Tony Bellew vs David Haye a fight worth the comedy, but the weights just don't add up

Haye cannot safely lose the weight he has put on at heavyweight, which hands him the immediate advantage in a future battle with his pantomime enemy Bellew

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The Independent Online

It was a good finish to a bad opponent for Tony Bellew on Saturday night in his hometown at the Liverpool Echo, watched by his fans and his pantomime enemy David Haye.

A fighter called BJ Flores went down so many times that there was an added debate about just exactly how he got his initials. Bellew whacked away without any thought for defence for three rounds until Flores, on his knees again, managed to miss the count; he had been over four times and was in poor shape. 

Flores is a friend and former sparring partner of David Haye, and Haye once sparred with Bellew but the pair are most definitely not friends. “I have just smashed your playmate, your night-club buddy and I will smash you the same way,” said Bellew from the ring after the fight, his words live to a raucous crowd.

At the end of the fight Bellew had jumped from the ring to confront Haye at ringside, an “off” that the promoter, Eddie Hearn, had promised a few hours earlier on Twitter. It was all good clean fun and once Bellew had been pulled back into the ring by his trainer Dave Coldwell, a man conceding nearly a foot in height and about 6 stone, the real comedy started. Bellew can certainly fight and he is a funny guy and away from the lights he is a decent man.

The pair had sparred when Bellew was still an amateur; Bellew claims to have “smashed” Haye and there is every reason to believe what he says, and that is because it happens all the time in boxing. One fighter is at a peak, another just back in the gym and they meet, with big gloves and nothing at stake. Haye’s comical but commercially successful heavyweight word title fight with his one-time friend Audley Harrison was built off the back of similar sparring folklore.

In 2007 Haye held the same WBC cruiserweight belt that Bellew retained on Saturday night. In 2008 Haye moved permanently to the heavyweight division, slowly changing his body from 200 pounds, the cruiserweight limit, to a solid 220 pounds, which is a process that simply can’t be rushed or faked. In Haye’s last eight fights, all as a heavyweight, he has weighed between 210 and 227 pounds.

“He’s a cruiserweight like me, he has the same dimensions as me,” claimed Bellew. “I’m a bit fatter and he’s a bit better looking. He only went to heavyweight because he loves money and right now I’m the biggest payday he can get.” Bellew’s comedy self-references are likely to restrict or even eliminate any censor from the British Boxing Board of Control, whose inspectors at ringside were reduced to front-row observers at an after-fight confrontation that was straight from the world of wrestling. 

Bellew is right about a potential fight with Haye making financial sense, but there is a chance that one of Tyson Fury’s discarded belts will form the backdrop to a fight between Haye and somebody. Haye remains a contender in a heavyweight division running short on victims.

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Tony Bellew knocks down BJ Flores during their contest for the WBC cruiserweight title (Getty)

“I could probably beat Bellew with one punch,” said Haye, who had at first praised Bellew’s performance. “I’m a heavyweight and when I hit him he will stay hit. He has no idea and he thinks that being a proper heavyweight is just about putting on a few pounds.” Haye would not be able to safely lose enough weight to fight for his old title at under 200 pounds, and that would mean Bellew coming up in weight, which only adds to Haye’s natural advantages.

Bellew was stopped at light-heavyweight in 2013 by Adonis Stevenson, a man who a year earlier was a super-middleweight. This happened close to the time when Haye lost on points in a world heavyweight title showdown with Wladimir Klitschko, a man that is 6ft 6in and nearly 50 pounds heavier than Bellew.

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Bellew calls out Haye, who watches on from ringside (Getty)

Hopefully, the carnival of madness continues and the pair are matched at an outdoor venue early next summer. It would be a fun fight, short but fun and the build-up would be fantastic. Haye and Bellew at press conferences in cages, a guard of security men between them at all times, even in the ring, until that moment when Michael Buffer starts talking. It is at that moment when everybody will realise they have paid to watch a massacre and hopefully both boxers, the 40,000 fans and the men getting rich will be happy with the circus they helped build.

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