Tony Bellew was David Haye’s rival for the last two fights of Haye’s decorated professional boxing career, but despite the harsh words they traded before bouts, Bellew came away with a respect for Haye and offered these sentiments upon Haye announcing his retirement:
“I wish him well and would like to thank him for the opportunity in the first fight. He has had a fabulous career and will go down as one of the all-time British greats.”
Haye addressed Bellew in his farewell statement on his web site, and the respect is definitely mutual between the two after their fights:
“Despite the pre-fight hype, I can assure you I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for Tony. Whenever I traded punches with him, and whenever I was in his presence, I felt the inner warrior. I saw a man who would take the battle as far as necessary to get victory; a man who, like myself, would rather die than give up or quit; a man I’d want on my side of the battlefield if going to war.”
Haye retires as a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, with a career record of 28-4 (26 KO).