Boxing: Haye displays the appetite to thrive on a heavyweight diet

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The Independent Online

David Haye easily won the first battle of his professional career with the scales yesterday when he stepped on and off and tipped 15st 5lb for tonight's heavyweight fight against New York's Monte Barrett over 10 rounds at the 02 Arena in London.

Haye (below) has spent six years drying out and drastically losing weight to boil his frame down to the cruiserweight limit, where he managed to win three versions of the world title, and it was clear yesterday that the freedom to gain weight and eat as he likes suits the London boxer. "It's been a struggle and it has never been easy to make cruiserweight," he said. "I will gain some more weight but I'm not just going to bulk up for the sake of it because right now for what I need 15.5 is perfect." Haye, incidentally, is heavier than Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Evander Holyfield, Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali were when they won their heavyweight world titles.

Barrett, who has twice failed in world title fights but retains a top 10 position, sensibly weighed in at 16st 2lb, which is slightly heavier than he was for his last fight, but he is also fully aware that his size is not a big enough threat to Haye's progress in the heavyweight division. The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, who will be a ringside guest tonight, scale in excess of 17st 7lb for their fights.

"I have the speed to worry Haye because I'm a fast heavyweight and that is something that he is underestimating," Barrett said. "Haye has looked at my defeats [six in 40 fights] and made a bad call. But records are deceptive and right now my head is in the right place."

If Haye can stay calm in front of a pulsating O2 crowd, he has the power to end Barrett's night very early, but if he allows himself to get involved with posturing he could find himself looking up at the lights.