A heavyweight clash is always a grand event; a huge spectacle. But this fight has added impetus, built on the fact there’s genuine hate between the two fighters. A distaste shown perfectly when Tony Bellew defeated BJ Flores, and the first thing he did was turn to David Haye to call the Londoner out; the fighter had barely lift his arm in celebration.
Of course, Haye duly obliged; with Eddie-I’ve-got-my-fingers-in-all-pies-Hearn playing the architect in creating the fight, the English pair will be competing for Bellew’s WBC title.
The rivalry goes back to a sparing bout between Haye against Bellew, and David Price in 2005. Haye was in preparation to fight Mark Hobson, and needed a warm-up against fellow opposition, both Bellew and Price fitted the bill. However, the Londoner took things too far by unnecessarily taking out Bellew with a right-hand uppercut.
“I tried to show him respect, and I got hit with an uppercut, one of the hardest punches I’ve ever been hit with in my life, clean on the button, and my back leg kicked out from under me.I don’t know why he did it, still to this day. I’m standing there, he hit me and for no reason”.
This was just the start of the clash. Bellew’s pal, Price, then steps into the ring, and does what Haye did to Bellew a few minutes before. Haye seems as shaken as anything, and has to pull out of his fight a few days later against Mark Hobson, citing an injury.
The truth is, the fighters probably didn’t expect such a rivalry to continue 12 years down the line.
— Strictly Boxing Fans (@BoxingBritain1) February 27, 2017
This genuine hate towards each other seems to have even shocked the boxing world, and that’s saying something for a sport which has become immune to insults due to their regularity. The pair have already been warned by the British Boxing Board for what they’ve called “very disappointing comments” towards one another.
With Haye weighing in at nearly a stone heavier than his Liverpudlian opponent, and boasting a more impressive boxing CV – defeating the likes of Nikolai Valuev and Audley Harrison – people are expecting the London fighter to knockout Bellew within three rounds.
However, serious shoulder surgery on Haye will limit his abilities, as he’s not been in a proper fight in nearly five years, with the last one dating back to his defeat of Derek Chisora in 2012. Haye’s had just three rounds in two fights since then, so stamina and resilience could be tested against the Bomber.
Plus, the pair have had slightly different training camps with Haye sipping margaritas on a beach, and sunning himself on yachts in the caribbean. Saturday will be an interesting one, and we think they’ll be an upset with Bellew taking victory after the ninth round.
Never mind Haye or Bellew, you wouldn’t want to be in a ring with these female WWE fighters…