Haye can win but needs staying power
Don King in a duffle coat in a provincial German shopping mall. You could almost see it in his hair: "Where in the name of Muhammad Ali did it all go wrong?"
In common with television chef Gary Rhodes, King appears to be lowering the voltage in tiny increments, labouring under the misapprehension that the general public won't notice. One day the shaven-headed promoter will kick back in King Towers, spark up a monster stogie and say to himself, "you know what Don, I think you got away with it".
Nuremberg may be a long way from Kinshasa, Zaire, where King made his name masterminding "The Rumble in the Jungle", or indeed Las Vegas, but never let it be said that the Germans don't love their boxing.
Saturday's world heavyweight showdown between WBA champion Nikolay Valuev of Russia and London's David Haye will be shown on ARD, Germany's equivalent of the BBC. Not a German fighter in sight, ARD is still expecting a 40% audience share.
The crowds flocked to the Mercado shopping mall to gawk in disbelief at the chiselled, marbled David next to this woolly-backed Goliath. They sniggered, they marvelled, but most of all they wondered: "How's this little British fella going to beat this big Russian giant?"
Don King (centre) takes centre stage with Valuev and Haye at the weigh-in
That's the question Haye reckons everyone will be asking back home too. And judging by the texts and tweets I've been receiving over the past few days, he's bang on the money.
Others have already made up their minds, piling their cash on Haye to the extent he's a 4-7 favourite. But then British fight fans have a habit of letting their hearts rule their heads.
Still, many wise boxing men believe the little British fella can beat the Russian giant, although their opinions are littered with 'ifs'. And as a wise old boxer once told me, "if 'ifs' were a drug, all us fighters would be high as kites".
"If he's aggressive," says Evander Holyfield, who dropped a controversial decision against Valuev last year, "if Haye keeps moving, keeps moving, keeps moving..."
"If Haye moves around and throws a lot of punches," says John Ruiz, who has dropped two controversial decisions against Valuev in the past, "if he can do that he's got a chance."
"If Haye can make Valuev move," says British heavyweight legend Sir Henry Cooper, "you're moving 22st around, and heavy guys don't like moving, then David's got a chance."
"If he can keep moving, keep moving, Valuev can't catch what he can't find," says Britain's last heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis.
Keep moving, keep moving, keep moving. So many fine boxers can't be wrong. Unfortunately for Haye, it's only part of the equation.
If you think of Valuev as a barge, being slowly manoeuvred this way then that, then you also have to factor in his barge-pole of a jab. "How can you not be strong and be that big," says Holyfield, "and when you get hit by that big, long stick..." Holyfield declined to finish the sentence.
"He's got very long arms," says Haye, "and a very large, awkward educated jab which is hard to get round. He throws punches from so far away, when you do slip it you're still out of range. So you've got to work twice as hard to get in and land your own shots."
If Haye can get inside "that big, long stick", the next part of the equation is to let go with some bombs and get back out again before much damage is done. For having a 23st man crashing down on top of you like a colossal wave is going to shatter your stamina.
Haye's staying power, and whiskers, have long been the source of suspicion, ever since a 40-year-old Carl Thompson dragged him out to sea and drowned him in the fifth round of their contest five years ago.
In 23 professional fights, the 29-year-old Haye has only been 12 rounds once, while 19 of his encounters, most of them at cruiserweight, have lasted less than six.
Obscure Dane Lolenga Mock floored Haye in 2003, and he's a career super-middleweight. Jean Marc Mormeck had Haye down again in 2007 before Haye peeled himself off the canvas to claim the undisputed cruiserweight crown. And Monte Barrett also had him down in Haye's last fight, almost a year ago.
Fans of Haye will have to hope he has learned his lessons and that all the pre-fight bluster about going in with his spurs jingle-jangling and trying to knock Valuev out has been just that - bluster. For despite his size, no-one's ever questioned Valuev's stamina, just as no-one's ever questioned his chin.
Everyone seems to be in agreement: the little man has the technical tools to do a job on the giant. But you know what they say about a tired man working with tools: it can be very, very dangerous.