David Haye came back into the game knowing that he could still make a tremendous amount of money, even years removed from his last meaningful performance. Of course, a quick look at the Heavyweight division now suggests that the former champion may have to pick and choose very carefully against an emerging crop of mobile, hard-hitting fighters who may have his number at the elite level.
Since Haye’s return, he’s fought two putrid foes to preserve himself for said fight, presumably against Anthony Joshua should he beat Wladimir Klitschko, and he’s mouthed himself into a third one against Tony Bellew.
Bellew is not a Heavyweight, he is barely a Cruiserweight where he holds a title, and even then he looks undersized and is outgunned by what the rest of the division currently offers. Of course, Bellew has been active and knows what is at stake should he knock off Haye, and that alone has convinced many a fan that this is a “big” fight.
From the very start, Haye has the experience in power, speed, technique, experience and mileage. Unless he has aged overnight or left the best of what was left against Mark Di Mori, Haye’s swift hand speed is still there and his one-punch power is something to be reckoned with. Setting Bellew up for a big shot won’t be entirely necessary being that Bellew’s best chance is to go for broke and hope he can do some damage before Haye gets set.
Recent news suggests that Haye may have suffered an injury to his achilles tendon just ahead of the fight but is opting to fight on despite the news. If that’s the case, it will either give Bellew the best chance he has to win by charging Haye and trying to lean on him in clinches to potentially aggravate the injury further or slow Haye down to a crawl where he can try to land his big shots.
Even so, Haye as a sitting duck means that Bellew will come right at him and put him in optimal range for a bludgeoning left hook that will end the fight as soon as it lands.
Bellew is a pretty big underdog, but he doesn’t have to win to reap all the benefits of this gutsy move. Whether he wins or loses, he drops down to Cruiserweight with his profile raised being part of a potentially historic British show and will see his purses rise until he retires. Underdog fighters with built-in excuses are not a smart pick.
The call here is that the bad blood boils over early as Bellew tries to do what he can to hurt Haye right from the start. Once Haye gets a taste of Bellew’s power at Heavyweight, he’ll determine whether or not to walk him down or just sit back and wait to land one shot that’ll put him down and out. Haye should win big, brutal and quick with an early stoppage not out of the question.