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Title: Lionheart David Haye on heavyweight crusade - (2008-08-14)
Description: Here in Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus, it is sweltering 40 degrees in the day and 21 degrees at night. It is a second home to David Haye, who will spend the next three months here putting on weight, in a climate when losing weight would seem easier.

The weather starts to cool in mid-September, with Haye telling all who would listen from Hamburg on Saturday night that he will fight in November, fight No 1 in a five-fight deal with Setanta Sports along with his own promotional company which will put on fight nights, which was reported by some as being worth £13 million.

That figure, I have it on good authority, was way off the mark. It is much lower. Haye's career as a heavyweight will be played out lock stock and barrel on the channel which has thrown itself into boxing and is doing a mighty job of it.

Haye might heed the words of Lennox Lewis this morning. The now elder retired statesman of the heavyweight division has advised Haye - who had been ringside in Hamburg to get in the ear of reigning world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who defeated American Tony Thompson.

Haye has box office appeal, the looks, the punch, poise and panache to make heavyweight boxing glamourous again, but Lewis iterated a timely reminder. Take your time, David, because Wlad is a Goliath, and has had over 50 fights as a heavyweight. Haye has had one. And the step up from cruiserweight is a major one.

Lewis advises that Haye should stay away from Klitschko for 18 months, by which time he will have had 5 fights. Great advice from a great world champion.

It will be dinner with David tonight, in Kyrenia, a beautiful spot with the ruins of Bellapais Abbey, looking out on the mediterranean towards Turkey. Haye insists he is deeply happy here, with his wife and young child. The climate is dry. Very hot.

In the twelfth century Richard The Lionheart courted his fiancée Berengaria in this area. Arriving with his fleet in the port of Lemesos (now Limassol) on Cyprus, he captured the city and defeated the island's despot Isaac Komnenos. Richard looted the island and massacred those trying to resist him. Months later, he left Cyprus for the Holy Land. From here, The Lionheart may have been plotting aspecting of the Crusades.

I know not whether David Haye is aware of the history, but from here he plots his assault on the world heavyweight crown. Certainly a good place to start.



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