The fight between former heavyweight titleholder David Haye and Tyson Fury, a much-anticipated meeting of British trash talkers, has been rescheduled for Feb. 8, Haye announced Tuesday.
The fight was supposed to take place Saturday at the Phones 4u Arena in Manchester, England, but was postponed after Haye suffered a gash over his left eye during his final sparring session last Friday. Haye received six stitches to close the wound.
The fight will still take place at the Phones 4u Arena.
Immediately after Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) suffered the cut and postponed the bout, Fury (21-0, 15 KOs) and his trainer and uncle, Peter Fury, talked about calling off the fight and going in another direction.
But calmer heads prevailed, and Hayemaker Promotions and Fury promoter Mick Hennessy worked out the new date.
"News of the date in February is music to my ears," Haye said. "I was absolutely devastated this weekend, and felt as though I'd let a lot of people down. But now, with this new date, I couldn't be happier.
"My fans will still get the chance to see what they all wanted to see this weekend. They'll get to see Tyson Fury sparked out in a spectacular fashion."
Haye took heat in some quarters for sparring so close to the fight but said it was part of his plan and that the cut was just one of those things that happens.
"Sparring eight days before a fight is nothing new or unusual," Haye said. "I've done this before fights in the past and never had an issue. Also, look at the history books. George Foreman sparred and got cut eight days before his 'Rumble in the Jungle' with Muhammad Ali, causing a six-week postponement. And Sugar Ray Leonard sparred and got knocked down five days before his fight with Marvin Hagler but still managed to go on and win.
"Foreman and Leonard are two of the greatest fighters of all time, so if it was good enough for them, it's certainly good enough for little old me."
Haye also took another shot at Fury.
"Not only that, those guys were preparing to face the likes of Ali and Hagler, while I was preparing to fight Tyson Fury, a man whose greatest triumph to date is shedding a few stone on Belgium's 'Biggest Loser' fat camp," Haye said. "These things sometimes happen in training, and to suggest I decided against wearing a head-guard, or that the cut was premeditated, shows a clear lack of knowledge and understanding.
"This camp was no different to any other, aside from the fact it ended on an unlucky and sour note."
With the new date set, Haye continued his verbal assault on Fury, with whom he has traded barbs for months.
"Tyson Fury might start to get brave now that he's received a stay of execution -- and he might call me names and accuse me of ducking him -- but that will all be short-lived, I can promise you," he said. "After hearing the nonsense he has come out with in the last few days, I'm even more determined to expose him in front of millions. And only the possibility of getting another chance to land punches on his massive head and doughy gut has helped cheer me up.
"The cut will heal, the fight will happen next year, and the fans will go home happy. The only difference now is that Tyson Fury gets an even nastier beatdown than he would have received first time round. Once again, I'd like to apologize to the fans for the inconvenience caused by the postponement, and also because they will now have to endure a few more months of rubbish spewing from the mouth of Tyson Fury. I had hoped to silence him for good on Saturday night."
In the United Kingdom, the bout will still air via Sky Box Office pay-per-view. HBO had bought the American television rights for the fight on Sept. 28; there's no word yet on whether the network will still show the fight on the new date.