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Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Thursday, 7 May 2009 16:49 UK

Cooper criticises Haye behaviour

David Haye
Haye is a former undisputed cruiserweight champion

Sir Henry Cooper believes David Haye's antics ahead of his heavyweight clash with Wladimir Klitschko on 20 June are "bad for the reputation of boxing".

In the build-up to the the IBF and WBO title fight, Haye has worn a T-shirt depicting him holding the severed heads of Wladimir and his brother Vitali.

"The sport has already got enough opposition in the anti-boxing lobby," said Cooper, who recently turned 75.

"He overstepped the mark with that T-shirt. I wouldn't have done that."

Former British, European and Commonwealth champion Cooper added that he believes Haye's behaviour is driving fans away, despite the fact more than 50,000 tickets have already been sold for the fight at FC Schalke's Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen.


"I don't want to see David walking around with a T-shirt of other fighters' heads and all the cobblers we've seen in the build-up," he said.

"Prove how good you are in the ring by stopping Klitschko in one or two rounds. This is bad for the reputation of boxing.

"He doesn't need to do this sort of publicity to put bums on seats. Rather, I think he's driving bums off seats with his behaviour."

Despite Cooper's distaste for his fellow south Londoner's shenanigans outside the ring, he rates Haye highly inside it.

"Out of all the heavyweight contenders he's got the most potential. He moves well and looks good," said Cooper, who fought Muhammad Ali twice.

"He has a good punch and at between 15-16 stone he is the right weight for a heavyweight - more mobile than most.

"Those who are 18-20 stone are at a disadvantage. He's not a fighter who takes punches to land his own."

see also
Haye targets 'B-level' Klitschko
23 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Haye 'an embarrassment to boxing'
20 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Klitschko predicts Haye knockout
16 Apr 09 |  Boxing
Vitali Klitschko opts for Gomez
09 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Haye targets Wladimir Klitschko
08 Jan 09 |  Boxing
In-depth interview - David Haye
16 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Clinical Klitschko stops Rahman
13 Dec 08 |  Boxing
Stunning Haye demolishes Barrett
15 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Powerful Klitschko reclaims title
12 Oct 08 |  Boxing
Klitschko hints at Haye defence
13 Jul 08 |  Boxing

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