Bellew Brutalizes Haye

By Robert Ecksel on May 5, 2018
Bellew Brutalizes Haye
“Is this the end? It didn’t feel great in there tonight, but I don’t know.” (Photo: Sky Sports)

Saturday night at The O2, Tony Bellew stopped David Haye at 2:14 of round 5 of a scheduled 12, after going down twice in round 3 and once in the 5th…

Saturday night at the O2 Arena in Greenwich, London, United Kingdom, Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs), the hard-hitting survivor from Liverpool, Merseyside, stopped David Haye (28-4, 26 KOs), the former two-division champion from Bermondsey, London, at 2:14 of the fifth round of a scheduled 12, after going down twice in round three and once in the fifth.

Tonight’s fight was a rematch. The fighters fought 14 months earlier, also at The O2, and it was a war with casualties. Bellew broke his hand. Haye was down in rounds six and 11, after rupturing his Achilles tendon.

Haye redeemed himself that night, winning by losing and showing more courage than many thought he possessed. But it looked like it was over. The injury was too serious. He was too old at 36 for a comeback. But he returned to the ring, against all odds, a diminished but still dangerous fighter hoping to even the score and get a shot at one of Joshua’s titles.

Bellew, fighting out of blue corner in blue trunks with gold, fought about as smart a fight as a fighter can fight. He was patience personified. Composed, confident, relaxed and precise, he was willing to wait for Haye to punch himself out or for his body to betray him.

He didn’t have long to wait.

Haye, fighting out of the red corner in white trunks with Union Jack trim, fought as though his career depended on it. After a solid first round, sluggishness set it. Haye’s hands are fast but his legs are slow and he hammed it up to compensate for a lack of mobility.

With his timing off and desperation showing, Haye was swinging for the fences in the third. He threw a four-punch combination that missed and Bellew countered with a left hook that dropped Haye. He was hurt but made it to his feet, only to be dropped a second time.

Haye was saved by the bell.

Bellew was methodically walking Haye down in round four. It was a matter of time. But a lack of urgency let Haye make it through the round.

Bellew caught Haye with a big right hand two minutes into round five and down he went again. A lesser man would have stayed there. The fight was lost. But Haye beat the count again.

A flurry of Bellew’s punches drove Haye to the ropes. He was being hit with punches he didn’t see coming and could not avoid. The referee, Howard John Foster, timed it perfectly and waved off the fight in the nick of time.

“I thought I was fit enough to beat him,” said Haye after the bout, “it turns out I wasn’t, but he’s a great champion. Is this the end? It didn’t feel great in there tonight, but I don’t know. I lost to the better man, so congratulations to Tony.”

“David Haye is an amazing fighter,” Bellew said, “we just got into a slugfest. Age is a factor with his style. He goes down as a better fighter than me. But I won, against all the odds. I was willing to be finished off in this ring tonight, I’m struggling bad but I’ve done it, and that’s all that matters.”

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