By Donald “Braveheart” Stewart
“This is not a 50/50 fight. Trust me. Tony Bellew gets beat.” –Steve “Big Daddy” Bunce
Listening to Steve “Big Daddy” Bunce on my radio over the weekend cemented my own view of this match up. Of course, Bunce was similarly blunt about why it was being made, “it sells out in 5 minutes.”
Tony Bellew, 28-2-1, 18 KO’s, hates Steve Bunce; Bunce is simply not his biggest fan. But these facts do not obscure my opinion.
Tony Bellew hated Nathan Cleverley, 30-3, 16 KO’s, before going in and losing to him at light heavyweight and then taking him on and beating him at cruiserweight.
Tony Bellew hated BJ Flores, 32-3-1, 20 KO’s, and went in and took him apart in the ring before jumping out of it and threatening the same to David Haye, 28-2, 26 KO’s.
Haye was a sanguine figure and unmoved by the antics of Bellew. They both have stupid and x rated names they like to call each other like some form of playground fight but for me, the one thing that makes me squirm more than that childish nonsense is the feeling that THIS is more about the money than the sport.
Don’t get me wrong I love both boxers and would love to see each of them progress at their weights and add to their legacies. Fighting each other, right now, is to me just daft.
Tony Bellew is a figure who can cast shadows over opinions. He won his world title at his spiritual home, the home of his soccer team where he went as a child and snuck in to see the Blues, where he went as an adult and continued to worship the sporting prowess of his team.
Bellew has been in against quality including the likes of Adonis Stevenson, 28-1, 23 KO’s, and fell short. He had failed to beat Isaac Chilemba, 24-5, 10 KO’s, at the very first attempt. To be fair, there were doubts as to whether he would ever win a world title. Those doubts left the building when he took the WBC cruiserweight title.
On the other hand, David Haye beat Nikolai Valuev, 50-2, 34 KO’s, and won the WBA heavyweight belt, having completely unified the cruiserweight division. He went on to defend that belt and then lose it to Wladimir Klitschko, 64-4, 53 KO’s, in a fight that was as much of an anti-climax for many of us as the defense he had with Audley Harrison, 31-7, 23 KO’s. Haye retired. Haye then returned. His box office potential has never left him and now we are looking at just how valuable a commodity he actually is as he has promoted himself, being trained by Shaun McGuigan and beat a couple of guys with far from impressive pedigrees but sold the fights impressively to Spike TV in the UK.
Can you see the difference in pedigree?
Let me just tease out the issues for both and what happens in each scenario.
Haye wins and Bellew loses…
Haye goes on to use this as a fight that cements his reputation as a world level fighter and it keeps him busy before a world title fight. As a keep busy fight it makes him a shed load of money. Bellew losing means he goes back to defend his cruiserweight title.
Bellew wins and Haye loses…
Bellew returns to defend his cruiserweight title and Haye finds ANY match against ANY heavyweight hard to make. Of course, nothing in life is impossible but the issue would be that he could not legitimately, having been beaten by a cruiserweight, get a chance against a Joshua, a Wilder or even a Parker. His career would be stuck in a very big side street.
Bellew wins. Haye must win and win convincingly to put this to bed and move on – anything else and it looks bad for him. Of course, a rematch would also make a massive amount of money for both fighters but Bellew would then probably have to give up his title to make that happen.
Both are punchers. Haye is, for me the quicker. Haye is the more experienced at this level though Bellew has boxed more professional rounds.
There is clearly an issue between them and it might relate to a sparring session where Bellew and his pal, David Price, 21-3, 18 KO’s, took on Haye and beat him in sparring. Bellew has referred to this constantly but Haye appears very laid back about it. It was years ago and lots of things have happened since.
Haye has chased fights before – with the Klitschko’s, and also ended up in fights after brawling – like against Derrick Chisora, 26-6, 18 KO’s – whilst he is being chased – even still – by Shannon Briggs, 60-6-1, 53 KO’s, and now he has Bellew having chased and harried his way to a deal to fight in 2017.
I don’t reckon it lasts longer than 2 or 3 rounds and Haye walks away with the plaudits. It’s a mismatch and even though Haye has not got any quality wins since returning it is one he shall walk away with ease as Steve Bunce would say, “Trust me on this one.”Contact the Feature Writers