Live to Fight Another Haye; Bellew Shocks Boxing World with Clinical Upset Win
By Michael J Jones
TONY BELLEW DID it. He beat David Haye in his first official fight at heavyweight and in doing so set himself up for some potentially mammoth pay-days. At 34-years-old and having just scored the biggest victory of his career, the out-spoken Scouser deserves all the verbal accolades he receives after putting on a boxing master-class to make a mockery of the pre-fight odds.
Bellew was the best he’s ever been last night at the O2 Arena; almost punch-perfect. Now, 29-2-1 (19), the Liverpool underdog started the fight as many had predicted. Wary of the power his 36 year old opponent still carried, Bellew started cautiously behind his jab but was sharp with his counters to show he meant business.
Haye tried some wild swings but hit mostly air as the reigning WBC cruiserweight champion skipped away from trouble and usually responded quickly with a quick right or left hook. The pattern rarely altered in the first few rounds but frustration seemed to slowly creep into Haye’s work as he began realising his bitter foe was boxing smartly and taking few clean punches.
By the fourth, Haye was gritting his teeth to try and unload power shots but still lacked accuracy as Bellew rapidly grew in confidence. After five completed rounds, I gave three to Haye with one to Bellew and one even.
Then came the shocking sixth…
With Haye starting to tire, Bellew opened up with instant success. The fight got a little messy before the two collided together to hit the canvas in a heap. When he stood up; something was clearly wrong with Haye’s balance. Twice he fell to the canvas unaided but, then, Bellew could smell blood and poured the heat on his limping foe.
Lefts and rights were suddenly crashing into Haye’s static head before a final barrage sent him to the floor for a count. The visibly-shocked Haye sluggishly got up but had to soak up more leather before the bell came to his rescue.
From that moment on there was only ever going to be one victor…
From rounds seven to ten, Bellew alternated boxing and slugging cleverly. Haye offered little as he was constantly stationery on the ropes. Credit to the Londoner for continuing when he often appeared in agony as Bellew punished him up and down repeatedly.
Haye was warned for a low blow in the 9th while his Scouse tormentor also got a ticking off in the next for hitting on the break. That aside, and considering the heated build-up, the two men boxed a gentlemanly fight and conducted themselves impeccably the whole night.
In the eleventh, Bellew was in control when he landed a powerful right-hand which drove Haye to the ropes. Four meaty shots followed to send “Hayemaker” clean through the ropes. Although he bravely scrambled through and up, compassionate trainer Shane McGuigan had seen enough and threw the towel in.
At the time of the stoppage, Livefight had Bellew up by 97-93.
Bellew’s tactics had been spot on in boxing a defensive fight to take the sting away from Haye’s fists before stepping up his work-rate to take over in the second half of the fight. Haye fans will point to his Achilles injury as the reason he lost but before the fateful sixth he was already struggling mightily to make an impact on the vastly under-rated Bellew.
A lucrative rematch in Liverpool would be a must in the summer but, for now, let Bellew bask in his success at proving 99% of the boxing world wrong. He didn’t get knocked out in the first minute or first round like many had scoffed; the kid boxed a dream and won in style.
For Haye, who drops to 28-3 (19) in his first defeat in six years, there were many jarring indications of his relaxed view to the fight beforehand. It may be that after some 17 years as a professional fighter his body may have just started to break. Maybe he really does prefer to be a celebrity than a fighter. Time will tell but massive respect to him for his part in a great domestic dust-up. Many wouldn’t have kept going for five tough rounds while barely able to move.
Weights were Haye 16st 1/2 lb Bellew 15st 3½lbs.