Joe Fournier has told David Haye that he expects to knock him out inside the first round of his comeback.
Haye and Fournier are close friends outside of the ring, and have had light spars over the years in the early stages of Haye’s training camps.
But after a boozy meal on the Greek island of Mykonos, the pair agreed to fight on the undercard of what would eventually become Evander Holyfield vs Vitor Belfort in Florida.
Haye has been out of the ring since his 2018 rematch loss to Tony Bellew, and has argued that he will handily be able to stop the far less experienced Fournier.
Speaking at a press conference, the pair were asked for their predictions, with Fournier making the bold claim that he will beat Haye early.
“Now I’ve seen him up close, he doesn’t look as big as he used to,” Fournier said. “So I think I’m going to knock him out in the first round.
“I’m going to put it on him, see what he has left and see if that shoulder holds up, see if he keeps his hands down.
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“We’re in a casino, so I’m doubling down.”
But Haye feels that his superior boxing experience and knowledge, as well as having fought through severe injuries in his career, will help him put his friend away.
“My prediction is so obvious,” Haye replied. “There are levels to this boxing game, and I’m going to teach you a lesson.
“I’m going to turn the heat up gradually, and I don’t believe you can take the heat, and you’re going to quit in the corner.
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“You’re going to think ‘what have I signed up to? This sounded good in my head when the cameras were rolling and I was on stage’.
“That first round knockout was such a silly thing to say, I’m not sure if you can come out of this when you’re breathing the blood in.
“We all on this stage have been through this before, and you haven’t.
“But you’re going to, and it’s how much of it you can take, that’s the question.”
Fournier understands that a prime Haye would comfortably and brutally stop him, but believes that with his injury history, the match-up is now much more even.
And he is viewing the bout like a business transaction, referring to Haye as a ‘depreciating asset’.
“David Haye is a decreasing asset,” Fournier joked. “He’ll say he’ll do these things, but he’s now the 40-year-old David Haye with a torn Achilles, and a torn bicep.
“I’m not stupid, I know a decade ago he would win, but now he won’t.
“He’s like a Corvette. He’s got brutal power, is fast and can only go in one direction.
“I see myself as a Rolls Royce. I’m defined and more expensive. He’ll see where elegance beats brute power.”
The bout will take place on a card filled with bizarre bouts including Holyfield vs Belfort, as well as former UFC champions Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz boxing one another.