David Haye says only a big win over Tony Bellew in their heavyweight rematch on Saturday will be enough to resurrect his career.
The two meet for a second time at the O2 Arena this weekend, 14 months after their first bout saw Bellew come out on top by TKO in the 11th round.
“A split decision win against Tony Bellew suggests my time has come and is long gone,” the 37-year old Londoner told the BBC.
“A spectacular knockout where I look like my old self, that could make things very interesting in the heavyweight division.”
Bellew, 35, has ridiculed Haye, accusing him of “robbing the bank” and cherry-picking fights since taking a three-year break from the ring in 2012.
This is when I first trained with @Ismaelsalas5 Las Vegas August 2014. A great few months. I can’t wait to step into the ring at @TheO2 with him leading my corner, May 5th. Almost 4 years since, but I’m a firm believer that everything happens when the time is right. #HayeBellew2 pic.twitter.com/YSyLqLL9OW
— David Haye (@mrdavidhaye) May 1, 2018
Haye, meanwhile, say he is looking to use the fight as a springboard to earn a shot at top heavyweight fighters including Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Haye lost his WBA heavyweight belt to the now-retired Wladimir Klitschko in 2011.
He said that a second defeat to Bellew would probably spell the end for him.
“I would have to accept that it wasn’t meant to be,” he said.
“Right now it doesn’t feel that way. I feel fast, explosive and Tony Bellew is going to have to feel the wrath of it.
“Against Klitschko, that was my chance and I failed. I believe if everything is on point, I’m healthy and have Ismael Salas training me, improving me daily, I believe I can prove I am the best in the world.
“If I prove it against Bellew, the world is my oyster.”
Haye added that his mindset was completely wrong for last year’s fight and that he had allowed himself to get involved in a war of words with Bellew, while underestimating him in the ring.
But he vowed that he had learned from his mistakes.
“Everything with Tony Bellew is negative and angry, he’s a big ball of hate and I went down into the gutter with him last time. It brought the worst of me and the worst out of me in the ring.
“I am a whole different animal now, physically, emotionally. People laugh when I say it but, spiritually, I am in a whole different zone. Last time around it was all very dark and very negative.
“This time around I’m doing my thing with my team, a nice positive vibe, having fun and not engaging in any of his negativity. You will see a positive performance on the night. They say negativity breeds negativity. I never want to go into that zone ever again.”