Haye calls for barrier to keep Bellew out of 'striking distance'

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David Haye has called for a glass, steel or alternative barrier to keep him out of striking distance of Tony Bellew in the build-up to their fight in London next Saturday.

The British heavyweights have been warned about their conduct ahead of the eagerly anticipated bout at the O2 Arena after Haye threw a punch at his compatriot during a press conference in November.

With another media gathering to attend in Bellew's hometown of Liverpool next Monday and the weigh-in to come four days later, Haye is concerned a repeat of the unsavoury scenes three months ago could result in the fight being cancelled.

"He's not quick enough to hit me, that's the thing, even if he tried," said Haye, a former two-weight world champion.

"He tried to do that at the first press conference and before he could get his arms out, he already got hit. He didn't see it coming, didn't know what happened - and that's what's going to happen on fight night.

"I'm going to make sure that he's not in any way going to get within striking distance.

"Glass, steel - whatever it is - I don't need him there. When tensions are high, when guys are scared they do crazy things. There needs to be some protection between us.

"It worked for Dereck [Chisora] and me, although I'm not sure that's a great look for the sport of boxing.

"Having a bunch of security guys between us looks a bit messy. I'd love to have confidence that he'll keep his hands to himself, but I don't have any confidence in his mental state.

"I think it would be very irresponsible of both of our teams if we were in striking distance of each other. Hopefully there will be some sort of precautions put in place so that doesn't happen."

The Londoner added: "Verbally, he can say what he wants from across the room or a few metres away. He is in good shape now and he has trained hard, he is on edge. When he sees me, he will want to get his paws on me. I get it, I understand it. I've seen people like that.

"But it would be an absolute nightmare [if the fight was cancelled]. Imagine both of us being in great shape, both of us ready to fight then he pushes me and I react and then it is messy."