David Haye vs Tony Bellew – The Gloves are Off as Bellew is fancied to beat Haye again
David Haye vs Tony Bellew will clash in London’s O2 Arena on May 5, live on Sky Sports Pay-Per-View. This is of course the rematch of their March 4, 2017 encounter at the same venue when Haye stepped awkwardly and ruptured his Achilles tendon, enabling Bellew to claw back a points deficit and eventually stop his fierce rival in the 11th round (Bellew was ahead 96-93 on all three cards at the point of the stoppage).
Watch the First David Haye vs Tony Bellew Fight
Haye was the resounding betting favourite in the first fight. He comes in at 2/5 this time with Bellew at 2/1.
Bellew made a mockery of many of the predictions that he would be torn apart in their first encounter. You don’t have to recall occasions such as Mike Tyson’s epic collapse to James ‘Buster’ Douglas in Japan all those years ago or George Foreman’s come-from-behind knockout of Michael Moorer to realise that Tony has a good chance in a two-horse race with mitigating factors at play.
Watch Mike Tyson being floored by James ‘Buster’ Douglas
The main factor being Haye’s crumbling frame that literally broke down in the first fight.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew Odds and Betting Tips
Odds correct as of 21/04/2018.
- If you fancy Haye’s physical limitations to catch up with him then William Hill’s 7/2 on a Bellew win via KO, TKO or DQ is fairly appealing.
- Punters will also cast half an eye on Bellew’s odds of 50/1 for a 10th or 11th round knockout.
- Haye for the same measure is 8/11 with William Hill and starts to creep up to 14/1 (round 8) and 20/1 (round 9) which could be an enticing bet if Haye manages to sustain his work rate and has punched a reasonable level of resistance out of his opponent by that stage of the fight.
Controversy and intrigue reigned in the first bout and with the draw coming in with William Hill at 28/1 who would rule out some sort of shenanigans taking place?.
After all, a third fight on Pay-Per-View would certainly be in the interest of all parties involved. That rubber match will also likely occur if Haye wins and it is not a complete one-sided blowout (a 1st round Haye KO is 14/1 by the way).
Hayes Game Plan
To rectify the mistakes made in the first fight Haye must come in with some sort of a game plan that goes past the basic premise of:
“I’m bigger than him, when I land I’ll knock him out”.
Bellew showed a better chin and punch resistance than many expected in the first fight, however, and suddenly Haye appeared to panic when the Liverpudlian was not falling over as the script suggested. Coming in too heavy on that occasion, Haye has visibly slimmed down for the rematch and carrying less bulk will mean more speed and sharpness and less stress on his creaking muscles.
Many people wondered what this latest returning incarnation of David Haye would look like and little was gauged about his ability to withstand the onslaught of a top-level fighter when he was busy blasting away the hapless challenges of Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj.
Watch the David Haye vs Mark de Mori fight
Bellew was made of sterner stuff than those two and a “rush out and land heavy shots” approach the Bermondsey man used to demolish the Aussie and Swiss-based Kosovan, both live on Dave TV, served a purpose in as much as to say Haye is back in the big time and a legitimate threat to the top boys of the heavyweight division.
Watch the David Haye vs Arnold Gjergjaj fight
In reality, he beat two vastly overmatched foes and faltered at the first sign of genuine resistance.
In the rematch Haye will need to employ more consistency and quality in his attacks. Rather than loading up on big shots and emptying his gas tank (Haye has always had suspect stamina) he will need to time Bellew and try to manoeuvre his feet into range and stop trying to throw power shots while positioned side-on, with his feet placed so wide apart.
Hayes Trainer Salas
Cuban trainer Ismael Salas is now in charge of Haye’s corner after Shane McGuigan was dismissed following the first defeat. Salas is a vastly experienced coach who has worked with the likes of Jorge Linares, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Yuriorkis Gamboa throughout his career but will be required to do more of a fire fighting job here. Haye is an injury prone veteran who needs to recapture a night’s worth of past form rather than being reinvented as a different fighter. His flaws and strengths remain in equal measure and Salas will need to formulate a game plan within those parameters.
Bellew Game Plan
As for Bellew, even though he is not a natural heavyweight he has carved out a nice little niche for himself on a high-paying platform. A good plan for Tony would be to maintain a safe but effective range and make Haye work for the majority of the rounds. If Haye throws a big hook Bellew will look to grab, hold and tie him up. Bellew fought a smart fight last time and rode out the storm early on before picking and poking away at his injured foe to such an extent that the fight was eventually halted. If Haye manages to stay fit and loose for the majority of the early rounds and lands some heavy shots then can Bellew soak up the leather and still have enough to return fire with his own favoured double jab-right hand combination?.
David Haye vs Tony Bellew Verdict
The general consensus, with the bookies and the fans, is that Haye will complete the job he was on the way to doing the first time (he clearly won the first four rounds) and get Bellew out of there. I would tentatively pick Bellew though to repeat the trick and find a way to win this rematch and the manner of victory could run along similar lines to the first bout.
Haye has been around a long time, boxing both at cruiserweight and heavyweight. He has withdrawn from many fights with injuries, including this rescheduled rematch. The strain on his body is evident and I believe that at some point in the fight he might suffer another injury that heavily tips the balance of the fight in his opponent’s favour.
Bellew for all of his faults is a survivor, with a good chin and a punch to match. I think he can beat Haye for the second time.