David Haye didn't take his time, and didn't spend a few rounds getting loose. Instead, he came right at Mark De Mori today at the O2 Arena in London, finishing the Australian opponent at 2:11 of round one in Haye's first fight in three and a half years.
Haye (27-2, 25 KO) immediately displayed his intentions to come forward and put the pressure on De Mori (30-2-2, 26 KO), throwing shots to the head and body with serious intent from the get-go. Haye's timing wasn't what it has been in the past, which was to be expected after such a long layoff. If it had been, he probably would have finished this in 30 seconds.
Instead, it was a crushing right hand about two minutes into the fight that put De Mori down and out, with referee Bob Williams waving the count, as the Aussie was clearly out and finished. De Mori barely got a punch off, and was clearly overmatched. He was chosen for a reason, and Haye had no intention of carrying the fight or taking time to work on things.
"My shoulder feels better than it was before. I'm punching harder now than I was before. I'm so strong now. I'm hitting harder than I've ever hit before. I just believe this new and improved version of me will go on and win the heavyweight championship," Haye said.
Asked about how he felt in the ring, Haye said, "It was so comfortable. It felt like home. I had no nerves whatsoever. This is where I belong. I could live in this environment."
When watching his own replay, Haye asked, "What heavyweight could take those shots for 10 rounds?" Haye added that he wants to get back in the ring as soon as possible, and work his way to another title fight, but he doesn't expect that will come against Tyson Fury.
"Tyson Fury was pretty vocal about never wanting to fight me, but he's got to go back to Germany to fight Klitschko again. But he's a great young fighter. I said I'll work my way up the rankings. He said even if I do so, he'll relinquish the belts. So why bother?"
He steered the conversation another way, saying, "I think a bigger fight would be with Anthony Joshua. That could happen by the end of the year. I think he's great. I think he's big, strong, athletic, punches hard, great amateur pedigree. He looks great. Ticks all the boxes. That's why I'm back in boxing, for the big fights. I need that."
Haye's new trainer, Shane McGuigan, said, "I'd say it was a solid 6 or 7. To come back after a three and a half year layoff and perform like that, no ring rust there. It shows all the hard work we're doing in the gym. It's been fun. David will say himself it's been an uphill struggle. We train very hard behind closed doors."
McGuigan added, "Obviously, you're going to see the best out of him when his opposition goes up."