Motormouth David Haye is out of next Friday's nights British and Commonwealth cruiserweight title clash with Mark Hobson after injuring his hamstring in training. The 24-year-old says the alleged injury, picked up while doing sprint work last week, has blighted preparations for the fight and so decided to pull out. Yesterday (Thursday) in Liverpool, Haye gave the hamstring one last go before declaring himself unfit.
"I did some sparring at Salisbury ABC with the 6'7, 17 stone David Price and ABA heavyweight champion Tony Bellew - and my body just couldn't do the things I wanted it to do because of my hamstring problem. For example, punching hard and avoiding getting punched hard,” explained Haye.
Haye, who was soundly beaten in 5 rounds by Carl Thompson in an IBO title challenge last year added:
"In previous spars I'd been working on my strategy for the Hobson fight, and it's been working perfectly. But when I sparred yesterday in Liverpool, I just had no movement, momentum or leverage in my shots. I need to bend my legs to avoid punches - especially from a taller fighter. My hamstring problem didn't allow me to do that. So, I was a sitting duck and got hit more in six rounds of sparring than I've ever been hit before."
"I'm just thankful that I was sparring boxers as capable as Price and Bellew, to show me that it would be very unwise to go ahead with the fight against Hobson, or anyone else for that matter. I wouldn't be fit to face Tony Booth in my current condition."
A bitter war of words between Haye and champion Hobson has been simmering since the fight was first announced with both men promising to knock the other out. There were also rumours of a £10,000 side bet between the trainers of both camps so the withdrawal was even more agonising for the former world amateur silver medallist:
"I'm absolutely gutted," said Haye.
"I was up until six o'clock last night just thinking things through in my head.
"Preparation had gone as well as it could and I'd been feeling as good as ever.
"I started doing my sprints last Thursday, and felt as if I'd been shot in the back of my right leg. I had to be carried back to my house. I couldn't walk for two days. As soon I hurt it I knew it was bad, but wanted to give it a chance."
"I've been to see Britain's top physiotherapist Kevin Lidlow and had injections and treatment to it every day since, but, although it is getting better, I can't do the things I normally do in the ring. I can't even bend my right leg. I use my right leg to get my power and leverage for my 'Hayemakers'."
"I'm not sure when I can run again, though. It's the first time I've ever had problems with my hamstring, so the experience is very much new to me. I've spoken to my friend and training partner Duaine Ladejo (former Olympic 400m runner) about it and he said that at 24 and 25 years of age the problems begin to arise."
As for the future, Haye maintains Hobson still features in his immediate plans - and this is only a temporary delay.
"The British Boxing Board Of Control (BBBC) have been told about my situation and they've assured me that I am still mandatory challenger to Hobson's title. That fight will still happen and it will still be a big domestic fight. It's not been cancelled, it's just been postponed.
"It's massively frustrating, though. I was feeling as good as I've ever felt in training, and even when I was doing my sprints I was running faster than ever before."