Booth gives Bellew a chance against Haye

By Boxing News - 03/01/2017 - Comments

Image: Booth gives Bellew a chance against Haye

By Scott Gilfoid: Adam Booth, the former trainer of David Haye, sees him beating cruiserweight Tony Bellew this Saturday night in their big fight at the O2 Arena in London, England. However, Booth is giving the 33-year-old Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs) a chance of winning the fight if he can take Haye deep into the fight.

Booth isn’t sure about what kind of condition Haye will be for the fight, because he didn’t put himself through a grueling camp. Booth notes that Haye’s last two fights against heavyweights Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj both ended early with 1st round knockouts. With Haye not having gone 12 rounds since his fight against Wladimir Klitschko in 2011, there is definitely some question marks in terms of his stamina.

With that said, does Bellew have the boxing skills and the chin to survive into the later rounds against Haye? For Bellew to test Haye’s stamina, he’s going to need to box him from the outside all night, and still take a certain amount of big power shots.

“Tony is battle-hardened over the past few years, whereas David has probably become battle-softened and the second half could expose that,” said Booth to “David to win early, but if Tony can cope with that heavy-handedness and drag him into a fight after the mid-stage.”

I wouldn’t harp on Bellew’s past career if I was Booth. If you’re going to predict the outcome of the Haye-Bellew fight, I think you can get a more accurate picture of who’s going to win the fight by looking at what Haye has recently done in his comeback in 2016. Haye put on 17 pounds of muscle, which he should have done years ago when Booth was training him, and he’s obliterated his last two opponents.

When Haye was a slender heavyweight at 210 pounds, he didn’t have the size to do well in the division. But now that he’s closer to the weights of the top heavyweights in the division, it puts him in the position where he can do well. The Haye-Bellew fight is little more than a circus level fight. This isn’t a real test for Haye. I’m surprised that Booth doesn’t know that. As a trainer, Booth should be able to see the fight for what it is – a mismatch and a business fight. Some boxing fans have already labeled the Haye vs. Bellew fight as a simple money grab. I wouldn’t disagree with that. But for Booth not to be able to see the Haye-Bellew fight for what it is, I think that’s scary. It tells me that Booth isn’t seeing things clearly.

I wouldn’t say that Bellew is “battle-hardened in the past three years like Booth maintains. I mean, let’s look at the guys that Bellew has fought and you can judge for yourself. In the last three years, Bellew has fought these guys in the last three years: BJ Flores, Ilunga Makabu, Mateusz Masternak, Arturs Kulikauskis, Ivica Bacurin, Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Dos Santos and Valery Brudov. I wouldn’t exactly call those fighters ones that would quality as tough challenges and definitely not ones in which Bellew can crow about him being battle-tested. Where are the talented cruiserweights on Bellew’s resume? Why hasn’t he fought Oleksandr Usyk, Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis, Krzystof Glowacki, Denis Lebedev, and Marco Huck?

“But knowing David and how old he is, he knows what he’s about, he knows what’s best for him, and he’ll want to train how he wants to train,” said Booth.

Well, with Haye’s history of training injuries, why would he want to risk a nice payday fight against Bellew by putting in a hard training camp for the Bellew fight? It didn’t make sense for Haye to put in a lot of effort in training camp for this fight, because he might have come up lame with some kind of injury or another, and that would mean no easy payday. Haye knows how easy this fight is against Bellew, so he wasn’t about to put himself through a labor intensive camp.

With Bellew’s flimsy resume in the last four years of his career, I don’t think he’s going to be ready to deal with Haye on Saturday night when he gets inside the ring with him. Unless Bellew has a great game plan for this fight that makes him unbeatable, I see him getting quietly knocked out in round 1, and sent back to the cruiserweight division. The good news for Bellew is he’ll still have his World Boxing Council cruiserweight title in his possession no matter what happens in the Haye fight.

The WBC has given Bellew a free shot to fight Haye and keep his WBC title rather than stripping him of his title. There’s nothing to lose for Bellew in this fight other than perhaps his pride in maybe getting knocked out. Bellew can go back own to cruiserweight afterwards and defend his WBC title against the winner of the Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis fight. Yeah, Bellew will probably lose to either of those guys, but at least it’ll be a payday for him.

Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn can figure out what to do with him after that happens. I can see Hearn either positioning Bellew to fight WBA World cruiserweight champion Beibut Shumenov or having him move up to heavyweight to try and position him against IF champion Anthony Joshua. The smart move for Bellew would be for him to stay at heavyweight after the loss to Haye, and then beat a handful of bottom feeder heavyweights to get a top 15 ranking in the division.

Hearn could then put together a nice little in house Matchroom Sport fight between Bellew and Joshua. As long as Hearn matches Bellew like he did at cruiserweight in putting him in with largely soft jobs at heavyweight, he should be able to keep winning long enough for him to get ranked at heavyweight and to fight Joshua.

With all the build up that has been done for the Haye vs. Bellew fight, I can see this fight being a BIG let down for the boxing fans. The fans are expecting a competitive fight on Saturday night. There’s a lot of the fans that will be purchasing it on Sky Box Office PPV, thinking it’s going to be a competitive affair. But when/if the fight turns out to be a one0sided blowout with Haye wiping the deck with Bellew, I think the fans are going to be hopping mad about it. The thing is if they had just listened to me, they would have know that it’s a business fight and a mismatch in favor of Haye.