Tony Bellew’s trainer Dave Coldwell has revealed the insight his time working with David Haye has brought to their preparations for Saturday’s fight.
After overseeing Bellew’s rise to become the WBC cruiserweight champion, at London’s 02 Arena he will for the first time be working against 36-year-old Haye.
The Rotherham trainer, dismissed by him on Thursday as “a little rat coach”, was the head of Hayemaker Boxing while the younger Haye was one of the world’s leading fighters. He oversaw the running of the business and promotions and helped organise sparring partners while contributing to matchmaking, training George Groves and assisting Haye’s former trainer in analysing his fights.
Haye on Thursday warned Bellew, 34, to “enjoy his last days,” a controversial type of threat Coldwell became familiar with while the former sought to promote his fights and engage in mind games.
However the 41-year-old former Sheffield Ingle boxer believes his latest outbursts are the result of a modern-day “bitterness.”
“It’s the old David Haye I knew, not the new David Haye, this bitter, negative man,” Coldwell said. “I knew him when he seemed happy and at peace with himself.
“He’s not as confident as you think. He has doubts, but (back then) had people with him who’d be honest; not ‘yes men’. Now he’s got people around him who haven’t got the bottle to tell him what’s what, because they don’t want to lose their jobs. He’s worth a lot of money; they’re thinking about the (potential Anthony) Joshua fight, not this one.
“David Haye is a reflex fighter: the speed, head movement, everything. You’re watching him on the pads with Shane (McGuigan): he ain’t as fast as he thinks (any more).”
Haye’s comeback has been overseen by Shane McGuigan, and Coldwell believes that has contributed much to the decline he sees.
Haye on Monday at a press conference in Liverpool called sections of those present “******* retards”, when he said he could hear racist insults being yelled and for which he insists he will not apologise.
He had also previously threatened to leave Bellew in hospital, and on Thursday told him to: “Enjoy your last days. There’s not going to be another day: this is the last day for you. That’s it: it’s over.
“I’m legally allowed to do as much damage as I can inflict for 36 minutes with 10-ounce gloves on.
“He’s got under my skin, he’s chased me for a year-and-a-half, really made things personal. I’ll make sure he never, ever, ever does that again.”
Coldwell is convinced that under Adam Booth, Haye would not only not have gone so far, but would also be a superior fighter.
“Technically, he was much better with Adam,” he said. “He’s not doing certain things now that he used to do.
“Fighters like Haye need somebody who can pull them in, control their emotions and ego. Naz (Naseem Hamed) had it with Brendan Ingle; Haye and (former trainer) Adam Booth were the same.
“I was never his mate, but we’d always got on. Maybe he thinks I’m that insecure that him calling me ‘Penfold’, I’m going to start crumbling and feel pressure. All that is like school.”