Don't be fooled, David Haye vs Tony Bellew is a bout based on deception to lure in casual punters and fanatics alike

Boxing on TV: Haye will simply view this fight as a money-making stepping stone to an Anthony Joshua showdown

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“Believe me I am not a fully fledged cruiserweight and David was. He’s the greatest CW this country has ever seen. I shouldn’t be talked about in the same sentence.”

-              Tony Bellew, August 31st 2013.

The mere concept of Tony Bellew fighting David Haye was so farcical three years ago that Bellew, a man not known for his reticence in promoting, could not even fathom the idea when talking about Haye on a boxing messageboard.

A lot has changed since August 2013 however. Boxing has emerged as a sport that threatens to enter the mainstream on a semi-regular basis, mostly thanks to a stronger backing from Sky Sports who have amped up their interest as they’ve lost rights to other sports.

Anthony Joshua hadn’t made his professional debut in 2013, while the first Carl Froch vs George Groves fight was still to come. Tony Bellew was mere months away from his second world title opportunity against Adonis Stevenson, while David Haye was still scheduled for a fight with Tyson Fury.

Time moves on, and as the clock ticks, necessity changes. There is no doubt that at some point in their lives Bellew and Haye were respectful acquaintances, if not friends, but niceness doesn’t pay the bills. Today, in March 2017, humbleness is a haven for failure in boxing. It’s not enough for the public to see two world class athletes compete, there needs to be tension - however manufactured - for true intrigue to occur.

Let’s just lay the cards on the table now. If Haye is anywhere near his fearsome prime, this fight should over in a maximum of three rounds. At his peak, Haye was the best cruiserweight on the planet, a devastating mixture of power, poise and pin-point accuracy. An iconic victory over Jean-Marc Mormeck in Paris was followed up by a crushing beatdown of Enzo Maccarinelli, at the same venue he fights at tonight.

Haye was the very definition of box-office, a proto Conor McGregor who predicted his success with unerring accuracy from a very young age. Both became invigorated by early defeats to come back and dominate several weight-divisions, and both men saw beyond the shackles of typical promotional contracts. And at each step of the journey, each faced massive scrutiny from doubters who maintained that their mouths couldn’t match their ambition.

Things began to unravel for Haye after he won heavyweight gold against the lumbering Nikolai Valuev. Poor defences against John Ruiz and Audley Harrison (in a heavily promoted co-promotion with Eddie Hearn against a domestic rival who had no chance - sound familiar?) led to a fight with Wladimir Klitschko which Haye had been begging to take place for a number of years.

Then toe-gate happened, he fought terribly and lost without tactics or charm, beat Dereck Chisora a year later and then didn’t fight again for nearly four years after a series of injuries and Hollywood ambitions. Upon his comeback, he fought a couple of guys on Dave who were more bouncers than boxers, and has once again lucked into a fight which, touch wood for the Hayemaker, should make him a lot of money for minimal effort.

Haye weighed in a stone heavier than Bellew who fights at heavyweight for the first time, and it’s incredible to think that Bellew campaigned at light heavyweight for much of his career. The Everton fan is a conundrum - a fighter who outwardly states that he’s one of the best in the world - but who upon reflection knows his weaknesses better than most.

A phenomenal 2016 saw Bellew not only feature in the film Creed, but he also enjoyed his own Hollywood moment at Goodison Park when he finally won a world title at cruiserweight against Ilunga Makubu. Bellew was dropped heavily at the end of the first round, before rallying in spectacular fashion to finish Makubu in the third round.

Despite his success as a world champion, Bellew is not typically a man for the big occasion. In fights he’s appeared in where he’s been a featured player, he’s often wilted amidst the pressure. Bellew lost his first fight with Nathan Cleverly in October 2010, and failed to impress in their tedious rematch four years later despite Cleverly fighting with one arm for much of the bout.

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Haye is the second heaviest weight that he's been in his career (Getty)

Against powerful light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson in November 2013, Bellew ran around the ring in increasingly desperate fashion for six rounds before getting taken out, while he was dropped twice by Ovill McKenzie in a dramatic 2010 shootout. History does not look kind for him, because even though he recovered against Makubu, quite simply, if he is dropped by Haye in a similar fashion tonight, he will not be getting back up.

In football terms, this is an FA Cup clash between an Arsenal team putting out a side mixed with experience and youngsters, against an eager, but limited lower half of the table Championship team. Sometimes the plucky underdog will eke out a victory, but then football doesn’t result in knockouts that often.

Look, you’re going be involved in this fight tonight whether you buy it on Box Office, listen to it on the radio, or follow it on social media. So how can you impress your friends ahead of the fight? Just tell them it’s a bout based on deception and the time old tradition of marketing. It’s a honeytrap designed to lure in casual punters while teasing the crotch of fanatical boxing fans as well.

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Haye should get the knockout inside three rounds (Getty)

Haye has weighed in the second heaviest of his career which implies he’s looking for the early stoppage he needs in order to amp up a future fight with Anthony Joshua, while Bellew will be looking to take the fight into deep waters under the assumption that Haye’s gas tank will empty.

The fight probably won’t go past three rounds, but it might. That’s what they want you to think. Haye is a huge favourite with the bookmakers who have him at 2/9, while Bellew is a 4/1 underdog.

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The Haye vs Bellew story has been told many times before (Getty)

Elsewhere on the undercard in London, Sam Eggington fights former world champion Paulie Malignaggi, Derry Matthews faces the Floyd Mayweather wannabe Ohara Davies, Lee Selby competes in a ticking over fight, while Olympic gold medalist Katie Taylor continues her professional career.

We’ve run out of space for this week, but we also need to mention that two of the best fighters in the world battle each other tonight on BoxNation. Danny Garcia and Keith Thurman are both undefeated, powerful welterweights and their long-awaited battle should be a good one.

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