for his opponent, he tries to duck out before fights. He always has excuses, always says bad words to my brother and to me and to my family.
“If I fought David Haye the reason why I'd be doing it would be to achieve one goal — to send him to the floor, where he belongs. Then I'd look over him and say: ‘what are you going to say now? What excuses have you got left now?’”.
Vitali and his manager Bernd Boente will discuss with Sky whether they think the fight against Haye would be worthwhile before approaching the Londoner's camp.
Haye would almost certainly have to postpone his retirement to accommodate a fight with Vitali, who defends his title against Tomasz Adamek in Poland on September 10. Boente believes the deal is an attractive proposition.
“From a marketable point of view I think this is the better fight. This would be the fight with more questions,” he said.
Last week Golden Boy Promotions chief Richard Schaefer insisted that Haye should re-establish his reputation in the United States before challenging the Klitschkos.
Wladimir mocked the idea yesterday before all but shutting the door on a potential rematch.
“Richard Schaefer's idea is a great idea. It would be good for David's movie career to go to the US,” the 35-year-old jested. I don't think he knows whether he wants to fight again.
“Will he decide to postpone his retirement? Probably not.”