Questions Answered: Haye vs. Bellew
The only questions seemed to be, how long would it last and could Bellew land anything meaningful before he was stopped?
Usually in boxing the questions and intrigue all come before the actual event. The questions that come after a fight all tend to be about what is next. After the David Haye and Tony Bellew clash from the weekend, we have created more questions than we began with. Before the fight the outcome seemed to be agreed upon by almost every boxing commentator and tipsters. The only people who seemed to believe in Tony Bellew were his team and some boxers, who often pick people they have trained with or simply prefer. When oddsmakers enhanced the odds on Haye to win by stoppage in rounds 1-6 it felt like everyone had money on it. The only questions seemed to be, how long would it last and could Bellew land anything meaningful before he was stopped? Bellew lasted as long as he needed and definitely landed meaningful shots to stop Haye in the eleventh! In the aftermath many more questions emerged, let’s look at some of the answers here.
Was this a good fight?
Another fairly common question after bouts, I have seen this debated. Boxing is also personal interpretation and I hated it. Haye was seemingly winging wild shots with no set up in an attempt to end it early. This neither managed to appeal as a back and forth fight where both appeared in danger ala Breazeale vs. Ugonoh the weekend prior or Chisora vs. Whyte or a tactical affair in which both boxers demonstrated skills such as in a Pulev or Ortiz fight. Not for me, I’m afraid.
Would David Haye have won without the Achilles injury?
It was the sixth round where Haye injured his Achilles. At this point I imagine Haye was leading 3-2 on the scorecards. Haye probably also won the ninth but saw the rest of the rounds go to Bellew including a 10-8 rounds. He was a heavy favorite at the point where his Achilles went. When speaking about the fight beforehand, I did suggest if Bellew survived the early rounds he would win and I have to agree with that here. Haye was only deteriorating when the injury occurred and I think Bellew could continue picking up the rounds to take a decision.
What state is/was the body of Haye in?
I heard rumblings that his shoulders and back were both in a horrible state prior to the fight. He may have claimed to be in great shape prefight but the impression I got was that he was favoring some injuries. He spent a lot of time leading with a left hook or a jab to the body. Both of these make you suspect he was already feeling the right ankle and he was throwing punches to put less emphasis on it. He also seemed to stop throwing right hands which also suggests that he was struggling with his shoulder.
So will we see David Haye in a boxing ring again?
The answer has to be probably. Carl Froch pretty much confirmed after the bout another strong rumor, that Haye has not looked after his money like he should have. Reportedly earning over £4 million for this fight would no doubt set him up for the future if he wanted to. For a man who whose body is falling apart and is unlikely to add to his legacy, that should be the end. However, Haye clearly enjoys a lavish lifestyle that he must want to continue. Do fights like Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj make him money? They both seemed to bring in around £500,000. I would guess that Haye will look for a couple of fights like that and then try to engage a bigger fight that will set him up for the rest of his life.
Who could he fight?
Tony Bellew is an obvious answer given the first question in this article. Bellew has a greater range of options that I will come to later. Shannon Briggs is competing for some version of the WBA title soon and win or lose he may chase a Haye fight that will surely provide more interest than his bout with Oquendo has. I was telling anyone who listened beforehand that Haye’s target and eventual swan song would come against Anthony Joshua. While that option seems further away than ever, if Joshua is shocked by Klitschko, it would be a possible bout. Dillian Whyte has a Bellew-like ability to seemingly create a grudge for every fight he has and would probably sell. The fight being made perhaps depends on whether Whyte thinks Haye has the reward worth the risk he would be taking. Neither Hughie nor Tyson Fury would be interested in a Haye fight whilst a rejuvenated Chisora could well aim for a path that does not involve Haye. The final domestic option for Haye would be David Price, although his credibility may have finally eroded after his loss last time out.
Will the public fall for the David Haye shtick again?
I vowed after the Audley Harrison bout that I would never pay for a Haye bout on pay-per-view ever again. I have stuck to that since and have not really been interested in any of his prefight talk since a similar time. It has always been about selling the fights and creating controversy. After the fights he admits as much. David Haye crosses the line between showing respect for an opponent and exposing the prefight hype as purely that. It has taken enjoyment out of his actions and talk that I may otherwise quite enjoy. It works, there was a reason this was the highest profile fight in the career of Bellew. Haye draws far more interest than deserving domestic boxers in my opinion. You should always enjoy a fighter doing well in this sport which is tough and over far too quickly. With that in mind though, it is a shame that people like Callum Smith and Terry Flanagan will never achieve his fame, popularity or riches. The British public has fallen for his hype so many times in the past that I see the next ‘big’ fight he is in being no different.
Where does this leave the legacy of Haye?
The most interesting question regarding Haye for me is this. When he left the cruiserweight division he was called an all-time great at the weight. In hindsight his case looks less strong. He had two title fights defeating Mormeck and Maccarinelli. Neither looks good given the benefit of hindsight. Mormeck has an average résumé while Enzo was stopped by most decent cruiserweights at the time. Both domestic legend Johnny Nelson and even contemporary rival Marco Huck look more impressive. At heavyweight his best win was Valuev surrounded by wins over poor opposition with losses to Klitschko and Bellew. His record will be reflected upon purely with the performances and general theater of a Haye bout probably supporting his claims of greatness.
Has Tony Bellew developed a chin?
Probably not. Stevenson stopped him at light heavyweight while Makabu dropped him in a big way at cruiserweight. He probably benefited from the seeming inability of Haye to set up his big punches. He was telegraphing the big left hooks rather than attacking straight down the middle which Bellew struggles to defend more.
What does Tony Bellew do next?
The latest buzz seems to be about him retiring. I would be shocked if Bellew chose that, despite his multiple million payday. He will surely believe this is a springboard to another payday and more legacy wins. He can fight with the freedom of being able to retire and be financially stable whenever he begins to deteriorate. Ladbrokes opened the market on his next opponent and no cruiserweight makes the top five. If he does return expect either a unification with Lebedev or the winner of Huck vs. Breidis in an intriguing bout. The likeliest scenario seems to be he remains at heavyweight. He will be ranked high with the WBO given a win over David Haye which could lead to a title shot at Joseph Parker if he defeats Hughie Fury. The team of Parker has confirmed it would be a fight he would be interested in, a move also done by the Wilder camp, who Bellew called out. A Haye rematch given the ambiguous ending could happen but Bellew has alluded to holding all the power in those negotiations and I find a deal unlikely in those circumstances. Whyte and Ortiz are also short odds but I find those fights both difficult to see. I reckon it comes down to Wilder or Parker?
How do we rate Bellew as a heavyweight?
It depends on how highly a Haye win is valued right now. I thought Haye looked poor, so despite BoxRec making him the number two in the division, I think Bellew is probably outside the top ten. His major attribute at the weight could be his work rate. He also should have a speed advantage over some heavyweights. His lack of power (he struggled to stop a one-legged man) and possibly worrisome chin also show he is in no way a certainty to succeed.
Whatever happens for the rest of his career, Tony Bellew and his team deserve a huge amount of credit for this fight and its execution. Whatever you think of Bellew it is also heartwarming the way he speaks of doing this for his children. I do wonder if the antics prior to seemingly every bout will be tempered now he has had the massive payday that was surely the desired effect.
• Ohara Davies is always mentioned in my ‘soon could be in the British Pound for Pound’ section for a good reason. He is a great fighter to watch and the win over a difficult Scarpa was potentially underrated. He executed superbly to finish Derry Matthews. His attitude in the buildup strikes as someone who spent too long watching Mayweather. That is perfectly fine. He believes no one respected him on the come up, he is finally proving them wrong. Tyrone Nurse, Tommy Coyle, Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall all could have massive fights against one another, not to mention Ricky Burns who is looking to unify the world titles soon. For the record, Josh Taylor is my favorite. Predicting the next opponent is always hard for prospects but I would love to see a domestic clash, a clash with Anthony Yigit or maybe a big name who is towards the end of their career such as Humberto Soto.
• What a career Derry Matthews had. Never quite reached world level but for a 25 fight stretch was capable of entertaining British crowds and having close fights that intrigued and excited.
• What a wonderful story Sam Eggington is. It was only when I realized he was only 23 that I really begun to think of him as a prospect. Shame he is one of the deepest divisions in boxing. A Skeete rematch really appeals
• It is bad that I am happy Paulie Malignaggi has retired. It means we get to hear the best analyst in the game more often. That has to be a win. If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Malignaggi speaking about boxing then you are in for a treat. It says a lot about him that I thought he would win this weekend because when you look at who has beat him, it is truly the very best. Good omens for Sam Eggington perhaps. Another big what if, is how good would his career have been if he had the power of a Ricky Hatton?
• Katie Taylor looked impressive. I always find prospects quite difficult to enjoy between the third fight and their first real step up to a good level. Let’s hope that is soon for Taylor.
• I cannot wait for Lee Selby to be in a marquee bout
• Great to see Cheeseman in a difficult bout. It does worry me a little, as I assumed he would be far too classy for Sellars. I wonder if Ben Hall could be a bout for Cheeseman soon
• David Allen is fun, would be a good test for Nick Webb