Today, we saw the first head to head between David Haye and Tony Bellew since their fight was officially scheduled for 4th March 2017. The media only press conference held in London did not let boxing fans down in terms of flair and anticipation for what I think is one of the biggest mismatches in recent years.
Tony Bellew has throughout his career been a controversial character, always talking a good fight and not holding back. I think that because of his presence and loud mouth nature, Bellew has become a figure and a champion that many people never thought he would become maybe 4/5 years ago. He was mocking Haye for his fights on the “comedy show” and talking about his own achievements such as his acting role in Creed. But lets face it if he wasn’t such a outspoken character and an Everton fan, would fellow Everton fan Sylvester Stallone have recommended him for the role in the first place. Also, his statements about Haye’s previous two bouts made me think about what thrillers Bellew has actually been in in the past and something that come to mind was Eddie Hearn talking before Bellew’s World Title fight with Ilunga Makabu about the awkward situation he had after Bellew Vs Cleverly II when the latter asked the fans if they wanted to see a rematch after a very poor showing from both men.
Both Haye and Bellew have been or are World Champions and will carry that title for the rest of their lives but Haye in my opinion is one of the best heavyweights the UK has produced and for many years was one of the top fighters in the country until his loss to Klitsckho. He was also undisputed cruiserweight champion of the world and when growing up myself he was always an exciting fighter to watch and increased my interest in boxing. Haye has lost a lot of respect of boxing fans due to the Klitsckho fight and his last two shows on ‘Dave’, that were poor value for viewers but he still had a full house for both the fights and vowed to work his way to bigger fights.
I enjoyed the press conference today, the fight has given us that combination of personalities between the two fighters that has sold out the O2 Arena within seconds and will bring in big PPV numbers for both Hayemaker and Matchroom. However, I do agree with Haye to an extent when he described Matchroom/Sky Sports promotions in the past as the “Eddie Hearn Show”. Hearn does like the attention and being very involved in his fighters careers and you cannot deny that in recent years he has been the leading force in the dominance of UK boxing having promoted many past and present world champions and the increased exposure he has given many fighters through the Sky Sports platform but allow them to put themselves out there a bit more and make the fights. At the end of the day, the hype around the fights themselves are created by the fighters.
I felt that the coverage being on Sky means that there will be some bias towards the Evertonian and I think that was evident today with the remarks on finances, Eddie Hearn’s over-involvement, the exaggeration of Haye’s ‘punch’ on Bellew and the attitude towards Haye seemed hostile and that didn’t help with him calling Bellew a “Bellend” live on TV.
My prediction for the fight will be a Haye win within 6 rounds. His speed and power I think will prove too much for his opponent in what I believe is a gulf in class. Despite Bellew’s confidence of beating Haye, I think his chances are at least 80 – 20 in the Hayemaker’s favour. It would be a huge upset if he was to beat Haye considering weight and calibre of the fighters.