The David Haye Interview

The WBA world heavyweight champion on breaking legs, starstruck footballers and his love for Millwall

Premier League footballers are the best at what they do, so they should be given their dues. It’s easy to rip it out of them, but I actually like the fact that these guys – a lot of them with no education – are earning 60
grand a week or whatever. Get in there!
Everybody’s born with a skill, but some people never manage to figure out what they’re good at. Everyone has a supreme gift. The footballers who make it are lucky enough to have found their calling as youngsters, they get scouted and off they go. I found out at an early age that I was good at chinning people!

When I meet footballers they’re really respectful. They earn whatever they’re earning, but when they meet me they’re like, ‘you’re the boxer on TV!’ They treat me like regular football fans treat them.

I went to the PFA Awards with a few pals and players were coming up saying, ‘Wow! The Hayemaker!’ I don’t get a chance to follow football quite as closely as I did when I was a kid, so I was saying to my pals, ‘Who was that?’ And they’re like, ‘He plays for Arsenal, he’s a genius!’

The only thing I don’t like about football is the rolling around on the floor. When you watch rugby you realise that the human body can take a lot more punishment than what they’re making out. You’ve got the free kick so stop rolling around crying. Get up and get on with it.

I was the most aggressive player you’ve ever seen as a kid. Every tackle and challenge was 100 per cent; in fact, it was sometimes way over the top. I got banned from playing football at school because I broke so many bones. In training I broke the leg of a kid

 

who lived a few doors down from me, and he was in my team! It was a 50-50 challenge, but because I’d done a lot of martial arts I had really tough shins, so I loved going into challenges shin to shin. I was a bit sick as a kid, so I was banned from football and rugby after some violent tackles. Boxing and dishing out punishment was my
calling.

I like the tougher old school players with no frills, like Terry Hurlock who I used to watch down at Millwall. I appreciate skill, I appreciate the little touches, but there’s nothing better than seeing someone who’s as hard as nails smashing into someone and coming away with the ball! This message has been scanned by MailController – portal2.mailcontroller.co.uk

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