Tony Bellew can beat David Haye
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He’s being increasingly written off, but Tony Bellew will present a big threat to the former world champion come March 4th. He’s a current world champion himself after all…
Haye is currently quite a dramatic shade of odds-on with bookmakers, at around 1/7 on. A Bellew win is currently back-able at 9/2.
The bookies clearly expect a victory for ‘the Hayemaker’ and Haye himself is already talking up a future fight with Anthony Joshua, but a failure to concentrate on the task in hand could be fatal for his efforts.
Pundits have also talked up Haye’s chances and Bellew sportingly noted Haye’s star quality: “For the first four rounds he’s as good as any heavyweight on the planet… David Haye’s the quickest single punching heavyweight on the planet,” Bellew told Sky Sports, adding the caveat that “he ain’t quicker than some of the cruiserweights I’ve faced”.
Speed and quality aside Bellew, of course, maintains that he can beat Haye. He claims the Londoner is past his best and argues “I’m facing a David Haye who’s not fighting because he wants to, he’s fighting because he has to”. That angle seems a pertinent one given that David Haye, now aged 36, seemingly wanted to retire from boxing at 30.
The real reason that the market confidence and pundit confidence in Haye is misplaced is that we have no indication that he can still perform at the level he used to.
David Haye has only fought twice since 2012. That’s important and it’s a fact that’s going underappreciated by many of David Haye’s backers. Also important is the fact those fights came against complete unknowns.
Arnold Gjergjaj and Mark de Mori failed to offer Haye any sort of meaningful ring experience after his 2016 comeback. They both have hefty records on paper but have fought low level opposition and both had absolutely nothing to bring to the table in a fight with Haye. De Mori was knocked out in two minutes and while Gjergjaj at least made the second round, his showing was no better.
Conversely Tony Bellew has been fighting decent opponents, albeit at cruiserweight, and even pulling himself off the canvas on the way to big wins. He’s shown determination, character, persistence and power, whereas Haye hasn’t been tested in years.
Yes - Tony Bellew is moving up from cruiserweight to heavyweight and that isn’t ideal for him, but David Haye is a small heavyweight to begin with. Both fighters are 6ft3 though the Londoner has a reach advantage.
The most common argument for Bellew’s chance has been that he’ll have to duck and dive for the first three or four rounds as Haye will go all out to end the fight early. Bellew’s not short on power himself though, with 18 of his 28 wins coming by knockout, and could pose too large a threat for a brawling all-guns-blazing assault in the early rounds.
Overall Haye’s reach and speed will be tricky for Bellew but not insurmountable. Haye’s complete lack of recent, valuable ring experience could turn out to be telling come March 4th. To reiterate one crucial and much overlooked fact - Haye hasn’t fought a real opponent since he took on Dereck Chisora in 2012. As a result we really don’t know what sort of ‘Hayemaker’ will step into the ring with Tony Bellew but his chances have been dramatically over-exaggerated.