It’s official. WBC cruiserweight titlist Tony Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KOs) will make the move to heavyweight to take on David Haye (28-2, 26 KOs) in a domestic grudge match. The two men will face off at London’s O2 arena on March 4th with the fight being aired live on Sky Sports.
“The public demand for me to violently knockout Tony ‘The Bell-End’ Bellew was simply too strong,” said Haye. “The country is fed up of his constant yapping. Even in his home town of Liverpool, I would be stopped in the street by people begging me to spectacularly send him into retirement.”
Bellew recently won his first world title in May when he stopped Ilunga Makabu in three rounds. He then made the first defense of his WBC strap when he took on BJ Flores in October, also stopping him in three rounds. Bellew and Haye would immediately get into an on-air dust up directly following Bellew’s title defense, for which Haye was sitting ringside, but now they’ll fight for real — and Haye insists that there will be no more happy endings for Bellew once they formally meet in the ring.
“Bellew is completely delusional if he thinks he can beat me. He still thinks he's on the set of Creed and there will be some kind of Rocky style happy ending. But come March 4th at The 02 in London I will bring reality crashing down on him.
Haye, who retired after stopping Dereck Chisora in mid-2012, made his boxing comeback at the top of the year when he took on lightly regarded Mark de Mori. As was expected, Haye made short work of de Mori, knocking him out in the first round. Haye then took on another soft touch in Arnold Gjergjaj this past May, whom he also quickly dispatched in two rounds.
It had been expected that Haye would next be taking on Shannon Briggs after making public promises to do so if Briggs fought and won on his last undercard, which Briggs did, but Haye ended up backing out of that deal. Now both Haye and Bellew will be facing the toughest challenge either man has faced in years, and Bellew says he knows exactly what he’s signed up for.
“I've backed him into a corner, left him nowhere to go, and now I have what I want,” said Bellew. “I'm not under any illusions, I know exactly what I am going up against, it's big risk, big reward.”
What say you, fight fans? How do you feel about this match-up? Who are you favoring to emerge victorious?