Malignaggi: Tony Bellew won’t beat Andre Ward

By Boxing News - 05/06/2018 - Comments

Image: Malignaggi: Tony Bellew won’t beat Andre Ward

By Scott Gilfoid: Paulie Malignaggi says Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) will NOT beat former two division world champion Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs). Bellew, 34, named Ward as one of the guys that he’s interested in fighting in his next fight after huge 5th round knockout of David Haye (28-4, 26 KOs) last Saturday night in their rematch in London, England.

The win for Bellew seemed to have gone to his head, as he said he wants “mega-star”, and then claimed that he keeps beating the top guys. The reality is far different. Bellew has never beaten a star before. He beat a FADED, injured and old star in Haye in his last two fights, but before that, Bellew’s wins came against BJ Flores, Illunga Makabu, Nathan Cleverly and several obscure cruiserweights and light heavyweights.

Bellew fled the cruiserweight division when he was place in the position where he was going to have to defend his WBC title against Mairis Briedis. You can argue Bellew scouted out a weak opponent at the end of his career in David Haye, and he cherry picked the fight rather than stay at cruiserweight and defend against Briedis, who he probably would have lost badly to.

The perception by a lot of boxing fans is Bellew ducked the Briedis fight and fled the cruiserweight division without facing the murderers row fighters Oleksandr Usyk, Murat Gassiev, Yunier Dorticos, Krzystof Glowacki and Denis Lebedev.

“Maybe it’s a good fight because both guys aren’t big, so maybe he won’t get hurt,” Malignaggi said to Fighthype about Bellew fighting Ward. ”He’s a smaller cut like it was when he was coming up. But he WON’T beat Andre Ward, and I don’t think he’ll beat the cruiserweights in the World Boxing Super Series either,” Malignaggi said in giving his thoughts on Bellew fighting Ward, Gassiev or Usyk.

I think it’s academic that Bellew will be totally schooled if he fights Ward, Usyk or Gassiev next. Well, in the case of Gassiev, Bellew won’t be schooled necessarily, just badly hurt and knocked out. Gassiev would walk through the left hooks that Bellew was hurting Haye with and knock him out with a left to the body or left to the head.

Gassiev has so many different punches that he can throw for a knockout. It would be a nightmare for Bellew. Gassiev is a more disciplined fighter than Haye, so you’re not going to see him throwing wide left hooks during exchanges. But even if Gassiev did throw those kinds of shots, he would take Bellew’s shots and fire back a huge shot of his own to knockout him. Bellew would be so far out of his league that it wouldn’t be funny. Gassiev and Usyk would be far too good for Bellew, as would Ward, Glowacki, Dorticos and Lebedev. I would also favor Mie Perez to beat Bellew. There’s perhaps as many as 8 other cruiserweights that would likely beat Bellew as well. Bellew literally fled from the cruiserweight division without facing any of these dangerous guys.

”He won’t beat Andre Ward, and if he doesn’t fight the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweights, which I don’t think he can beat either, where are you going to go? You might as well retire,” Malignaggi said about Bellew. ”The Ward fight is risk-free as far as damage. So you could go and make a lot of money without and not get hurt. I’d be really stupid to say walk away from all that money. If he fights Andre Ward, he makes a lot of money,” Malignaggi said.

The question is will a fight between Bellew and Ward sell in the UK? That fight won’t sell in the U.S, that’s for sure. I don’t know if there’s anyone in the U.S that Ward could fight that would sell. Dmitry Bivol isn’t a big enough star yet, and Adonis Stevenson is not popular in the U.S.

If Bellew-Ward is going to make any money, it’s going to be from the British boxing fans, and I’m not sure that Ward is a big enough name in the UK for it to be a big money maker. Bellew-Haye made a lot of money because Haye is from the UK and well-known with both the hardcore and casual boxing fans. Ward is not well known over there other than with the hardcore fans. It would be better for Bellew to take on a relevant champion that is still fighting rather than continuing to cherry pick fighters that are on done with the sport. Ward is retired, and he hasn’t fought in 11 months. Some boxing fans think Ward retired because he didn’t want to have to fight Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol, who are two guys that he would have a lot of pressure from fans to face if he had stuck around the sport.

”I can’t blame him,” Malignaggi said about Bellew wanting to fight Ward. ”It’s hard to say I’m not going to fight Andre Ward and I’m going to retire on top. If you fight Andre Ward, you’re probably not going to have the life-changing damage in that fight, but I think he’ll lose. Andre Ward hasn’t lost a fight since he was 12-years-old. Do you know what that means? That’s phenomenal,” Malignaggi said.

Bellew’s promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t saying whether he’ll try and make the Ward fight for Bellew, but of course he will. It won’t be an easy fight to make, as Ward is a tough negotiator. It’ll be a doable for the right amount of money.

If Bellew stays at heavyweight, the options are all bad for him unless he’s just out for money. If the idea is not about picking guys that Bellew can beat with a high degree of certainty, then it’s possible that Hearn could wheel and deal and put together a fight between Bellew and Tyson Fury, Hughie Fury or Joseph Parker in the short term. Those guys would all beat Bellew, but he’ll make a lot of money fighting them. If Bellew fights the contenders like Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev, Luis Ortiz or Jarrell Miller, I think he’ll be knocked out by all of them. Those guys are not over-the-hill like Haye and dealing with calf problems like he was.