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David Haye using more relaxed approach to Bellew rematch

By Marcus Richardson: Tony Bellew is up in arms about David Haye adopting a new passive approach to marketing their May 5th rematch on Sky Box Office at the O2 Arena in London, England. Bellew, 34, doesn’t think Haye’s humble stance will work for him to avenge his loss from last March.

Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) was beaten by Bellew (29-2, 19 KOs) in an 11th round stoppage on the 4th of March after he slipped and fell outside of the round while taking blows.

Haye and Bellew met on Wednesday in a press conference to talk about their May 5th rematch on Sky Box Office. Haye wasn’t interested in a verbal jousting with Bellew, and his clearly bothered the Liverpool native. He didn’t care for Haye rolling over on him during the press conference and not giving him anything to counter.

“I love you Tony Bellew. You’ve got a great haircut. My opinion of you has changed because you beat me,” Haye said. “I’m not taking the bait this time. I can’t be bothered. I’m just going to train. I won’t allow you get into my psyche. I won’t allow it.”

It’s good that Haye isn’t going to let Bellew get into his head by going back and forth with him in verbal battles in their press conferences ahead of their rematch on the 5th of May. However, it might not be good for Bellew that Haye isn’t willing to help trash talk to hype their fight, because if he has little to say during the press conferences, it might hurt the marketing of the fight.

The only thing Haye’s more humble approach to the Bellew rematch will hurt is the selling of the fight. The more anger that is generated between the two fights the more PPV buys it’ll bring in. The fighters will have been out of the ring for 14 months by the time they face each other on May 5th. The inactivity more than anything will hurt the event. When Bellew-Haye fought each other last year, Bellew was still viewed as one of the best fighters in the cruiserweight division.

Now with the World Boxing Super Series tournament having created new stars in Murat Gassiev, Oleksandr Usyk and Yunier Dorticos, Bellew is viewed as yesterday’s news. He’s now an older fighter that is just looking to put together money fights other older fighters. That’s not a good thing for Bellew and Haye. They’re fight is more of a celebrity match against aging, over-the-hill former world champions than a fight between relevant fighters.

“All that anger didn’t work for me last time. In any other sport, whether you hate someone or love someone, you want to win,” Haye said.

The thing that could Haye derail Haye’s chances of winning the rematch with Bellew is if he suffers an injury before or during the fight. Last time, Haye injured his Achilles tendon in round 6, and this led to Bellew taking over and winning. Bellew was trailing in the fight until Haye hurt his leg. Haye still had the power, speed and the size advantage over Bellew last time, and that probably will be enough for him to win the rematch as long as he doesn’t get hurt again. It’s a big if. Haye has injury problems for the last 7 years, and that’s limited his ability to get important fights. Haye missed out on a big money fight with Tyson Fury due to an injury and he had a fight with Manuel Charr fall though for the same reason.

“I just hope you don’t become a Buddhist before the fight. I’m waiting for you to crack open some holy prayers. It’s just a fight,” Bellew said.

It would be a good idea for the 34-year-old Bellew to move on after the rematch with Haye so he doesn’t waste too much more time with him. Bellew has invested 14 months of his career with the rematch with Haye. Whatever money that Bellew will get for the second fight with the 37-year-old Haye, you have to realize that he’s missed out on at least 2 fights while waiting. If Bellew did fight someone, he probably would have lost if he faced a good heavyweight or cruiserweight. Bellew wouldn’t be favored if he fought the likes of Murat Gassiev, Usyk, Dorticos or Dillian Whyte. Those fighters can punch, and they’ve been a lot more active than Bellew has.

Bellew would like to fight the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament finals between Gassiev and Usyk. That’s a possibility for Bellew if he’s willing to meet the Usyk-Gassiev winner in the heavyweight division, because that’s where both of them are heading after the WBSS tournament is over with. At least if Bellew fights one of those guys, he’ll have a better chance of facing them without the fight being postponed once or twice. Even a fight between Bellew and the loser of the Gassiev vs. Usyk fight would be an interesting one, because he would still wind up facing a good opponent. Bellew vs. Dorticos would be an excellent fight as well if he were willing to take on the hard hitting Cuban knockout artist.

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