David Haye vs. Tony Bellew Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Saturday, March 4, 2017
Where: O2 Arena, London, England
TV: Sky Sports
Weight Class: Heavyweights: 12 Rounds
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
David Haye, 28-2 (26 KOs), London, England
Tony Bellew, 28-2-1 (18 KOs), Liverpool, England
Betting Odds: David Haye -700, Tony Bellew +500
Over/Under: Over 7.5 (+160), Under 7.5 (-210)
In big heavyweight action from London on March 4, David Haye takes on Tony Bellew in an interesting grudge-match that should spark considerable interest. Haye, a former titleholder at cruiserweight and heavyweight, is looking to make another run at 36 years of age and a win here could lead to some bigger things. Bellew, 34, is the current WBC champion at cruiserweight and certainly picked a tough opponent for his first heavyweight bout. Haye is a heavy favorite, but let's see what comes out on the right side of the equal-sign after we weigh all the evidence. Either way, Haye vs. Bellew looks to be a matchup that will provide considerable drama.
Haye has a lot of advantages heading into this fight. He has lost just one fight since 2004 and that was to the best heavyweight of the era in Wladimir Klitschko. He wasn't a heavyweight his whole career, so it's not like Bellew is taking on a giant-sized heavyweight. By the same token, Haye is by far the more-robust fighter—a solid and well-muscled heavyweight who looks like he belongs. In contrast, Bellew is really a big light heavyweight who doesn't seem all that trim even at the 200-pound weight limit. Haye's major asset and the point of the most concern for Bellew fans and potential backers is his crippling punching power. While not fluid or a great study in pure boxing skill, the man can hit like a ton of bricks. His KO power is true and natural—the kind of pure power that you don't often see.
Alas, Haye does have some issues of concern, especially for such a resounding favorite. Everything built up for a title challenge of Klitschko, a bout he lost in lopsided fashion in 2011. After all the build-up, Haye did much of nothing for 12 rounds in as big a letdown performance in recent memory. He has fought a grand total of three times since then—a big KO of Dereck Chisora in 2012 and two perfunctory wins. His career is somewhat aimless at this point. After beating Chisora, he took over 3 years off. Now with the clock ticking, he's getting more active with two fights in 2016. But has the window passed for Haye? While Bellew has been taking part in challenging fights, Haye has been on the sidelines with a few undemanding KO wins mixed in.
Still, let's not neglect the advantages Haye possesses. Beyond mere size and girth is the fact that he's just the more explosive human being. Haye is unquestionably the more impressive overall athlete—capable of generating more menace with his superior physicality. That doesn't mean there aren't areas that Bellew can't exploit. Haye, like a lot of one-dimensional KO punchers, is not a terribly-gifted infighter. He needs room to work his power game. Maybe Bellew can smother him. Haye's age and inactivity is also a concern and possible advantage for Bellew. Haye has also been plagued by iffy stamina—the cause of his only other loss to Carl Thompson. Haye has never thrived in the late rounds and despite being an elder statesman of sorts, he's not really what you would call a skilled veteran. He bombs from long-range and looks for the KO.
Bellew faces some big questions entering this fight. Again, even at 200 pounds, he seems to be pushing the envelope from a size standpoint. Who has he faced to prime him for the punching power that he will taste in this fight? Ilunga Makabu? Even the better light heavyweights and cruiserweights he has faced have been finesse guys. The jump in power here is astronomical. And while not wanting to read too much into the pre-fight buildup, which has been over-the-top, Bellew has gotten maybe a bit carried away, awakening the ire of Haye, while perhaps appearing a bit too concerned.
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To his credit, Bellew is a gutsy guy, in addition to being deceivingly savvy and a very determined and prideful fighter. For such an underdog, he has some edges. One is in the stamina department. He has thrived in the late stages of fights before. The question is if he can steadfastly stay on what is a viable path to victory—a game-plan that calls for an inside game where he peppers Haye, leans on him, and hopes to turn it into a slog. With Bellew, we're talking about an ambitious fighter who now has a golden opportunity at his feet against a fighter who has a lot more power, but also flaws that can be exploited.
Again, we don't want to wax too optimistic on Bellew. Sometimes, all elements of a fight-analysis are rendered moot when superior firepower surfaces. If Haye were to land some powerful combinations and end this fight in short order, it wouldn't register a tremendous amount of surprise. Typically, however, when betting on a -700 favorite, you'd like a clear head. With Haye, we're dealing with a lot of potential drawbacks and issues. He's 36 and untested in recent years at a high level. His stamina and chin were never top-notch. Haye is not fluid and his boxing ability on an overall level is not terribly high. Haye would seem to be a dicey proposition in a drag-out kind of fight at this point considering his recent track record. With the chance of an early stoppage looming, I'm taking a position on the under, which will serve as a sort of hedge on a bet on the underdog.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Tony Bellew at +500 and under 7.5 rounds at -210. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the David Haye vs. Tony Bellew fight from the comfort of your own home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!