Tony Bellew vowed to “run through David Haye like a steam train” at a tense press conference ahead of their fight on Saturday.
Haye initially appeared relaxed as he blew kisses to Bellew’s raucous home crowd in Liverpool, but the Londoner was soon drawn into another slanging match with his rival as the pair traded the kind of insults which have peppered the build-up to their O2 grudge match.
The Londoner challenged Bellew’s supporters to back their man by “emptying your bank accounts and betting it all on him” before adding: “Deep in your minds you know he’s getting drilled to the canvas pretty fast”.
And after a visibly-riled Haye had retaken his seat it was left to the local boy to make his own big-fight prediction.
Bellew said: “On Saturday night I’m going to create something that will never, ever die and that is a legacy.
“I’m not going in with an invincible, great heavyweight. I’m going in with a man who was absolutely fantastic, in his prime an immense athlete and amazing fighter.
“He’s still the quickest punching heavyweight in the world, but the gas tank is very low and doesn’t last very long.
“I’m expecting the very best of David Haye, but I understand it won’t be there for very long, and when the gas tank runs out this big, fat Scouser is going to run through him like a steam train. I’m not going to stop.”
I just want to say thank you to the people who queued up today for hours! I'm so humbled and honoured that you guys would do this! Im trying my best to represent the city the best I can, people need to remember I'm just a normal scouser who's not bad at having a fight! I can't believe how you got behind me. Thank you.. the talking is almost over! I will be victorious on Saturday! A true scouser never gives in and always believes in himself! #ProudHumbledScouser #ThankYou
The customary head-to-head took place in name only, with minders ensuring the fighters were kept well beyond arm’s length following their clash at November’s press conference.
The verbals continued, though, before Haye eventually left the stage to the glee of the assembled fight fans who had barracked him relentlessly throughout an electric half-hour.