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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 06:44 GMT
Haye is delusional - Maccarinelli
By Ben Dirs

Enzo Maccarinelli (left) and David Haye
Maccarinelli (left) and Haye have both promised fireworks
Enzo Maccarinelli v David Haye, Radio 5 Live, Sunday 9 March, approx. 0130 GMT

Enzo Maccarinelli has called David Haye "delusional" ahead of their cruiserweight unification fight at London's O2 Arena on 9 March.

London's Haye, 27, the WBC and WBA title-holder, said he can beat Swansea's Maccarinelli, who holds the WBO belt, inside a minute of round one.

Haye also claimed he has fought at a higher level than Maccarinelli, 27.

"He can say what he likes but he's delusional. I'll punch a hole in his head," Maccarinelli told BBC Sport.

Maccarinelli has won 28 of his 29 paid fights, including 21 knockouts, while Haye has 20 wins from 21 fights, including 19 inside the distance.

Given these statistics, many expect the clash, which will take place in the early hours of the Sunday for the benefit of an American audience, to be the most explosive domestic match-up since Nigel Benn-Chris Eubank II in 1993.

Enzo's going to need to learn a whole new skill set if he's going to get through the first couple of rounds

David Haye

"I totally disagree with him saying he has mixed in better company than me," said Maccarinelli. "All right, he beat [former WBC and WBA champion] Jean-Marc Mormeck and he fought [former WBO champion] Carl Thompson, who beat him.

"But there are no other names that stand out on his record apart from [former IBF champion] Arthur Williams, who was 44 and took the fight at a week's notice.

"I boxed Bruce Scott in my 15th fight, a two-time world title challenger and a massive puncher.

"I've boxed Mark Hobson, the British and Commonwealth champion, Wayne Braithwaite, a former WBC champion, Marcelo Dominguez, a former WBC champion.

"I feel strong and everything has gone right. The intensity has gone up a notch and I'm more motivated than I've ever been for this one.

"It was a fight I'd been talking about for a long time and our paths couldn't have crossed at a better time, what with us both being world champions.

606: DEBATE
SB

"Me and David both have similar styles, we both like to knock the other person out, but I've prepared for 12 gruelling rounds. If I go into the fight expecting three or four rounds and it doesn't happen, then I'm knackered."

Haye, however, recently stated that if Maccarinelli did not "raise his game" the fight would not go "beyond a minute of the first".

And he told the BBC's Inside Sport programme: "He probably saw me get knocked down against Mormeck and thought, 'OK, if Mormeck can knock him down, how about Enzo? Enzo's got a bigger punch and maybe Haye won't get up'.

"But Enzo has got nothing that I haven't been in the ring with before and he's going to need to learn a whole new skill set if he's going to get through the first couple of rounds.

"I need him in the ring because I need to knock him out and shut a few people up who think they know about boxing.

"I'm a better human specimen than Enzo Maccarinelli is and that becomes so clear as soon as that bell goes."

Promoter Frank Warren is confident the O2 Arena in Greenwich, which holds 18,000, will be a complete sell-out on the night.

  • Steve Bunce interviews Enzo Maccarinelli and David Haye on Inside Sport, BBC One, Monday 3 March, 2320-0000 GMT



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