London (AFP) - Former world heavyweight champion David Haye resorted to expletives and raising his middle finger to supporters of Tony Bellew his opponent next Saturday at a press conference in the latter's home town of Liverpool.
The 36-year-old -- who swung a punch at cruiserweight world champion Bellew at their previous press conference which prompted organisers of Monday's event to hire two hefty security men to stand between them -- reacted angrily when he was greeted with foul-mouthed abuse from the partisan crowd.
Haye and Bellew are to meet in a heavyweight bout which sees the latter moving up a weight for the second time in four years.
Haye, who held the WBA world title belt from 2009 to 2011, gave as good as as he got before raising his middle finger.
"I'm really happy you've all come out," said Haye, who returned to the ring in 2015 after a hiatus of over three years.
"Bet all the money you have. Each and every one of you should bet on Bellew to win the fight. You know your fighter is going to get drilled.
"When he comes back to Liverpool, be there for him, because he's going to need you," added Haye, who entered through a different door to Bellew.
Bellew, who prior to winning his world title last year acted in the Academy Award nominated boxing movie Creed, said he was due to fight a pugilist who was a shadow of the boxer he once was.
"I am going in with a man who was absolutely fantastic," said Bellew, who sparked the dispute when he belittled the watching Haye after winning his title.
"When he was in his prime, an immense athlete -- but the tank is very, very low and it does not last very long.
"When the gas runs out, the big fat Scouser is going to steam through him," added the 34-year-old.
They exchanged pleasantries with Bellew saying, "I'm the younger, hungrier fighter. You are a broken man." Haye retorted: "The only broken man is going to be you on the canvas."
Both have almost identical records with Bellew having 28 wins and one draw with just two defeats in his 31 bouts and Haye boasting the same number of wins from 30 contests.