The focus of the British boxing world will be on the O2 Arena Saturday, as former world champion David Haye takes on Tony Bellew in an eagerly awaited heavyweight clash.
What’s clear is these two don’t like each other, as Tuesday’s heated press conference laid bare. And that should translate into an explosive encounter.
Haye in his pomp would be likely to win this fight easily, but it’s difficult to see how he could be anywhere near his prime. He has fought just twice since coming out of retirement, both easy knockouts which resulted in less than four minutes boxing, in total. And that’s without mentioning rumours of a new Achilles injury this week or talk of a relaxed training regime in the U.S..
Bellew holds WBC cruiserweight title, but this will be his first fight in the heavyweight division. He will not lack for motivation–there’s plenty of feeling in this bout–but may well have difficulty coping with Haye’s superior punch power early in the fight. But if he does he could take advantage of Haye’s likely ring rust.
Haye is the likely victor, but the betting value could well surround Bellew surviving the early onslaught to take advantage of a flagging opponent. Paddy Power offers 25/1 on Bellew winning in rounds 7-9.
Recommendation: Bellew to win in rounds 7-9 at 25/1 generally available