For fight fans, it is always intriguing when an upcoming bout has a touch of needle and bad blood to it, and that is exactly what we can expect when David Haye and Tony Bellew lock horns at Wembley Arena on Saturday.
Unfortunately, the level of aggravation has boiled over already with punches thrown in a press conference and some rather distasteful comments from Haye, who has vowed to hospitalise his opponent, and so a brawl is expected in front of a raucous London crowd. That would play into Bellew’s hands….as long as he can control his infamous temper.
Both men have moved up through the weights to their current heavyweight status and while Haye has plenty of experience at the heavier mark this will be the Merseysider’s first contest at the weight, and having been knocked down at light heavy and cruiserweight in the past you do wonder whether Bellew will have the chin to survive an onslaught from the Hayemaker. His heart is not question, but when the legs go there’s not much that can be done.
Haye is as short as 1/7 with some bookmakers, so is this fight a foregone conclusion?
You don’t need to be a boxing pundit of any note to predict that this one isn’t going to go the distance. Only two of David Haye’s last eleven fights have gone to the judges’ cards, and those were against the giant Nikolai Valuev and the supreme Wladimir Klitschko. Other than that, his last nine opponents have enjoyed some nap time on the canvas courtesy of Haye’s explosive right hand.
Mind you, six of Bellew’s eight wins at the cruiserweight level have come via knockout, so his punch power has increased exponentially as he has gone through the weights. Will that trend continue at 210lb?
Also, we look at Haye’s CV and note he has been in with some proven performers….but not for a long time. The bomber from Bermondsey fought Klitschko in his adopted German homeland – respect for that – but since then his record reads Dereck Chisora and two guys whom he is said to have found on the internet. A the heavyweight mark, Haye has only ever fought one man with genuine quality.
Bellew has two losses on his record at light heavyweight, and while the points defeat to Nathan Cleverley was questionable there can be no doubt about the ending to his bout with Adonis Stevenson: the Canadian, a noted power puncher, laid Bellew down in the sixth in convincing fashion.
Stevenson is a brilliant technician and a hard-hitter, but at light heavyweight he is a lot smaller than Haye. What happens if he lands cleanly on Bellew’s chin? The answer to that is unanimous enough.
The only conceivable way that Bellew has of winning this fight is landing a big blow on Haye’s chin. The Londoner has been put down on the canvas before but that was more than ten years ago, and even as the larger man he will enjoy the advantages of being quicker and a better technical fighter.
If the fight lasts 12 rounds, you really do wonder what state both of these men will be left in.
Boxing is an unpredictable sport at the best of times, but the assumption is that Haye will win this fight and win it well. Bellew was dropped to the mat in the opening round of his cruiserweight contest with Ilunga Makabu, and Haye is capable of greater pyrotechnics than the Congolese.
So Haye to win in rounds 1-6 looks the smart bet at 8/11, and for punters looking to massage their value yet further we would recommend Haye to triumph in rounds 4-6 at 5/2. Bellew’s courage is likely to be broken at this point.