After months of ferocious name-calling two of British boxing’s great salesmen will collide in the ring on Saturday night, but is the O2 Arena staging a money-motivated mismatch?
I fear it is.
Outside of the ring, cash-driven, fame-hungry David Haye might be Mr Cocky with a ‘Spongebob’ haircut, but he also happens to be a world-class heavyweight with devastatingly fast and heavy hands.
He is an elite level fighter.
Stepping up from cruiserweight, the truth is Tony Bellew, no matter how much he’s improved, has never shared a ring with anybody remotely as dangerous. Odds of Evens are on offer for this scrap to finish in under 4.5 rounds, and that’s an appealing price.
Why so inviting?
Bellew has been dropped early on several times in his career by boxers far smaller than Haye, who also loves this venue. The local boy has fought at the O2 four times in his career and never gone further than the 5th round; and three of his victories came by way of knockout inside two.
With their dislike for each other no pay-per-view act, I believe the ‘Hayemaker’ will come out swinging the moment that first bell sounds. He wants an easy, early night’s work.
Ring-rust is his big concern.
It’s almost six years since Wladimir Klitschko gave the Londoner a 12-round lesson in Hamburg, and since then Haye has had less than eight rounds of competitive action. His ring time has been clocked at less than 21 minutes.
Family man Bellew, who is no stranger to wars of attrition, is convinced he can handle the early onslaught, and that Haye will then burn himself out.
That’s not an unfeasible theory.
While I doubt a trainer of Shane McGuigan’s repute would prepare his man for just a handful of rounds (Bellew has insinuated this) there will be concerns in his corner if the former WBA champion hasn’t put his man away early doors.
At 36, does he have the courage and desire to dig deep when the tank is emptying? It’s a question mark that hangs over him.
Courage also happens to be Scouser Bellew’s trump card
He has that in spades and proved it when climbing off the canvas in Round 1 to land the WBC Cruiserweight title against Ilunga Makabu last May. It was a victory that’s given him an almighty confidence boost ahead of this, the biggest bout of his career.
Written off as average countless times, Bellew has now won British, Commonwealth European and World belts – so it would be silly to write him off completely.
If you think the Bomber’s vision will come true, a Bellew win between Rounds 7-12 is a 16/1 shot, and for those of you who prefer to be more specific, a shock stoppage in Rounds 7-9 (28/1) and 10-12 (40/1) also offer tremendous value.
If this fight goes beyond the sixth round, Bellew’s guts and close-range clubbing will become an ever- stronger force. His trademark left hook could begin to do some serious damage.
As someone who acted the part of ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan in the movie Creed, Bellew probably feels the script is written for him to deliver a real-life Rocky story of his own. With this in mind you can grab 16/1 on Bellew being knocked down, and still winning the fight
This isn’t Hollywood though, and for me Haye is by far the stronger, superior fighter. When Bellew feels the full force of his right hand, I suspect it could be good night.
David Haye to win in Rounds 1-3 is as short as 7/4 for a reason, and that’s my tip.
Double The Odds
Grosvenor Sport are giving double the odds on any market of your choice up to £10. The ‘Double the Odds’ token is valid for both pre-fight and Live bets. And can be used from 6pm on Friday 3rd March.
So if you think Haye wins the fight in Round 4, your odds will be doubled from 6/1 to 12/1 (Odds at time of writing).
Or if you think Bellew can survive an early onslaught and win on points, they’d be doubled from 16/1 to 32/1.
More info on ‘Double the Odds’ can be found here.
You can watch the big fight at any Grosvenor casino up and down the country – find your nearest casino!
Image Credit: FitProImages/Flickr (Creative Commons – Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0))