By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew weighed in at 210 pounds on Friday at the weigh-in for his rematch with former 2 division world champion David ‘Haymaker’ Haye this Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London, England. There was a lot of jawing back and forth during the face off between the two fighters, but it looked like they were doing more so to show off rather than there being a lot of bad blood between them. This was a calmer weigh-in than last year between the two.
Bellew’s lighter weight represents a 3-pound drop from the 213 lbs. that he weighed for his previous fight with Haye (28-3, 26 KOs) on March 24 last year. Given that both fighters have been out of the ring for an entire year, it’s possible that the drop in weight for the two of them could be a product of muscle atrophy. If you don’t work out for an entire year, you’re going to lose a significant amount of muscle. It’s possible that Haye and Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KOs) are lighter because of them sitting around, licking battle wounds from their fight last year. Bellew suffered a hand injury while Haye dealt with a ruptured Achilles. Both fighters were on the shelf for a significant period of time recovering from the injuries.
At the end of the weigh-in, Bellew didn’t shove Haye like he had done at the final press conference on Thursday. There was plenty of security around both fighters when they stood for the face off. There would have been no excuse for Bellew shoving Haye a second time, as he didn’t invade his space, which was the excuse given by Tony for pushing him at the final press conference. It’s good that there wasn’t any extracurricular stuff going on that could have jeopardized Saturday’s fight.
Bellew looked as chunky as he did back them. I couldn’t tell any difference at all in his physique. Bellew had visible fat around his midsection and his jowls. He looked like he’s carrying around 15 to 20 lbs. of excess fat. If you strip away the excess fat that Bellew is carrying around, he would be in the 190s, which is what light heavyweights rehydrate to for their fights. As such, Bellew is still basically a light heavyweight but with 15 to 20 lbs. of fat that he’s put on to fight at heavyweight. This is a product of Bellew moving up in weight from the cruiserweight division, and not putting the right kind of weight on. For his part, Haye weighed in at 220 lbs. This is a drop of 4 lbs. from the 224 lbs. that he weighed for the first fight with Bellew. Although Haye looks in good shape, he didn’t seem very fast in his sparring video with Malik Scott. Haye was getting caught repeatedly by jabs and combinations in the brief video clip. Haye is going to need to be better than that on Saturday if he wants to beat Bellew.
“The only thing that’s getting dragged out is me hitting you with body shots. Your 37-year-old body can’t do what my body can do,” Bellew said to Sky Sports News. “He really thinks I didn’t get in the ring with the real David Haye. Someone please show me who I was facing?”
Haye looked like he came into the Bellew fight last year with a calf injury already in place. There had been tons of rumors floating around that Haye had suffered a calf injury in training camp. During the early portion of the fight, Haye wasn’t moving well on his feet, and he wasn’t going after Bellew when he would land a shot at retreat. It looked to me like Haye had an injury to his leg. When his leg finally gave out on him in the 6th, I wasn’t surprised at all. I saw it coming from a mile away.
Haye suffered a bicep injury during training camp that required for the rematch with Bellew to be postponed until May 5. Hopefully, Haye’s bicep, Achilles and right shoulder holds up during the fight. Haye had had surgery now on all three of those areas in the past.
In other weights on the card, heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (3-0, 3 KOs) weighed in at 251 ½ pounds for his fight against Commonwealth heavyweight champion Lenroy Thomas (22-4-1, 10 KOs). The 33-year-old Thomas weighed in 21 pounds lighter at 230 ½ lbs. for their 12 round fight. Joyce’s weight is right about where he usually weighs. He came in at 250 lbs. for his last fight against Donnie Palmer on March 17. Joyce stopped Palmer in the 1st round. Thomas defeated Matchroom Boxing stable fighter David Allen by a 12 round split decision last year in May. Some saw the win as an upset, but I wasn’t surprised. Allen is a very raw fighter, who can easily be out-boxed, and Thomas has good boxing skills. He’s not a huge puncher, but he can box when facing fighters with primitive skills like Allen. Joyce is expected to easily beat Thomas. I don’t see any surprises in this fight. Joyce is too big and way too talented for Thomas.
Paul Butler (26-1, 14 KOs weighed in at 118 lbs. for his fight against unbeaten talent Emmanuel Rodriguez (17-0, 12 Ks) in their fight for the vacant IBF bantamweight title. Rodriguez weighed in at 117 ½ lbs. Ryan Burnett was supposed to defend against Rodriguez, but he chose to vacate his IBF belt instead. Some boxing fans feel that Burnett wanted no part of the highly skilled Puerto Rican fighter Rodriguez, who had an impeccable amateur career. Rodriguez is seen as a future star in boxing. The 29-year-old Butler is really up against it in this fight. It’s going to take the best performance of Butler’s career for him to win on Saturday night. Can Butler do it? It’s possible, but I’m not counting on it. I see this fight as a simple mismatch. The 25-year-old Rodriguez is too fast, too strong and too young for Butler. What Butler has going for him besides home country advantage is his nice 9-fight winning streak that he’s accumulated since his 8th round blowout loss to Zolani Tete in March 2015. That fight was a massacre. Tete was way too strong for Butler. Rodriguez has the same kind of talent and power that Tete possesses, which tells you what Butler is up against on Saturday night.
Lightweight Luke Campbell (17-2, 14 KOs) weighed in at 136 ½ lbs. for his fight against journeyman Troy James (20-5-1, 5 KOs). For his part, James weighed in at a whopping 147 lbs. James appeared to be at least five inches shorter than the 5’9” southpaw Campbell. James fights at featherweight, but in his last fight he fought at light welterweight for a six round match against Henry Janes last March. James is a late addition to the card as the opponent for Campbell, who wants to stay busy to help get ready for his rematch against Yvan Mendy in his next fight.