The Big Question: Will Bellew vs Haye happen and if so who wins?

Boxing Monthly
27/10/2016 12:49pm

With Tony Bellew firing a volley of verbals at David Haye, we asked our online team what they thought of the mooted match-up between two stars of British boxing ...

If Bellew has any chance of winning, it has to be at cruiser. Rumours of fighting at a 'catchweight' limit of 215lbs play to Haye's advantage and natural weight zone. I don't see Haye coming down to 200lbs anymore, so I see him the victor - should the match happen ...

Like Brook, I'd like to see Bellew retain his cruiser title and be able to generate a well earned financial nest egg beyond this fight. One thing is for sure - Bellew will go out on his shield, so Haye better not go in thinking it's a walkover. It will certainly be a tougher fight than his last two at heavyweight ... not that either of those fights are worthy benchmarks ... - Paul Zanon

Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed he's agreed a 4 March 2017 PPV date with Sky and was clear at the Bellew vs Flores post-fight press conference that he'd like to pencil Haye vs Bellew in for that date. Bellew has called out Haye following both of his title wins, and it is seemingly his only obvious route to a PPV jackpot, given that the 200lb division is stacked with formidable but relatively unknown boxers.

As for whether Haye will sign up, he's rumoured to be in talks with Boxnation to help launch their PPV service in the wake of the Fury v Klitschko II cancellation, so the Bermondsey heavyweight - particularly with several heavyweight belts up for grabs - has options. He was also recently promised a mandated shot at the winner of the Joseph Parker vs Andy Ruiz vacant WBO championship bout.

David showed against Enzo Maccarinelli back in 2008 that he's happy to fight on rival promoters' cards if the price is right, memorably referring to that assignment as "free money". So, on the balance of probabilities, I reckon it will happen, possibly as a first defence if Haye wins one of the 'world' straps on offer.

Who will win? During an exciting three rounds against Flores, Bellew regularly threw caution to the wind, although he promised to employ different tactics against Haye. One of boxing's great cliches - namely that "a good big man beats a good little man" is likely to hold true here and at heavyweight I'll confidently pick Haye to win inside the distance. - Chris Williamson

In terms of whether the fight will happen, a lot will depend on how the heavyweight shuffle plays out, with Haye seemingly positioned to take on the winner of Parker vs Ruiz. Whilst Bellew may want to unify at cruiserweight there is a limited amount of cash available and Andrey Ryabinsky, who promotes leading cruisers Lebedev and Drozd, is able to easily outbid any one else financially. Besides, Bellew has already stated he won't be going to Russia so those bouts look unlikely to occur.

If neither Bellew or Haye can secure the fights they desire then a contest between them could well take place and it would certainly do great numbers on PPV and make all involved bundles of cash. As to who wins, I don't think there's any doubt that Haye would be too quick, too smart and too powerful and that Bellew's tendency to fight on emotion would see him get knocked out in four rounds. - Marcus Bellinger

The post-fight shenanigans between Bellew and Haye on 15 October were good fun and made for good TV but I can't help but feel Haye was plonked ringside to take the attention off what was a poor first defence for Tony Bellew. BJ Flores has never shown himself to be a world level fighter and I think Haye was a welcome distraction from that fact.

I think both Haye and Bellew have other priorities rather than fighting each other; Haye wants to win another belt at heavyweight and Bellew wants to unify at cruiserweight. However if neither can achieve their respective goals very soon then I can see a contest between them happening.

Should the fight happen, I think Haye will be too fast, hit too hard and just be too good for Bellew, even at 36. Haye in five. - Callum Rudge

Quite simply put, weight classes matter. Do I think the fight will happen? Maybe. Do I think the fight should happen? No. Who do I think wins? Haye.

Now don’t get me wrong, I feel that Bellew is vastly underrated, and even still now isn’t receiving the credit that he deserves for fighting a man that nobody else wanted to face (Makabu) and rising up from adversity (and the canvas) to secure one of the most brutal knockouts I’ve seen in recent memory.

But regardless of that, Bellew isn’t a heavyweight. He’s not even a particularly big cruiserweight, but fortunately he carries legitimate power at the weight and this has served him well thus far, accompanied with his strong jab that has vastly improved under the guidance of Dave Coldwell.

Under the reins of Shane McGuigan, Haye no longer has the bodybuilder physique that he once possessed, but he now seems to be bigger and stronger than ever before. Bellew may have been correct in saying that he and Haye have the same ‘dimensions’ but ask Kell Brook if that counts for much and he’ll tell you that it certainly doesn’t.

It’s common knowledge that Haye is hunting for big pay days and this may be the biggest money fight for him right now, but I think he knows that heavyweight is where the money really lies. If he get can get his hands on a belt sooner rather than later, then he should have a sustained period of big fights, rather than a one off, almost exhibition style fight potentially outside of his actual division.

Although Bellew has looked on fire recently, I don’t think you can back him against the bigger man on this occasion and, as history has shown us, Haye really is a special fighter. It would be a great shame if Haye didn’t get himself back amongst the top contenders at heavyweight, and with such a stacked division at cruiserweight, it would also be a great shame if Bellew was to leave that behind and vacate his title rather than have a shot at unifying it.

One thing I have learned in my years following boxing, though, is that you should never rule anything out. Although I think the fight would be a bad idea for both, logic often doesn’t play a part in this crazy game and we should always expect the unexpected. - Luke Byron

To my mind Bellew vs Haye would be a fun fight. You've got two larger than life characters with charisma, both of whom have the ability to throw hurt bombs. What's not to like?

Whether it happens or not is largely down to Haye, I feel, and how his options at heavyweight pan out, or don't pan out. He's meant to be back in action in December so his choice of opponent for that fight will be interesting. If he can then squeeze a Bellew match-up into his schedule early next year, before a heavyweight title shot of some sort, then it would make good business sense for him.

Furthermore, he certainly isn't scared of Bellew and he believes he has the measure of the Liverpudlian due to his superior size, speed and firepower. Having said that, it's worth remembering that the Hayemaker hasn't been in a competitive fight since 2012 so in many respects it's hard to know how much he has left in the tank. We'll only know for sure when he faces a live opponent and Bellew is certainly that, even if he would start as a heavy underdog. - Luke G. Williams