For the past few months, we’ve heard nothing but bad news when it came to the Haye vs Bellew fight that took place on Saturday night. After threats from both sides had come to a head thanks to Haye going a bit too far and threatening to hospitalise Bellew, fans were pumped to see who would end up being the victor.
The back-and-forth battle lasted until Haye sustained an injury in his lower right leg, reducing him to a one-legged fighter at the midway point. Up until this point, Haye was arguably winning, but he continued to fight on despite the injury, refusing to let it be the excuse for his defeat. It was, however, and fans were surprised to see Haye crashing through the ropes and unable to hold himself up before his corner eventually threw in the towel.
More entertainment came when promoter Eddie Hearn was snubbed by Bellew after trying to celebrate his victory. Bellew seemed more intent on checking to make Haye was ok, and it seemed as though he didn’t wish to celebrate the downfall of a fellow professional.
During the fight, Bellew was apparently concerned about Haye’s safety and told reporters that he’d urged his opponent to quit before the fight ended. “Just before the stoppage I looked at David and said ‘stop now’”, Bellew said, “He shook his head. He went beyond the call of duty.” The admiration of Haye from Bellew has been a huge turnaround from the friction we’ve seen between the two in the past few months which makes us wonder whether or not the two were simply giving the fans what they wanted regarding fighting talk and hyped up controversy before the showdown.
Mixed reactions came from boxing fans on Twitter, but there were a fair few suggesting that the fight was nothing but a joke and that the post-match interview showed Haye in a very bad light:
Haye vs Bellew was the greatest battle between a one legged man and a scouser since Paul Mcartney and Heather Mills during there divorce!
— Carl Stanley. (@carlstanley1) March 5, 2017
Just watched Haye vs Bellew highlights. Looked like 2 drunk guys stumbling around a boxing ring after a heavy night.
— Fan of MUFC (@Vict0rMeldrew) March 5, 2017
The Haye vs Bellew post fight interview made me lose all the respect I gained for Haye after fighting with an injury
— Avi (@__AvPu) March 5, 2017
I'd rather watch 100 Thurman vs Garcias, than ever see a novelty joke fight like Haye vs Bellew again
— Galaxxy Shep (@SixHeadz) March 5, 2017
Less than 24 hours later, Haye was in hospital for vital surgery on an injury that could potentially be career-threatening. His determination to go on to fight another five rounds after the realisation of the injury has added months to his recovery time, disappointing fans who hoped to see the rematch that was discussed after Saturday night’s final bell. It seemed that Haye’s opinion of Bellew had changed from his ongoing threats before the fight, with Haye graciously admitting defeat. “I’ve never been in a fight like that before, I’d love to do it again, if he wants, he’s the man, he beat me fair and square” he said.
It remains unclear what this could mean for Haye and what is even more unclear is whether or not we’ll ever see that rematch. According to Hearn, he has been contacted about the possibility of Bellew taking on American WMC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker from New Zealand. Bellew has some big decisions to make.