By Patrik Kuitunen
After his 2011 loss to the great Wladimir Klitschko, Haye’s rise back to the top of heavyweight boxing has taken a while.
After beating Dereck Chisora, he took a three-year hiatus which ended in January 2016. ‘The Haymaker’s’ comeback has produced two stoppages against limited opposition in Mark De Mori and Arnold Grejgjaj.
But on March 4th, at London’s O2 Arena, he will finally face a worthy foe in Tony Bellew.
Haye is on the back nine of his career. However, it’s safe to say that he’s here to stay, at least for a bit. The 37-year old clearly wants to accomplish something big before calling it quits. But first, he has to deal with ‘The Bomber’.
Bellew is also no spring chicken. The 34-year old is experienced, especially at cruiserweight, but his move to heavyweight for this fight raises some doubts.
In terms of size, there isn’t much of a difference between the two. Bellew is 6ft 3in, as is Haye, and ‘The Bomber’ is definitely worthy of his nickname.
The Liverpudlian has 18 knockout wins, including four in his last five fights. Bellew has the talent and aggression to cause serious problems, especially in the early rounds. He never tends to shy away from brawls, which was evident in his fight against BJ Flores.
The problem with Bellew is that while talented, he has never really crafted his skills to perfection. ‘The Bomber’ has a habit of fading away, having emptied the gas tank too early, which is always the downside of brawling.
Meanwhile, Haye has the clear advantage in terms of speed, power and accuracy.
If he’s tempted into going toe-to-toe, we might even see Bellew landing a couple of surprising shots early on.
But if Haye utilises his technical abilities and combines them with power and precision, he’s likely to outfox and outbox him.
Bellew’s step up is a big risk against an experienced heavyweight fighter with tremendous skill. Haye also has a reach advantage that will help him when keeping distance.
After a couple of nasty phone-booth exchanges, the Londoner will take control and capitalise on Bellew’s suspect stamina.