Vladimir Klitschko plans to punish David Haye after the British fighter posed with a wax mock-up of the heavyweight world champion's severed head for a magazine photo-shoot ahead of their June clash in Germany.
The Ukrainian will put his IBF, WBO and IBO belts on the line at the home of German football club Schalke on 20 June and was clearly irritated by Haye's provocative behaviour as the pair faced each other at a news conference in London on Monday.
Haye, who became undisputed world cruiserweight champion last year by knocking out Enzo Maccarinelli, arrived wearing a T-shirt depicting himself holding the heads of Klitschko and his brother Vitali, the WBC heavyweight champion, and began firing insults at the 33-year-old.
"He provoked me by cutting my head off and posturing in the magazine," Klitschko said. "Pretty provoking. You know what? I chose David Haye not David Haye chose me.
"I have had three title defences and I took this boy. I see right now, I see David Haye with a (T-shirt showing) cut head of my brother. So I am asking what is going to be next? Are you going to cut my dad's head or my mother's head? Other family members? Maybe you will attack my religion, my race?
"This is over the edge. This is not about sport. You listen to what I say, this guy is going to be punished, it is going to be pizza face for 12 rounds, and in the 12th round I am going to knock him out.
"I'm not going to use my energy on trash talk, it's embarrassing, it's embarrassing for the sport," added Klitschko, who has held a version of the heavyweight title for 10 years.
Asked if the T-shirt had overstepped the mark, Haye, a rookie at the weight after stepping up from the cruiserweight division, said: "As long as people remember me as the best fighter in the world with bad taste I don't care.
"This is the fight I've dreamed about," the 28-year-old said before launching into his opponent's style. "I was the undisputed cruiserweight champion and now I'm going to show I'm the best heavyweight in the world.
"He's crap! He doesn't go in the ring to fight. He doesn't give value for money. He's a big dude, has a decent jab and has a lot of physical tools but I will turn them against him. "His jab, jab, grab tactics that he has been doing throughout his career, it's not impressive, it won't work against me. I will make him fight and he is a fighter who doesn't like to fight.
"It's going to be a changing of the guard on June 20...I'm faster and hungrier than any of the bums he has fought before. It will be a rude awakening for him. He will have to do the fight of his life or he'll be leaving the ring on a stretcher."
Haye said he was unconcerned about fighting in front of a pro-Klitschko crowd in a stadium that holds 60,000.
"He needs the support not me," said Haye, who has won 21 of his 23 career fights by knockout.