David Haye says his “perfect scenario” in the future is to take on Anthony Joshua, who currently holds the IBF and WBA belts.
Haye, however, admits his career will be “effectively over” if he can not beat Tony Bellew in their keenly-awaited rematch on December 17 at The O2.
Haye suffered a leg injury in the first fight but fought on before he was stopped in the 11th round.
The 37-year-old has been given a chance to claim revenge and told talkSPORT that he could still see a path towards an eventual showdown with Joshua, who will fight Carlos Takam on October 28.
“That would be the ultimate perfect scenario,” said Haye.
“I have a couple of fights, he has a couple of fights. If we both keep winning then a big stadium, me v Anthony Joshua, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.
“However, I can’t even remotely even start thinking about that if I can’t perform against Tony Bellew.
“If I can’t beat Tony Bellew, my competitive boxing career is effectively over. There is no need me even mentioning any other names in the heavyweight division, about wanting to fight for titles, fight this guy, that guy.
“If I can’t beat Tony Bellew, then it’s over.”
— Hayemaker Boxing (@HayemakerBoxing) October 7, 2017
Haye says a laboured win over Bellew could lead to his retirement but is adamant he still believes he can lock horns with the best.
“Even If I win, I may still retire,” he said.
“Even if I beat Tony Bellew, but I scrape through, I get knocked down, I’m struggling, whatever issue I have, I can’t then realistically say I want to fight this big guy who is three inches taller, three stone bigger, 10 years younger, undefeated and with a 100 per cent knock-out record.
“People will say, ‘come on David, get real’. I don’t want that, and I’m smart enough to know if and when I can challenge people.
“I might say, ‘OK, even though I’ve just about scraped through this fight, I know I can’t compete with these big guys – that was 10 years ago!’.
“But I really believe deep down in my heart that I’ve still got it.
“Fortunately, Tony Bellew has given me a second chance, and then we can hopefully look to 2018 for some mega showdowns.
“This fight is going to show me whether I’ve still got it, or I haven’t. Either way, it’s going to be entertaining for everyone else.
“People know myself and Tony will fight until we can’t fight anymore. You know you are going to get fireworks for sure, no matter what happens.”