By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew claims that his promoter Eddie Hearn is in talks with unbeaten retired former 2 division world champion Andre ‘SOG’ Ward for a fight after his May 5th rematch against David Haye at the O2 Arena in London, UK.
Bellew, 34, says he thinks he can beat Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) if the fight comes off.
Bellew wants to continue to be in the money fights after he gets through with his fight against Haye (28-3, 26 KOs), and he feels that a fight against the 33-year-old Ward will bring him that money. I’m not sure that Bellew has been keeping up with Ward’s last two fights against Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev in the States, but neither of those fights did big numbers on HBO PPV.
If Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) is going to bring in big money, it’ll have to be from the UK side, because Ward-Bellew won’t sell in the U.S. Bellew is an obscure fighter in the eyes of the casual boxing fans in the States. Bellew would be better off trying to lure the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament between Murat Gassiev and Oleksandr Usyk to face him next after Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) rather than Ward. I’m just saying.
” It’s a possibility I’ll fight Andre Ward after David Haye. We’ve had conversations within the last six weeks. I’ll leave that to Eddie [Hearn]. I believe I can beat him,” Bellew said to the metro.co.uk. ”Ward may be publicly retired, but that’s not what his team are saying.”
If this pipe dream on Bellew’s part does come to fruition for a fight between him and Ward, I can’t see him doing well at all. Ward will end up taking Bellew to school and giving him a royal mugging like he did with Kovalev in their two fights. I don’t rate Bellew as being on the same level as Kovalev, and look what the talented Ward did to him. He made Kovalev look like an inexperienced prospect instead of the unified light heavyweight champion of the world.
Ward will take criticism from boxing fans if he makes a comeback to fight Bellew instead of WBA 175 lb. champion Dmitry Bivol or IBF belt holder Artur Beterbiev. A lot of boxing fans think Ward retired from the sport to avoid having to fight Bivol and Beterbiev. Ward would have had to fight Bivol and Beterbiev if he had held onto his IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles. In looking at Bivol’s recent win over Sullivan Barrera, I think he would have had a really hard time beating him. Bivol is fast, powerful, and he doesn’t have the same stamina problems that Kovalev showed in his two losses to Ward.
If Ward comes out of retirement, he needs to fight Bivol rather than Bellew. Heck, Bellew should fight Bivol. I’d like to see those two faces each other in a cruiserweight match. I would pick Bivol to beat Bellew easily even if he were giving away 15 to 20 lbs. of weight. Bivol is simply a better all-around fighter than Bellew. I don’t see Bellew going the full 12 round distance against a talent like Bivol or Beterbiev if there were a way for those fights to happen. Bellew will need to lose of that weight he’s carrying around. He’s starting to look a little flabby around the jowls. That weight has got to come off if he wants to beat the likes of Ward or even Haye.
The whole problem with Bellew talking about a fight against Ward is the timing. This is not the time for Bellew to be talking up a fight against Ward, because he still unfinished business with Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) on May 5th. I could understand perfectly well Bellew talking up a fight with Ward if he was already past the Haye rematch and he had the victory over him, but that’s not the case. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about Bellew and his ability to defeat an uninjured Haye.
Unlike a lot of boxing fans, I happen to remember the previous Haye-Bellew fight, and I saw it was being played out with a ring rusty looking Haye getting the better of Bellew with his jab alone. That’s all Haye needed for him to dominate Bellew. The only reason the fight turned around for Bellew is because Haye suffered an Achilles injury in round 6. Without that injury, I think the fight would have continued to be dominated by Haye until Bellew was forced to get desperate and stand and trade. At that point, Bellew would have been knocked out. In the first 5 rounds against a healthy Haye, Bellew was using a hit and run style. He would land a shot and then dash away from Haye. Bellew looked very timid, and it was not a formula that he would win the fight with. It was spoiling on Bellew’s part. Once Haye realized that Bellew was just looking to land and run, he started jabbing him and catching him with hard shots to the head. At that point, Bellew was doing nothing and it looked like the fight was going to play out to be a one-sided affair.
Personally, I don’t give Bellew any chance of beating Haye in the rematch. No, I take that back. I do give Bellew a chance, but only if Haye suffers another debilitating injury like in the first fight. If Haye gets injured, then Bellew can possibly win. Even with Haye injured, I still have doubts Bellew can beat him, because he’s not talented enough to beat him. On one leg last year in March, Haye was nailing Bellew with monstrous shots in the 11th round. Haye’s trainer at the time Shane McGuigan made the mistake of having the fight stopped after he slipped out of the ring in the 11th. If you look at the action, Haye slipped out of the ring. He wasn’t hurt. McGuigan should have let Haye climb back in and continue fighting, because he was looking for a knockout and there was still the 12th round ahead of him.