When this fight was made who could have envisioned an 11 round classic heavyweight battle. Seldom do fight’s with genuine bad blood accompanied with profound media coverage ever live up to fan expectations, this fight went above and beyond.
The injury to David Haye’s Achilles tendon in round 6 was the plot twist in this fight it undeniably had an impact on the fight however the injury overshadowed some other small details that also needed discussing.
Tony Bellew was a heavy underdog coming into this fight, the odds & pundits pre-fight picks were all against the Liverpudlian, Bellew clearly did not read the script. A huge factor in this fight was Bellew’s punch resistance, having been stopped at light heavyweight & dropped at cruiserweight the expectation was he wouldn’t last when tested by the power of a heavyweight puncher.
David Haye landed solid shots before he was compromised, in particular a straight right followed by a left hook combination in the fourth round which had minimal effect on Tony Bellew. This alone shows regardless of how his body looked on the scale Bellew may be better off campaigning as a heavyweight.
Bellew most surprisingly to me moved very well, carrying his speed up from cruiserweight. I anticipated Haye would be the more mobile of the two as he’s had more time to condition his body at the heavyweight limit but that was not the case.
Defeated, deflated & having to be taken straight to hospital for surgery after the fight David Haye’s night could not have been any more disappointing. After 3 years of rehabilitation, this was the big test before moving on to challenge one of the world champions wich seems very unlikely to happen now. At 35 years old recovering from an Achilles tear and returning to compete at a world-class level is an uphill task, the fight with Bellew may well have been the last time we see Haye in the ring.
The one saving grace for Haye was undoubtedly the manner in which he bravely fought on despite being injured. After the fight with Klitschko back in 2012, Haye faced harsh criticism for his performance and lack of aggression in his challenge to unify the heavyweight titles. Blaming a toe injury after the fight did not go down well with fans or fellow fighters, Haye was made to be the brunt of many jokes long after the fight.
On Saturday night the label of being a coward that Bellew repeatedly used in the build up to this fight was finally eliminated. No one can question Haye’s heart after valiantly sticking it out, he never stopped trying to find the shot which could end the fight even in the face of extreme adversity.
In closing Bellew could go on to fight another heavyweight, ruling out a fight with Anthony Joshua in the post fight interview due to the pair being friends, Dillian Whyte would make sense and then possibly Deontay wilder. He could of course go back down to cruiserweight if he does so wish, both options are viable.
For David Haye, if nothing else he left the sport on his shield which would be a poetic end to his career after the ridicule he faced in 2012.