David Haye is determined to issue an explosive reminder of his all-action style by making a “big statement” against John Ruiz tonight.
Haye defends the WBA world heavyweight title he captured from Nikolai Valuev in Nuremberg last November for the first time when he meets Ruiz at the MEN Arena.
It was a case of needs must against Valuev with Haye outmanoeuvring the 7ft 2in Russian to secure a majority points decision over 12 lifeless rounds.
Though widely feted for an intelligent and disciplined performance, it was not the style favoured by the 29-year-old, who has amassed 21 knockouts in 23 wins.
Normal service will resume in Manchester tonight, however, with Haye planning to produce a thrilling spectacle which will ignite the heavyweight division.
“After what happened against Valuev I definitely feel pressure to put on something special,” he said. “I'm fighting someone my own size, so that should be easier.
“Everyone knows the reason I fought like that against Valuev — was because of his sheer size. I had used to my advantages which were speed, timing and accuracy.
“It will be completely different this time around — you'll see what I can do against someone who's my own size.
“It will be something different to what people are used to seeing. Ruiz will be tough but the plan is still to render him unconscious.
“I want to make a big statement in this fight by showing how a heavyweight champion deals with John Ruiz. I'll throw everything but the kitchen sink at him. It will be all guns blazing and I'm expecting to sizzle.”
Haye's ambition of producing an electrifying first defence may be thwarted by the suffocating Ruiz, whose spoiling style has increased his longevity while limiting his box-office appeal.
What Ruiz, known as the 'Quietman', lacks in bombast he has made up for with a steely determination and professionalism which has rammed home to the Haye camp that they face a genuine threat.
The 38-year-old American veteran of 54 contests, who battled Evander Holyfield across three fights and 36 rounds a decade ago, will be troubled by Haye's speed but is in impressive shape.
In recognition of the unflappable Ruiz's record, Haye has opted against taunting his opponent in the build-up.
“There doesn't seem to be an ounce of fear in Ruiz,” said Haye.
“Sometimes you can see in their eyes that they're nervous — they might pump their chest out and you can see their heart beating — but he's looked cool, calm and collected.
“I wouldn't go as far as to say I admire him but I respect him and what's he done. I respect that's he's been around for so long, always giving a great account of himself.
“He's always been the underdog but has usually found a way to win. He's not the most exciting of fighters, but this time round he's in great shape so I'm expecting fireworks.”