International Sport > Boxing > BELLEW AND HAYE ON COLLISION COURSE


With reports that Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko are about to confirm a blockbuster heavyweight megafight for December 10 and with Tyson Fury out of action for the foreseeable future, David Haye’s first truly big bout since returning to the ring has been hard to predict.

But the events of Saturday’s night’s card in Liverpool appear to have shed light on Haye’s career navigation, as he and Tony Bellew got caught up in a war of words and a pull-apart just moments after Bellew had blasted BJ Flores away in three rounds.

Bellew, making the first defence of the WBC cruiserweight title he won at Goodison Park in May, immediately targeted the man who once unified the cruiserweight belts after making short work of Haye’s friend and former spar partner Flores.

“I’ve smashed your mate, your playboy buddy,” Bellew barked to ringside, “and I will smash you exactly the same way.”

The champion continued: “I’m the biggest payday you’ll get. With 10oz gloves on boy, I’ll put you and that pathetic haircut to sleep.

"Listen SpongeBob Squarepants, I’ll deal with you in a boxing ring, you’ve got this big aura around yourself, I don’t care.”

Haye told Yahoo Sport UK on Thursday, as he began his training camp for his next fight against an opponent TBA at a yet-unconfirmed venue, that he was itching to move on to big fights and attempt to win another world title after easy wins over two unknowns in the first half of 2016.

While such fights are commonplace for someone who needs to shake off the rust and ease back into top level fighting, Bellew was far less understanding as he stuck his head through the ropes toward Haye, shouting “you’re next!”

He said: “Listen, you predicted BJ was going to beat me, didn’t you? You predicted he was going to beat me. He got smashed. And you’re going to get smashed too.

"The last two guys you fought are working on nightclub doors, or they’re putting the bins out.

“Those two guys were a joke and you’re robbing everybody who pays to come to the arena.

Haye shrugged off the confrontation and told the Sky Sports announce team why he felt Bellew would be in serious trouble if he moved up to heavyweight to battle the ‘Hayemaker’.

He said: "Bellew has dynamite in his fists but would that work on me? I don’t think so.

"He was taking a few big shots in the process, his defence was leaky. Against me, that’d take one shot.

"I’ve been a heavyweight for eight or nine years. If he wants to come up, it’s an easy night’s work.

“I’d probably knock him out with a jab.”

Haye would certainly enjoy an experience and power advantage if the two fought at maximum-weight or even at a catchweight between the two divisions, which is the more likely scenario.

However, Bellew would nonetheless definitely be a step up in opponent for the former world heavyweight titlist after those two bouts against Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj.

Another big question is: would the fight happen this year?

Haye’s media training day on Thursday confirmed only one detail - the date, December 10. But if, as Gareth A Davies reports, that Saturday ends up as the date for Joshua-Klitschko, it’s hard to imagine Haye or Bellew allowing their anticipated grudge bout to be overshadowed or upstaged by the reported £30million superfight.

As ever with boxing, much remains unclear. But at least now, for the time being, collision courses appear to have been set. And with two world heavyweight titles now freed up in the wake of the Fury saga, perhaps we’ve found the two bouts that can decide them.

By: Liam Happe / Eurosport
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Monday, June 18, 2018
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