The first fight played out like something from a Rocky script, with both men dragging their battered bodies through a fascinating 11-round war last year. British fight fans are looking forward to the repeat when Bellew – Haye II takes place on May 5th.
London’s 02 Arena again provides the backdrop as we return to the scene of the crime where Tony Bellew stopped David Haye in the latter stages of their March 2017 dust-up despite ducking between the ropes a rank outsider with bookmakers.
It seems traders haven’t learned their lesson and despite Bellew being only the second man to KO The Hayemaker – Carl Thompson the other back in 2004 – the fighting pride of Liverpool finds himself a convincing second favorite.
Underdog unbeaten in nine
That victory stretched the 35-year-old’s professional record to 29-2-1 with 19 of those wins coming inside the distance. The 6ft 3inch orthodox, who usually campaigns at cruiserweight, could have pushed for a shot at one of the big boys in the heavyweight division on the back of that upset but chose to finish the job and beat Haye for a second time. Such a result would surely push the brash Londoner into retirement.
On paper, The Bomber arrives in London on the back of a stunning nine-fight unbeaten run with his last loss vs Adonis Stevenson in Canada over four years ago. Since that reverse – only the second of his career – his purple patch includes wins over Welshman Nathan Cleverly and African contender Ilunga Makabu, the latter a third-round TKO at his beloved Goodison Park.
Despite an extended run of knockouts and victory over the same opponent in his last start punters will find the repeat priced at 2/1 at William Hill. Another KO/TKO will catch the attention of value hunters with a hard-hitting 7/2, deemed more likely than the points cheer at 6/1.
Haye approaching end of his career
David Haye has moved into the world of promoting and has been doing a good job of it so far with several of his shows staged at major UK boxing venues shown live on TV. He has been trusted to guide the career of promising heavyweight Joe Joyce, as The Hayemaker prepares for life after boxing, all too aware his career is nearing an end.
Despite bad-mouthing Bellew at every corner in the run-up to their first fight, Haye was forced to eat humble pie and go cap-in-hand to the victor, begging for a chance to set the record straight with a rematch. The Londoner was a former undisputed king of the cruiserweight division – many casual boxing fans forget that – but the stats don’t lie and he has lost two of his last five, with Bellew and Wladimir Klitscko responsible.
Followers of Haye’s career, both fans and critics, believe the 38-year-old is well past his best and doing himself or his legacy no good by carrying on. It’s difficult to argue against that stance as two of his last three opponents have been also-rans and he has boxed only three times in six years. That inactivity, as well as recurring injury problems, will see him beaten again in May. A sad way to bow out for a former great of the game.