Hearn: Haye-Bellew is priority for March
By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn says heavyweight David Haye is the priority fight for WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew for his next fight on March 4th over Bellew’s World Boxing Council mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis. Bellew defeated BJ Flores by a 3rd round knockout last Saturday night at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. There’s not much to say about that fight other than it was a mismatch the moment the fight contract was signed. Bellew did what most boxing fans expected him to do in stopping the hapless 37-year-old Flores after knocking him down three times in the fight.
The low lights of the fight was Bellew hitting Flores with low blow in the 2nd round, and then pounding him while he was defenseless until he hit the canvas. A further low was the referee failing to do anything about Bellew’s low blow. Flores never recovered from the knockdown. Two more knockdown came in the 2nd and then another knockdown in the 3rd. Flores never had a chance.
Hearn isn’t quite certain whether the Haye vs. Bellew fight can get made or not. If it can’t, then Hearn will match Bellew against his mandatory challenger Briedis in March. Never the less, Hearn says Haye likes money, and there’s millions for him to make fighting Bellew. In other words, Hearn is pretty confident that he can make the Haye-Bellew fight for March. The fight will take place at heavyweight rather than cruiserweight. T
here’s no word whether Bellew will be able to keep his WBC cruiserweight title if he loses to Haye. It’s not exactly fair that Briedis will need to have his career on hold while Bellew goes up in weight to fight outside of the cruiserweight division against Haye. Further, there’s no guarantee that Briedis will even get his title shot against Bellew after the Bellew-Haye fight.
Bellew is talking about wanting to fight a unification fight as well as fighting Haye. So what we could be seeing is Bellew swerving his title defense against Briedis in moving up to fight Haye at heavyweight. Win or lose that fight, Bellew will then move back down to cruiserweight where he could then face one of the other champions in a unification fight, which would make him more money than he’d get in facing Briedis.
Hearn said this to IFL TV about the Bellew vs. Haye fight:
“Trust me, he can fight,” said Hearn about Bellew. “The David Haye fight has lit up Twitter. He actually jumped out [of the ring]. It’s good for boxing, I believe. It’s all hype. Now the biggest fight out there available for David Haye is Tony Bellw. He [Haye] loves the pound note. He’ll make millions for the fight. [The fight will take place] at heavyweight. If he hits Haye, he’s going to sleep. If Haye hits him, he’s going to sleep.”
What was really interesting in watching Hearn’s interview is how he said almost nothing about Flores. It’s as if the fight never even happened. There was no excitement or anything from Hearn about the Bellew-Flores fight. You know things are bad when a promoter barely says a peep about the guy that his fighter just beat with ease. It’s pretty sad to be honest. It’s not surprising that Hearn didn’t get excited about the Bellew-Flores fight because it was such a mismatch. There was nothing to talk about. If Hearn had matched Bellew against Briedis, then there would have been something to talk about. If Bellew had beaten Briedis, then that would be big news to the boxing world, because there are many people who feel that Bellew can’t win that fight.
When asked when Bellew will be fighting next, Hearn said, “March the 4th at the O2. I’ve got it booked, if you want millions of pounds. Haye’s trying to get an interim belt. If Haye wants the payday [he’ll fight Bellew]. Hayes’ a big favorite [against Bellew]. As he said in his interview, ‘I’ll beat him with my left hand. So if he’s right and he thinks it’s an easy fight, he’ll take it. [Mairis] Briedis against [Simon] Vallily was a great fight. Briedis is a mandatory, so we have to look at that as well. Do we fight the mandatory and then look at Haye? Do we jump into the Haye fight? We’ll decide that over the next few months. Probably at the end of March [When Bellew will fight next].”
In response to a question of whether Bellew will fight Briedis next, Hearn said, “It depends if the Haye fight can get made. We’ll fight Briedis or do we fight Briedis in the interim? I don’t know. But the Haye fight has to take priority right now.”
Of course, Haye is going to take the fight with Bellew. It’s money in the bank for Haye. It’s too easy of a fight for him. Bellew is there to be hit, and the only reason he’s been winning lately is because he stopped fighting good opponents after his loss to Adonis Stevenson. None of the guys that Bellew has beaten at cruiserweight are the real talented ones in my opinion. Bellew is piling up wins over these guys: BJ Flores, IIlunga Makabu, Mateusz Masternak, Aturs Kulikauskis, Ivica Bacurin, Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Valery Brudov. Those aren’t the best guys at cruiserweight.
Haye is going to take the fight with Bellew because he’s got to stay busy while he waits for an eventual shot against IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. The fights against little known guys like Anthony Gjergjai and Mark De Mori aren’t big paying matches for Haye. He’s not going to take on a talented fighter at heavyweight and risk losing. Haye is just waiting for the title shot against Joshua. Haye wants to win the interim WBA title, but it remains to be seen if he’ll get that chance.
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