Tony Bellew willing to face Haye at heavyweight
By Scott Gilfoid: Newly crowned WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew (27-2-1, 17 KOs) says he would be willing to move up to heavyweight to face David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) at the full weight for the division without a catch-weight if he’s game. Haye might just take Bellew up on his offer because he already snapped off an Instagram post on Monday, saying he would be willing to give him a thrashing after he gets done with his next fight against former WBO heavyweight champion Shannon Briggs. Bellew won the vacant WBC cruiserweight title last Sunday night in stopping Ilunga Makabu in the 3rd round at the Goodison Park Stadium in Liverpool, UK.
That fight is likely to take place in September. As such, we could be seeing a clash between Bellew and Haye before the end of 2016. It works out well for both fighters if the fight takes place at heavyweight.
It’s a great thing for Bellew especially because he doesn’t have the same big money options that Haye does in fighting someone like Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua. If Bellew doesn’t face Haye, he’ll likely need to fight his WBC mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis next if he wants to keep his title. Bellew seems like a nice chap, but I think he would be in a world of hurt against a talent like Briedis.
“If he [Haye] wants to get down and train properly he could do cruiserweight but he’s happy living the lifestyle he lives and parading around and if that’s the way he wants to do it, we can do it at heavyweight. It’s not an issue. I’ll leave him to weigh whatever he wants,” said Bellew to skysports.com.
I think Bellew and his promoter Eddie Hearn need to push for the Haye fight above all else. Bellew says he’s also interested in a unification fight against IBF/WBA cruiserweight champion Denis Lebedev, but that fight is not going to be even close to being as big as a Haye-Bellew fight. Besides, Bellew wants Lebedev to come to the UK to make the fight happen, and I see that as a non-starter.
“It doesn’t feel real just yet. The pain in my hands feels read,” said Bellew to Live with Kelly and Michael.
Lebedev is the bigger star and he’s not going to give up home advantage to fight Bellew in front of a crowd of 20,000 Brits. I don’t see that as being realistic. I wouldn’t take the fight if I were Bellew. Lebedev will likely whip him, and then Bellew would probably never get a fight against Haye or one of the other heavyweights.
Hearn should try and setup a fight between Joshua and Bellew. That would be a better money fight for Bellew than a fight against Haye. However, I’m not sure that Joshua would want to burn up one of his title defenses for his IBF belt facing a cruiserweight like Bellew. Joshua just signed a contract with Showtime, and I think it’s important that he faces guys that the American boxing public is familiar with. I don’t think Bellew is the guy that Joshua needs to be fighting if he wants to impress American fans.
Bellew probably only has a one-fight window make something happen with his new found success in beating Ilunga Makabu last Saturday. He’s got to take advantage of it before he gets whipped by his mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis or by Lebedev. Haye is the perfect cash out fight for Bellew in my view.
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