David Haye has learned from past lessons
David Haye has revealed he is taking a less confrontational approach to his career as he prepares to make his comeback against Mark de Mori at London's O2 Arena tonight.
The former WBA heavyweight champion, now trained by Shane McGuigan, returns to the ring for the first time in over three and a half years when he fights Australia's little-known De Mori.
It had been routine in fight week that Haye would engage in mind games, trash talk and intimidation, but this week he has been largely respectful despite De Mori being such an underwhelming opponent, and he insisted that the provocation previously witnessed with Dereck Chisora and others will no longer be seen.
"It has gone, at 35 I'm a bit maturer," said Haye.
"It's certainly less heated than the Chisora situation (when Haye and Chisora brawled in a press conference and a tripod was wielded) that's for sure.
"That was in the past. I learned my lesson from that. (De Mori) got in my face but this time I didn't try and hit him over the head with a tripod.
"You learn your lessons. It wasn't the best thing to do. It was an instinctive thing.
"This time I pushed him away and thought 'I'll wait until fight night'. And it's just experience, saving it for the ring. No flipping tables over any more for me."
It would come as a significant surprise if Haye, who yesterday weighed in at a career heaviest 16st 3lb 5oz against De Mori's 17st 5lb 8oz, were to do anything other than convincingly defeat his 33-year-old opponent, even if he shows signs of ring-rust and decline.
As is more typical of his career he is already planning his ultimate goal, and says a fight with the promising but inexperienced Anthony Joshua is his priority, even above World champions Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and even if that does little to support his previous claims his comeback is not motivated by money.
"I believe the biggest fight is Anthony Joshua," he said. "Bigger than Tyson Fury, bigger than (Vyacheslav) Glazkov bigger than Deontay. Joshua is a stadium fight.
"More people know who Anthony Joshua is and more people know who I am, so that fight, I believe, is the biggest.
"He's increasing the quality (of his opponents) and he's passed the test every time. Someone like a (Dereck) Chisora, (Robert) Helenius, a European-level fighter, that's the next step up. And after that who knows?
"If he fights a couple of those guys and then maybe later on in the year, you never know. I'm not going anywhere, I'll be ready for it.
"When I was beating Chisora he was winning an Olympic gold medal (at London 2012). It's been that long since I've had a fight, and he's had his whole (professional) career in that time I've been off injured.
"I want to fight the best guys in the world, and I believe he's one of them.
"I don't think (Fury will) want to fight me because I punch too hard. He's got a perfect reason not to fight me. He's thinking 'I've already pulled out twice, I don't care about him blah, blah, blah'.
"I don't care about him. It's the title he has that I'm interested in, only. He's got to retain them in Germany again (against Wladimir Klitschko). He's got business to take care of."
WBO Intercontinental super-flyweight champion Jamie Conlan has withdrawn from the Saturday, February 6 show at the National Stadium in Dublin due to a shoulder injury.
Belfast man Conlan was due to defend his title on the card, but the show is now headlined with a showdown between Gary Corcoran and Danny Butler - who replaces injured original challenger Joe Selkirk - with the vacant WBO Intercontinental junior middleweight championship on the line.
Chief support on the card sees exciting Dublin ace Jamie Kavanagh step up to challenge for the first title of his career when he faces Portugal's Antonio Joao Bento for the vacant WBO European lightweight championship.