Tony Bellew has warned David Haye he will not hesitate to hit out should he feel provoked when the two Britons face off again prior to their heavyweight bout.
A news conference to promote the fight three months ago turned ugly when Haye appeared to aim a punch at Bellew after being shoved by the Liverpudlian as the two met head-to-head, and a repeat of such scenes in the build up to their March 4 meeting could scupper their chances of even arriving in the ring.
Haye -- who denied hitting Bellew on that occasion -- has previously been involved in a violent altercation at a news conference with Dereck Chisora in 2012 while Bellew has previously butted heads with Adonis Stevenson at a weigh-in.
And the possibility of another pre-fight punch up is something Bellew has not ruled out should Haye attempt to draw his ire.
"Listen, if he gets close to me and twitches in any way, I'll be the first one to smack his f------ face," Bellew said.
"If he gets close to me, I don't care about nothing. My first rule of boxing is to get home safe. If he wants to put that in jeopardy away from the ring, that's what will happen.
"So it's down to [promoter] Eddie [Hearn] to put something in place, not me. If he steps towards me and twitches in any way...
"I pushed him the first time because I've never hit anyone at a press conference. I've butted someone, but he butted me first.
"I've never struck anyone yet, but I will not be second this time. He's 1-0 up at the minute. That's how I look at it. He got the cheap shot in. If he steps towards me again, trust me, I will be first.
"He hit me on the side of my head with his knuckles and this t--- is still going on that he just slapped me.
"The thing with David is he can't deal with the fact I'm unpredictable. He lives in a bubble, he lives in a dream world.
"It was a punch and a p---- of a punch. We've got plans for him on Monday. He's coming to my backyard. It will be tasty.
"I'm sending my kids on holiday on Sunday. They're not going to be here for fight week because something like that could go off and I don't want them seeing that."
The bad blood between the pair originated before they clashed in November, with security separating them at ringside after Bellew defended his WBC World Cruiserweight title against BJ Flores in October.
Haye's claim he will hospitalise his 34-year-old opponent has also not sat well with Bellew, who has been preparing for their fight at the O2 in London in South Yorkshire while his rival has been training in Miami.
Bellew admits that while he harbours respect for a fighter who was once a world champion at cruiserweight too, there is a fervent dislike for the 36-year-old's personality.
"He has no morals, he has no respect for anyone," he added.
"He's a fame-hungry helmet. All he cares about is himself. He's the most selfish man on the planet.
"If we just talk about him as a fighter, he's f------ brilliant. As a person, he's a piece of s---."