Haye vs Bellew – Post Fight

5th March 2017
By Neel Khagram

A fight full of drama from the ring walk through to the 11th round stoppage, the pre-fight consensus was ripped up as the Liverpool bomber left the ring victorious. However, this barely tells the full story.

As David Haye walked out in pedestrian fashion to his remixed song of ‘Aint No Stopping Us Now,’ was the ‘Hayemaker’ entertaining the thought of this being his last hurrah or was he simply soaking in the energy of the 21,000 packed 02 crowd? Whatever the case, the image of Tony Bellew dancing in nonchalant fashion at his opponents song was a sight to behold. It seemed as if something was in the air. Haye never looked once at the Liverpudlian upon stepping into the ring whilst Bellew never took his eyes of him. The Bomber was there to win.

Once the action commenced, rounds one to five could be summed up pretty easily. Haye looked ring rusty in the opener, over reaching as Bellew caught his opponent with a left hook to show the world he was not in there to make up the numbers. The second was more even, whilst rounds three to five saw a more composed Haye investing a lot of his work to the body to take the sessions.

Then came round six. With one minute and forty five seconds left, Haye retreated onto his back foot and visibly injured his achilles/ankle and the fight was Bellew’s to lose thereafter. In truth, witnessing a man realise in front of the world that his career was in crisis due to powers outside of his jurisdiction was sad to see. To Haye’s credit, he showcased tremendous heart and courage to stick to the task in the hope of landing the equaliser but the fight was gone. Boxers generate power and move in and out of range with their legs but Haye simply couldn’t’. The towel was justifiably thrown by the corner in the eleventh round upon Haye hitting the canvas for a second time in the contest as Bellew reigned supreme.

Aside from the injury which was an obvious advantage, Bellew must take credit for the skill and chin he showed. His feet and range control was impressive early on as well as his own body work too. The ‘Bomber’ also broke his hand in the second round but kept his composure throughout to finish the job and shock the world in what played out to be a real life Rocky story.

Preview: Haye vs Bellew / Garcia vs Thurman
26th February 2017 
By Neel Khagram

In an era of “fake news,” I would hasten to label this Saturdays bouts as “fake rivalries.” However, when David Haye and Tony Bellew exchange punches at a pre-fight press conference in London and Danny Garcia’s father and Keith Thurman ridicule each other with verbal assaults in the same scenario across the pond, one can be forgiven for buying into the hype. It is the pantomime of the science many people love beyond the thirty six minutes of action inside the squared circle, and a tool the protagonists use to build and sell the fight to their paying audience.

To let such hyperbole overshadow the quality of each fight would be wrong. When breaking down Haye vs Bellew at London’s O2, the main question surrounds the 36 year old Bermondsey resident and whether he still possesses the same speed and reflex which his whole style is reliant upon. If still intact, the jab shooting up from the hip to set up the big right hand could be too much for Bellew. The Liverpudlian has even gone on record to say that the David Haye who went to Paris and ripped the WBA and WBC cruiserweight world titles from Jean Marc Mormeck in 2007 would trouble him.

Bellew’s confidence in taking this fight comes from the fact he is not facing the same pugilist of 2007 but a man who has been inactive and not fought anyone of note since 2012. In contrast, the “Bomber” is in the midst of the most successful period of his career having stepped up to cruiserweight and achieved his ultimate goal of becoming WBC word champion at Goodison Park last year.

In my opinion there is no doubt that Bellew has to take this fight into the later rounds to win. His feet to get in and out of range is underrated, and if he were to implement a game plan to take the fight long then things could get interesting. Haye will be dangerous early on, but if he does not close the show in the first third of the fight then one cannot see him having the snap and stamina to run the course. The safe money will be on Haye within 4 or 5 rounds, but a Bellew win via late stoppage should not surprise anyone.

The Garcia vs Thurman matchup a few hours later at New York’s Barclays Centre is intriguing. A bout of two equally matched, undefeated world champions in the highly competitive 147lbs division is a real pick’em fight.

Garcia is the former unified 140lbs world champion and current WBC welterweight title holder.  Having overcome the likes of Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse in 2012 and 2013, ‘Swift’ has not gained the plaudits an undefeated 2 weight champion deserves. This is because he gained favourable decisions against Mauricio Herrera and Lamont Peterson before facing faded champions Paul Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero (where he won the vacant WBC welterweight title) and the little known Samuel Vargas in his last 3 consecutive outings.

WBA title holder Keith Thurman, alias ‘One Time’ is a champion who has a solid reputation on the circuit as a talented boxer with knockout power in either hand. Apart from his last fight against Shawn Porter though, the level of opposition he has faced does compare with Garcia. Whilst this does not always mean much, he will require a step up in performance from his displays against Leonard Bundu and a common opponent in Robert Guerrero if he is to unify the division.

In a clash of two hard hitters, Garcia’s extra experience could be vital. Coupled with his mid-range fighting, devastating hooks and granite chin, the man from Philadelphia has more than enough in his arsenal to win.  Thurman is definitely the purer boxer of the two though and possesses greater ring generalship and the natural ability to keep things long and control the pace of the fight.  These qualities may just edge the contest his way but in truth one cannot be confident in predicting the winner.