David Haye v Tony Bellew Betting Preview | 5th May 2018
BOXING boff Ross Francis takes a look at the best bets available for Saturday night’s bout between David Haye and Tony Bellew.
Saturday night sees former unified cruiserweight and WBA heavyweight champion David Haye (28-3-0) re-match with former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (29-2-1).
With the backdrop of British heavyweight boxing high, with AJ-Wilder, Dillian Whyte’s progression through the rankings and new up-and-coming names like Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce, this re-match feels like a strange fit.
The first fight was billed by many as a mismatch, coming about through apparently nothing more than Bellew’s publicly aired offence to Haye’s comeback. However, through a series of events resulting in a compelling build-up, fight and victory for the underdog Bellew, Saturday we get to witness whether there will be a ‘repeat or revenge’.
In the first duel, Haye’s battle-torn body gave way, with a ruptured Achilles during the sixth round the pre-fight favourite to fight on one leg for a further five rounds before his team threw the towel in. This must surely now be his last chance to prove he is relevant in this buoyant heavyweight division.
Bellew, prior to that first fight, had already achieved his pinnacle in winning the WBC cruiserweight championship at the home of his beloved Everton FC, so questions over his motivation need to be asked.
The first fight TKO victory for Bellew has given him huge confidence that he’s bringing into the re-match. He suggested Haye’s body would not hold up, and he was right, but this was not due to any work Bellew asserted on his opponent.
Some feel this renewed confidence will give Bellew the edge and this has been reflected in the odds where both fighters are much more evenly priced than their first encounter.
First flight clues
In any re-match, you understandably look to the first fight for any insight but due to the nature of Haye’s injury, it is difficult to understand much from his side.
What we do know is he can withstand the best Bellew has to throw. Do we know that Bellew can withstand the best Haye has? I’m not sure. By his own admission, Haye was swinging wildly from the first bell, his timing was off and he was loading up with every punch.
There is a school of thought that Haye’s camp knew the injury was likely to flare up and his best chance of winning was to knock Bellew out early.
Fast-forward to now and the talk has been to take Bellew out into the later rounds, something echoed by new (legendary) trainer Ismael Salas.
Haye to pack too much of a punch
If Haye’s rebuilt, stitched together and rehabbed body can hold up, the fact is he is still the fighter in the ring with the genuine pedigree and the one with genuine heavyweight knockout power has to be considered. The 26 knockouts on his record are still a huge factor against a cruiserweight that, at that weight, has been knocked down multiple times and stopped.
Where Haye was emotional in the build-up first time round, biting to Bellew’s jibes and throwing a punch during a press conference, this time roles have been reversed. Bellew’s seemingly playing the more emotional of the two and again, this could play a factor.
The leaner Haye, using his movement and skill against a durable Bellew, who was not reckless in the early stages of the first fight, leads towards this fight going past six rounds. I don’t think the final bell will ring and cannot see a result where Haye is not victorious (please Achilles don’t let me down) so I’ll be backing Haye to win by KO, TKO or disqualification at 8/11.
As the fight progresses, Haye knows he will be able to take more chances, aware that he can take Bellew’s best punches, and I think the leaner Haye will be more precise and measured in finding openings that can bring about the stoppage.