Commonwealth Games 2002
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Boxing Saturday, 22 June, 2002, 07:44 GMT 08:44 UK
Time to hail Haye
David Haye of England lands a left on Odlanier Fonte Solis of Cuba
Haye (left) shocked everyone at the World Championships

If England is waiting for another Audley Harrison, the smart money is on it being David Haye.

The 21-year-old took silver in the heavyweight class at the World Championships last summer in Belfast and is probably the favourite to scoop the gold at the Commonwealth Games.

Articulate and good looking, it seems the logical step for him to make a move into the professional arena, where big money awaits.

Haye spoke to BBC Sport Online about his current status and refused to confirm whether the Games will be the last time we see him in the headguard and vest which are reserved for amateurs.

"I'm just focusing on the Commonwealth Games, if I turn pro, I turn pro," he said.

"In an ideal world, I go to the Olympics in Athens (2004) and it's only two years time."

open quote
I have not got a clue about the opposition - I haven't looked into it - I'm just focusing on me
end quote
David Haye

One of Haye's closest friends is Harrison, who has provided valuable advice.

He revealed: "He advised me to go the Olympics. I'm still only 21, which is a baby for the heavyweight division.

"The only problem is that they are talking of taking the super-heavyweight division away."

For Haye, who now tips the scales at just under 200lbs (91kg), the heavyweight limit, that is a serious problem.

The super-heavyweight class allows athletes to settle in at a weight which is more suited to the professional ranks.

With modern heavyweights such as Lennox Lewis weighing 250lbs, Haye knows he needs to bulk up.

"I've put on just over a stone in the last year and I'm 91 kilos so I'm spot on the weight - I'll be a lot bigger and stronger.

"At six foot three inches, I'm pretty much the same build as Evander Holyfield. He won an Olympic medal at light-heavyweight and won a world title at cruiserweight before moving up."

For now, Haye would prefer to talk about his upcoming task in Manchester, although he admits to knowing little of the opponents that lie ahead of him.

He added: "I have not got a clue about the opposition - I haven't looked into it - I'm just focusing on me.

"To be honest, I don't care who is out there - but I am taking it seriously nonetheless.

"Because of my success at last year's championships, everyone knows me but I don't know them."

open quote
I just want to be number one - if I didn't believe I could be, I wouldn't do it
end quote

Although he enters the tournament with the reputation as a big puncher, Haye believes he has another skill that merits being taken seriously.

"I've always maintained that I have the speed of a welterweight," he said. "I've sparred with a lot of lighter guys and they say I am quick."

A slightly heavier sparring partner is current British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Danny Williams.

Haye insisted: "He's the only guy I can spar with. He's told me that I'm only guy who can really push him."

Williams confirmed that Haye is that good.

He admits that a "lazy" tag given to him during his early days is accurate, although, with three training sessions a day, a part-time job as a fitness instructor and a live-in trainer, he believes the adjective is no longer applicable.

Haye's boxing idol is American star Roy Jones Jnr, who he believes is "the best fighter I have ever seen".

And the 21-year-old concluded: "My goals are, short term, to be Commonwealth Games champion and world champion as a professional.

"I just want to be number one - if I didn't believe I could be, I wouldn't do it."

BBC Sport's Mike Costello
"Haye is a strong favourite for gold"
David Haye
"I'm going to try and knock everyone out"

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