WHEN Tony Bellew and David Haye faced off over a year ago in at the 02 Arena in London, Bellew who had been the massive underdog shocked everyone when he stopped the “Haymaker” on a TKO in the 11 th round of the contest.
Bellew who has 29 wins from 32 fights with two losses and a draw clashes with Haye (28-3, 26KOs) again tonight in a much anticipated grudge rematch at the same venue.
Tonight’s fight was slated for last December but was postponed due a biceps injury to Haye in training. Haye’s loss last time was not without a little controversy. He raptured his Achilles during the fight and became a one-legged boxer for the second half of the bout.
I watched that fight and kept wondering why Haye moved awkwardly on one leg to launch his attacks.
Eventually, he was stopped, after being dropped for a second time and his corner threw in the towel. After undergoing surgery for the injury this rematch was arranged for last December.
The question tonight is, will Bellew prove that he shouldn‘t have been (last time) or shouldn‘t be the underdog especially tonight because he has become far less of an underdog since his last victory?
There’s no denying the fact that Bellew does not have the talent of Haye, who dominated the cruiserweight division from 2002-08 before moving up to heavyweight.
Although a small heavyweight, Haye slayed the giant Nikolay Valuev the tallest boxer in the division and stopped John Ruiz, but lost on points to Wladmir Klitschko. This past week, Haye told SkyNews that he will hang up his gloves if he cannot deliver “a spectacular victory” tonight.
Those are telling words, “spectacular victory” and, in my opinion, are a euphemism for a KO. In fact, he hinted that he’s aiming to end it as quickly and as early as the second round, adding that he would be surprised if Bellew would be on his feet by round six.
Haye also said in their last fight, he allowed Bellew to get under his skin and fought with lots of emotion, but that going into tonight’s duel, he will be calm and composed and focus only on smashing his opponent.
Bellew a former WBC cruiserweight champion while believing in himself a little more since his last victory, recognises that he is expected to lose, but he grudgingly refuses to write himself off completely.
He told SkyNews that nothing has changed and although Haye has had an illustrious career during his hey days, he’d lose again and prove the adage that not all days are Sundays.
He said of Haye: “He’s close to the end; I’m close to another chapter.
He makes a big mistake of saying ‘enjoy your last 15 minutes of fame’, but this is not my last 15 minutes, it’s his.”
Barring any injuries to either fighter, this promises to be a bruising and brutal affair which could go either way. If this fight took place in a prime Haye’s days, Bellew would stand no chance. This time, buoyed by that first win, he could confirm the win wasn’t a fluke. But if Haye is at his best, I’m going with him.
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