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Bellew will need to fight Haye at heavyweight

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By Scott Gilfoid: Newly crowned WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KOs) and former two division world champion David Haye have been exchanging words since Bellew won the WBC title last Sunday night in beating Ilunga Makabu (19-2, 18 KOs) by a 3rd round knockout at Goodison Park in Liverpool, UK. Bellew vs. Haye can’t take place for Bellew’s WBC belt because he’s due for his mandatory next.

Bellew says he’s ready to fight Haye. However, for that fight to take place, it would mean that Bellew will almost surely need to move up to heavyweight to make it possible. Haye says he wants to face Bellew after he gets done with his fight against 44-year-old Shannon Briggs in the summer.

Haye should win that fight without any problems. The real issue is whether Bellew will be willing to move up to heavyweight to take the fight with Haye because there is no way earth that Haye is going to be able to trim off all the muscles he’s put on in order to face Bellew at cruiserweight.

Haye could probably drain down from 215 to 200 to make weight for a fight against Bellew at cruiserweight, but it would still require that Haye take off 10 pounds of muscle to make that happen. I cannot see Haye draining down 24lbs to make weight at 200 for a fight against Bellew. That would be extremely hard on the 35-year-old Haye for him to attempt to do that. He weighs 224lbs now. I think it’s doable for Haye unless he trims down to 215.

“After I’ve knocked out Shannon Briggs, who has been giving it lot of that himself, if you want to be on the list too, I’m knocking out all people talking too much, so get on the list, mate. You’re going to get smashed to bits,” said Haye about Bellew on his Instagram today.

If Bellew moves up to fight Haye at a catch-weight in the heavyweight division, he’ll likely have his WBC cruiserweight title stripped from him for failing to face his mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis. Bellew doesn’t have a voluntary defense due because he just won a vacant title, not one that he won off another champion. Briedis is supposed to be next unless Bellew can fight a unification match against one of the other champions.

I’m not sure whether Bellew will care too much about losing his WBC title if he loses to Haye. I mean, it’s not as if he has any big money fights available to him in the division right now.

“To beat arguably the best cruiserweight in the division in Makabu makes it more the sweeter,” said Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn to IFL TV.

There’s just the potential for a unification match against IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev, which Bellew will likely lose. It’s kind of a race against time for Bellew, because if he doesn’t fight Lebedev in a unification match, then he must fight his WBC mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis next if he wants to keep the title.

The money that Bellew can make at heavyweight in a fight against Haye is a lot more than he can make at cruiserweight. Further, Bellew isn’t going to be able to get the money he’ll make in a Haye fight facing anyone in the cruiserweight division. Bellew will lose to his first challenger in Briedis in his first defense. I can’t see Bellew winning that fight.




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