“So what are we plugging here today?” I ask the PR girl. In a gym, secret location, somewhere outside Vauxhall.
“Oh David Haye is here.”
“Awesome, what’s he selling?”
To paint the scene, I’m in David Haye’s gym. A storage facility in an unassuming street in the back end of Vauxhall. There’s no sign out front saying ‘David Haye’s Gym‘, there is simply a postcode and a street number. You can hear the trains go above.
David enters and greets the press. Before long the ring is decorously shrouded with press and cameras. The Isley Brothers pumps out of the PA, ‘I’m taking care of business women cant you see, I’ve gotta make it for you and make it for me. Sometimes it seems I’m neglecting you, I’d love to spend more time, I’ve got so many things to do, I’ve got work to do. I’ve got work to do. I’ve got work to do.’
This is Haye in training. Ahead of his fight on December 10th, undisclosed location, contender yet to be announced. I watched him ringside throw short thunderous bursts, that satisfying crisp high-end PAP! of the leather glove hitting the focus pad, synchronised with David’s ‘HAA-HAA’. What martial artists call the Kaia, the expulsion of intent. I start rolling my shoulders, like a curmudgeonly old fart about to approach the dance floor at a wedding. I fucking love the Isley Brothers. I don’t fancy having Haye hang one on me, but there’s an unconscious thing other boxers do when they watch fights, they imitate. Starts with a little unconscious dabbing of the chin from side to side. Then a balling of the right fist. You’re half dancing, half shadow boxing.
After the workout, David resigns himself graciously to the necessary evil of answering questions from the baying press. Someone dutifully attaches three microphones to the crew collar of his t-shirt,
‘Does he need three microphones?‘ Someone in the back asks.
‘I need three microphones‘ Haye replies stoically, commandingly. Staring into middle distance. He’s talking into a camera, someone from CNN is in his ear and we can only hear David’s end of the conversation. ‘I can hear you yes, but if a train comes by overhead, then no.‘
After a variety of interviews, photo shoots. I’m summoned to the edge of the ring to talk to David who has assigned himself to a red two-seater couch opposite. He is eating asparagus with his hands from a plate perched next to him.
‘Come over here man,‘ David beckons me to sit next to him, ‘will be more comfortable for you.‘
Read about Davids Vegan diet here.