One of the strange elements of the boxing biz is this: oftentimes, a fighter has to toil for a long, long time to get to a place where their relevance is such that they are a draw. Like, too long, at times; some boxers are inside the last trimester of their career by the time they get to become NAMES.
Tony Bellew has been at this a long spell, and David Haye, too. Bellew is 35, Haye 37, and while Haye’s mouth had made him a to-be-paid-attention-to player in the game for a long spell, their rematch tomorrow in England speaks to this quirk in the sweet and savage science.
Haye is clearly past his prime, and Bellew by all accounts probably should be. But that doesn’t detract from the buzz for the bout, which is semi-sizeable in the UK, if less so in the States.
One upside element: by the looks of it, outside looking in, this doesn’t look like a cash grab by the two ultra vets.
Both weighed in less Friday than they did before their initial scrap, which took place in March of 2017. Bellew scored a TKO11 win, and afterwards Haye admitted he came to the ring less than one hundred percent. Haye, a pro since 2002, was 220 on Friday, 224 last March. Bellew, a pro since 2007, was 210, and 213 back before their first encounter.
On the scale, Haye looked ripped and ready, though we surely all know that a book can’t be judged by a snazzy cover. We presume he comes in healthy and without Achilles problems or the like, but we will only be certain of this when we hear from Haye post-fight. Bellew is never a body beauty. He looks like he still enjoys a full complement of carbs in training, and, we state for the record, who are we to cast aspersions? Bellew has had a marvelous set of chapters in this road to the fighting finish line.
Both men barked as promoter Eddie Hearn watched and grinned, one day before they scrap at O2. Haye seemed to take pleasure at his fitness, with his posing, while Bellew acknowledged that his physique won’t win awards. But Haye is well aware that physique and true fighting fitness are not always aligned.
Haye did show mettle in trying to fight on after being knocked through the ropes in the first waltz, we will say…
All in all, in the US, this bout won’t be a “I must get home to watch” or set an alarm prompt on my cell to tune in. No belts are on the line. Pride, money, and proving that fighting on isn’t a foolish call will be the stakes, mainly. But those stakes and less have combined to conjure some solid innings of prize-fighting. We shall soon see who is a step closer to calling it a day…
You can watch Haye v Bellew 2 tomorrow, Saturday, on AWE, a cable channel. AWE stands for A Wealth of Entertainment, for the record. The show starts at 5 PM.