David Haye v Tony Bellew II – The Verdict

Repeat or revenge? We find out this weekend, as David Haye takes on Tony Bellew for a second time and depending on how it ends, it may not conclude the bitter rivalry.

Bellew, 35 from Liverpool, won the first fight in March 2017 when an incapacitated Haye, 37 from London, was pulled out by former trainer Shane McGuigan in the 11-round after suffering a ruptured Achilles in the sixth-round.

The ‘Hayemaker’, a former two-weight world champion, put in the worst performance of his 15-year-long career with outrageously wild swings seen from outer space, which Bellew avoided with ease.

We all know that a prime Haye beats Bellew, most would say by knockout, but unfortunately his prime is long gone.

Haye is now an ageing, injury-prone shadow of his former self. He went into the first fight believing he was in a better place than he actually was, and grossly underestimated his game opponent, who had a far greater chin, heart and skillset than he initially thought.

In recent interviews Haye has admitted going back to basics with new trainer Ismael Salas, who has trained 19 world champions, and adopting a better mindset, and not undervaluing his bitter rival this time. That makes me trust that he will enter this fight with a far better attitude than before.

Bellew boxed very clever to bag the win in their first meeting, but he was helped enormously by having a debilitated opponent in front of him.

‘Bomber’ will try to fight the same way by countering his elder opponent. His hit and don’t get hit tactics worked wonders last year and also frustrated the Londoner, which is what he will hope to happen again on this first weekend of May.

When he did cop one from Haye full on, he took it incredibly well, much to Haye’s dismay, so he is going to be hard to stop in his tracks and I think Haye knows that this time.

I don’t believe that Bellew will take any risks and will have even more confidence and self-belief in this rematch. He will keep it moving, keep it long, and counter whenever the opportunity is there, but David may not be lunging in wildly this time, so I don’t believe the Liverpudlian will have the same kind of success.

Bellew was so pleased with his career-defining win and subsequent bank balance that he may just have that little less purpose to win this fight. That said, he is a consummate professional and has trained hard yet again for this bout, but he was so made up over winning the first fight and being able to sit back comfortably on the money that he had earned for his family that perhaps that flame may have dimmed just ever so slightly.

However, he will be very eager to prove to everyone that it wasn’t just a fluke against a one-legged opponent and that he can beat a fit and healthy Haye. A win would secure his legacy and allow him to retire with more credibility than when he became a world champion on his third attempt.

Haye has the longer reach, his stamina has never been in question, so I suspect that he will aim to use both his reach advantage and endurance to win this fight over the distance and if the KO becomes available then I think he will take it.

Last time, he relied solely on power, believing that if he landed one trademark Hayemaker then it would all be over, but he was wrong and very wide of the mark! He knows everything about that last fight was wrong and I truly believe that he has corrected that now, as he as been a bit more silent in the build up to this fight, knowing that he will allow his boxing to do the talking instead.

I expect Haye to be careful, conservative and considered in his approach, far more patient and less frustrated.

I still believe that Haye can knock Bellew out, but I think he will play the long game and won’t go looking for it so hungrily like before, especially since he rightfully respects his foe’s durability this time around.

I expect Bellew to further gain everyone’s respect with a great performance, but I predict Haye to get his revenge and win on points.

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