Do you know what? I don’t know what I feel after the Haye-Bellew fight. On the one hand it provided one of the biggest shocks in British boxing history. On the other hand, I thought the fight was poor. Yes it was tense and the atmosphere was sensational but I came out of it feeling distinctly underwhelmed.
Tony Bellew’s performance didn’t surprise me. The guy is a warrior. He has heart like a lion. The Scouser never gives up and fair play to him. He stuck around, took David Haye’s best shots, stayed patient and eventually was rewarded with Haye’s camp throwing in the towel in the 11th round. I was happy for him. The word is that Bellew is going to retire but somehow I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him.
I think the main reason I was left so flat is that I expected so much more from David Haye. I know he’s getting a lot of plaudits for the bravery and courage shown after the onset of the Achilles injury in round 5 and rightly so. The injury spoiled the fight initially but then made for riveting viewing as you still thought Haye could take Bellew out even on one leg.
My main gripe, though, was the David Haye we saw for the first 5 rounds before the injury. He was awful. Pre-fight, Haye looked in fantastic shape. I, like probably 99% of the boxing public, thought he would knock Bellew within 3 rounds at the very most.
I remember watching the first round and thinking that Haye looked a ‘shot’ fighter. He looked a shell of his old self. He was ponderous, slow and was completely out of sync. There were wild haymakers (no pun intended) and a complete lack of combinations and skill. I don’t think this was ring rust. I just think he’s done!
As much as I loathe Haye, there was a part of me that wanted him to do a job on Bellew to keep alive the prospect of an encounter down the line with Anthony Joshua. The prime version of Haye against Joshua would have been some fight. After this performance, that pipe dream is over.
It was great to see both fighters respecting each other after the fight. So much vitriol and abuse had been spouted beforehand that you wondered where it would lead to afterwards but we need not have worried. Both showed genuine respect towards the other in the post-match interviews and it was good to see.
I personally think Haye should retire. He was talking after the fight about a possible rematch with Bellew or working his way up the division again. It’s all talk! I know I’m not interested at all in seeing another fight between them.
Haye must know deep down that his race is run. He’s 36 years old and has just fought his first meaningful fight for 5 years and looked poor. He should stick to the TV work and anything else that interests him but he should stay away from the ring.
As I said earlier, I don’t think Bellew is retiring. I’m not sure he’ll continue fighting as a cruiserweight. He’s at that stage now where he wants to make serious money. There’s no real glamour matches out there for him at cruiserweight so I believe he’d get involved in another heavyweight scrap for the right money but time will tell.
I’m so glad I didn’t spend the £16 that Sky were charging to watch the fight on their box-office channel. I watched on a stream that was actually good quality day and also listened to the brilliant commentary on Radio 5 Live.
Away from the big fight, I have to mention the performance of Irish woman fighter, Katie Taylor. All you can say is wow! She put on the performance of the night. It was a boxing masterclass. Such great handspeed, beautiful combinations and movement and then the power to stop her Italian opponent, Monica Gentili in the 5th round. It was mesmerising stuff.
The London Olympics gold medallist showed that surely she is a world champion in the making. The scary thing is she is only going to get better. She’s just 30 and in her boxing prime. I cannot wait until her next fight.
So all the hype is over. Haye-Bellew has been and gone. Now we await the really big one. Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko is only 7 weeks away. April 29th to be precise. This promises to be THE fight of the year.
Look out for plenty of build-up from myself leading up to the big night. This isn’t just a fight. This is an EVENT! April 29th can’t come soon enough.
Ok that’s it from me.