Hearn says Haye not an option for Joshua unless he beats Bellew

By Boxing News - 12/06/2017 - Comments

Image: Hearn says Haye not an option for Joshua unless he beats Bellew

By Marcus Richardson: David Haye isn’t in the running for a title shot against IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at the moment, but he could change all that if he beats Tony Bellew in their fight on May 5.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn says Haye could gain popularity with a win over Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs), and that in turn would make him a future possibility for AJ. Just how far into the future Hearn is talking about is the big question. Haye is 37-years-old, and there’s no telling how long he can wait around for a fight with Joshua if he beats Bellew. Hearn could effectively wait Haye out until he’s too old to fight Joshua effectively before he agrees to make the fight.

Just how much popularity Haye will get by beating the 34-year-old Bellew is hard to know? The boxing public has to know that Bellew isn’t one of the upper level heavyweights in the division. At best, Bellew is a fringe level contender, whose only win at heavyweight was against an injured Haye in their fight last March. If Haye beats Bellew, it’s not as if he defeated one of the top 5 contenders in the heavyweight division like Dillian Whyte, Jarrell Miller or Luis Ortiz. The popularity Haye gets from a win over Bellew might not be enough to create interest in a Joshua vs. Haye fight.

”If Haye were to win [against Bellew], then his popularity and the size of a fight [against Joshua] would mean it could be one to consider,” said Hearn to skysports.com. “If he beats Bellew he could make some noise about [fighting Joshua]. One of his big motivations is to fight Joshua but he isn’t on our radar, at the moment.”

Joshua’s radar in 2018 is to fight Joseph Parker, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. Those are the big three that Hearn and Joshua want in 2018. Hearn has already said that Dillian Whyte would be one of the leading names to plug into Joshua’s 2018 fight schedule if one of the above fights can’t get made. Haye likely wouldn’t be used by Hearn as a replacement to fill in for Wilder or Fury if he can’t schedule between one of them and Joshua next year. Haye isn’t one of Hearn’s Matchroom Sport fighters, and he doesn’t have the same popularity that Fury possesses right now. 6 years ago, Haye was one of the most popular heavyweights in the UK, but years of inactivity and injuries have caused his popularity to greatly diminish. Haye didn’t take advantage of his popularity when he had the chance from 2011 to 2014. Now that it’s 2017, Haye is now an afterthought for Joshua.

One way for Haye to get the attention of Joshua and Hearn is to start winning. Haye also needs to keep active. It won’t do Haye any good if he only wins every 2 years. Beating Bellew probably won’t be nearly enough to increase Haye’s popularity to the level where he can be given the fight against Joshua (20-0, 20 KOs). There have been too many years where Haye hasn’t done anything with his career. Just beating one old fighter in Bellew isn’t going to be enough to create the pressure on Hearn and Joshua to make the fight with Haye. What Haye needs is to defeat Bellew and 2 top heavyweight contenders for him to have a real shot at Joshua.

If Haye could beat someone like Dillian Whyte, Luis Ortiz or Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller, he’d increase his popularity in boxing almost immediately. Ortiz might be agreeable to fighting Haye, but it’s hard to imagine Hearn letting Whyte or Miller fight Haye. Hearn promotes Whyte and Miller, and might not want to let either of them risk their high ranking fighting Haye, especially if he defeats Bellew in an impressive fashion. A knockout victory by Haye over Bellew could scare away a lot of the top heavyweights that he needs to fight for him to increase his popularity enough to get a fight with Joshua. Miller is the type of heavyweight who would agree to fight Haye in a second, but he’s not the one that calls the shots on putting together his fights. He has 2 promoters that will make a decision of whether he should fight a guy like Haye, and they might not be open to that kind of a risky fight.