BEFORE we look at the David Haye v Tony Bellew fight from a punting perspective, it’s worth acknowledging the important role of two men in making this a BIG money bout.
Those two men are Tony Bellew and Eddie Hearn.
Bellew’s career earnings as a boxer far outstrip his boxing ability.
That’s no disrespect to Bellew, who is a world class operator.
Bellew’s bigger talent lies in his innate ability to pick an opponent, inniate a feud and then allow Hearn to package it, present it – and get us to pay for it.
Bellew has been involved in two money spinning Pay-Per-View fights and he’ll be getting paid handsomely again on Saturday.
Let’s not forget he somehow managed to create an unlikely rivalry with Nathan Cleverly.
Their first fight was pretty non-eventful. Bellew, a late replacement for Jürgen Brähmer, was pretty much dead at the weight, and lost a fairly forgettable contest.
There seemed little appetite for a rematch, yet strangely one was made three years later. Even stranger was the fact that with no title on the line, it was made into a PPV offering.
Why did people pay to watch that contest?
More pertinently, why did I pay to watch that contest?
The fight was so bad it had everyone reminiscing fondly about Bellew’s two soporific bouts with Isaac Chilemba.
Haye, a dominant Crusierweight and legitimate Heavyweight champion, has long held a high profile. Like Bellew, he’s never been shy when it comes to creating hype around an event.
Bellew spotted the money in a potential domestic bust up – and Haye saw easy pickings.
Thus a match was made.
The fact that Haye hadn’t fought for the best part of five years and that Bellew had never campaigned at heavyweight before, didn’t stop Eddie Hearn serving up another PPV, with both fighters hissing and snarling in all the right places in the build up.
The Hayemaker was last seen in earnest stopping Dereck Chisora in an entertaining fight at Upton Park in 2012.
Well, that’s not strictly true, Haye did have two ‘fights’ in 2016 with two hand-picked opponents, Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergiaj, both were fittingly broadcast on the Comedy Channel, Dave.
Both opponents, hopelessly over matched, lasted a combined total of three minutes, in what was effectively a one-sided beatdown.
Okay, so to this weekend’s fight – will it be REPEAT (Haye rupturing his Achilles’ tendon again) or REVENGE?
Bellew’s shock victory in the first fight has at least provided punters a decent price about Haye avenging that defeat – and I’ll be amazed if he doesn’t.
Perhaps, ‘amazed’ is the wrong choice of wording.. Haye’s body, although looking aesthetically pleasing, appears to be crumbing under him.
His chin will be fine in this fight, whether his shoulder, bicep, Achilles’ or any other body part holds up, well, nobody knows for sure.
There is a danger Haye suffers another sort of bodily malfunction during the bout, but I’m prepared to take that risk. He was able to compete on one leg for a good five rounds. and had won the first five rounds of the first fight, despite looking as bad as he’s ever been.
If you look at Haye’s legs in the first fight you will notice his calf muscles were virtually non-existent.
This tells me he was carrying an injury going into the fight. There is no way he could have put in any serious amount of running or skipping in camp. Those are the two core exercises for any boxer.
I wonder how much sparring he’d undergone because in the first five rounds, on two functioning legs, his typical strengths – speed, timing and movement were beyond rusty.
In fact, he looked horrendous. He looked a shadow of the fighter he once was and there is a reason for that.
He is a shadow of the fighter he once was.
If Haye beats Bellew he’ll be looking for one final payday. I’m not sure that would be a good idea. Against a young legitimate heavyweight I fear things won’t end well.
There’s no doubt Haye underestimated Bellew’s speed and movement in the first fight.
The Hayemaker mistakenly believed he’d turn up and blow Bellew away. Haye showed no regard for his opponent.
I expect Haye to get back to the basic fundamentals this time round. Box behind the jab, look for openings, and be patient. By his own admission Haye fought angry in the first fight and looked like a novice.
The hiring of trainer Ismael Salas looks a shrewd move. The Cuban master has trained 19 World Champions and will no doubt have reminded Haye of the boxing ability he’s always possessed..
I firmly believe Haye will connect cleanly at some point and when he does the fight is done and dusted.
Bellew’s been floored by light heavweights (Ovil Mckenzie and Adonis Stevenson) and at Cruiserweight he was dropped by Makubu.
Haye still hits hard, way harder than any of those guys. If he connects with Bellew on the button. the fight and the night is over.
Haye won’t be anywhere near as bad as he was in the first fight, and assuming he has both legs functioning for the whole fight, he will connect.
I still think, but for the leg injury, as badly as he performed, Haye would still have knocked out Bellew in the second half of the contest.
On the fixed odds 4-5 for Haye to win by way of KO, TKO or disqualification is more than fair price.
On the Spreads I will be buying Haye at 32.5 with Spreadex.
The market makes up at 50 for Haye to win by by way of KO, TKO or disqualification.
The market is 25 for the draw and 0 if he loses. As ever, only bet what you can afford.
Also, on the undercard I’m surprised Jamie Cox is the bookies’ underdog against John Ryder. I have Cox winning that one.
Both are all actoin fighters who like to trade. I’ll be surprised if it goes the distance.