Lennox Lewis has defended David Haye's actions in the build-up to tomorrow's fight with Wladimir Klitschko and insists the Londoner has not over-stepped the mark with his trash-talking.
WBA heavyweight champion Haye has been criticised in some quarters for his distasteful goading of IBF/WBO champion Klitschko ahead of their clash at Hamburg's Imtech Arena.
Haye's stunts have ranged from wearing T-shirts depicting him holding the severed heads of Klitschko and his brother Vitali to iPhone games where players attempt to punch the head off an eastern European 'giant'. He has regularly made comments about inflicting serious injury on his rival and this week promised a "brutal execution".
Former undisputed heavyweight champion Lewis, who was riled by Mike Tyson's infamous rant about eating his children before their 2002 fight, does not think his fellow Briton has crossed the line.
"I haven't seen him really take it too far yet," he told Press Association Sport. "Everybody has got their level where they draw the line.
"If you asked 100 mothers out there they would say he took it too far but if you asked the normal punter out there they'd say 'that's great - did you see that?'.
"So everybody has their level of what is too far. If David said something about his family or something then yes, that would be taking it too far.
"But stuff like 'I'm going to take off your head' is just boxing talk.
"Anything about your family or anything like that is way too far."
Lewis has warned Haye he must knock Klitschko out because there is "no way" the judges will award him a points win in Germany.
Germany has a reputation for questionable judging decisions and Lewis was ringside in Cologne last Saturday to watch Birmingham's Matthew Macklin lose his WBA middleweight title challenge in a highly controversial split decision.
Haye has vowed to knock Klitschko out rather than let the fight go 12 rounds anyway and former undisputed champion Lewis says he has no other option.
"He's got to knock him out," Lewis said.
"When you go into the other guy's backyard you cannot hope to win on points.
"I don't see him winning on points. There is no way. It's such a big uphill battle.
"I commentated on Matthew Macklin against Felix Sturm in Cologne and it was disgraceful. It was so bad.
"Sturm's demeanour was like he was saying to Macklin 'what are you doing, you're not going to win anyway!'.
"As soon as that happened I thought about David and said 'dude, you're coming over to fight in the other guy's backyard? They're not going to give it to you. They are not going to be nice to you. Don't think you're going to get a fair shake. You know what you're going to have to go on there and do. Simple as that. Bring your own judges - your fists!'
"He has the talent to do it.
"He has to use his speed. If David is 100% he should win."