David Haye’s comeback fight with Joe Fournier will now be contested as a professional bout, after the fight was moved from California to Florida.
The fight was not approved to take place as a professional fight by the California State Athletic Commission, who instead ruled that the pair would have to compete in an exhibition.
But when the event, set to take place on Saturday night, was moved from the Staples Center to Hard Rock Live in Florida, the new commission approved the fight, and it will now appear on both men’s records.
Haye is 28-4 as a professional, and last fought in 2018 against Tony Bellew, when he was stopped in the fifth round.
Fournier, on the other hand, is better known for his outings at light heavyweight and is 9-0, although he doesn’t have any victories against any notable opponents.
He most recently appeared on the undercard of Jake Paul’s fight with Ben Askren, where he brutalised the debuting reggaeton singer Reykon over two rounds.
Haye will be expected to handily defeat Fournier, with whom he is close friends outside of the ring.
The fight was initially planned to take place on the undercard of Oscar De La Hoya’s comeback fight against ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.
But when De La Hoya contracted coronavirus, Evander Holyfield stepped in on short notice to return to the ring for his first fight since 2011.
However, the California State Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow the fight to take place, so the entire card was moved to Florida, who were willing to sanction it.
Fournier and Haye agreed to fight over a boozy meal on the Greek island of Mykonos, when the businessman reportedly got into an argument with Haye over who would win between the pair.
Haye reportedly said that it might be a draw, in an effort to save Fournier’s ego, but the argument got more heated when the 9-0 fighter refused to accept the comment.
“This fight is the ultimate battle of egos, the outcome of some drunken bar banter,” Haye said.
“Now I have to teach some manners to a dear (but delusional) friend of mine Joe Fournier.
“A reminder to Joe that his best boxing achievement is being ranked No.10 in the world by the WBA whilst holding the WBA international belt at light-heavyweight, five years ago.”
But despite the obvious skill disparity between the pair, Haye’s injury-ridden past makes this a bout that could ultimately prove interesting.
And Fournier believes that the fight is a winnable one, and could earn him a big money matchup with Jake Paul or Floyd Mayweather.
“The thought had crossed my mind as to whether I would beat David now,” Fournier said.
“He has more experience and a way better skill set and ring craft and intelligence but I’ve never lost and I think this is a much closer fight than people think.
“It’s all friendly until you get punched in the face. The reality is, if I beat David it is a blemish on his record. He lost to Bellew but he was a world champion.
“I’m going to beat David and if I do, why can’t I fight Floyd Mayweather? He fought Logan Paul and I have more integrity than him if I beat David.”