They both scored surprise victories in their last bout as underdogs and haven’t been heard from since. The first shocker occurred on November 28th 2015 when Tyson Fury beat universally recognized heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko. The second upset took place on March 4th 2017 when Tony Bellew TKOed former two division title holder David Haye in the 11th round.
Both Fury and Bellew were scheduled to fight the man they upset in a rematch but the bouts fell through. Fury went off the deep end struggling with substance abuse and depression and the rematch with Klitschko was ultimately cancelled. Bellew, who was close to fighting Haye again this month, lost out on proving the first fight was no fluke when Haye had to withdraw due to suffering an injury to his arm during training.
Fury 25-0 (18), whose boxing license was suspended for a multitude of reasons, will no doubt have it reinstated in the near future. I don’t need to know, nor do I care, about the technicalities involved. All one needs to know is there’s a lot of interest in seeing Fury fight a name opponent and that translates into money and money dictates most of what goes on in boxing. As for Bellew 29-2-1 (19), it’s been bantered about that he’ll face Haye sometime between March and May of 2018. And if the fight comes off, the winner will more than likely be Tyson Fury’s next opponent.
If I were Bellew, I’d scratch fighting Haye and go straight to Fury if at all possible. Bellew really had his hands full with Haye back in March when David was fighting on one leg and he still needed 11 rounds to get rid of him. In a rematch I’d favor an in-shape Haye because unless he’s totally washed up, he has more tools and the equalizer in his right hand….a punch he couldn’t get off the first time they met due to his injured leg. If Bellew were to fight Fury first and lost but wasn’t embarrassed, a rematch with Haye will still be there for him.
Haye 28-3 (26) isn’t currently the draw he once was, so unless he fought Fury in Fury’s comeback fight or a rematch with Bellew there’s nothing big out there for him. He has no juice to entice a contender because beating him after Bellew defeated him wouldn’t carry much weight……but he is still capable of beating a lot of contenders because he can really punch, so the risk to reward ratio would be out of line for a fighter on the verge of getting a shot at one of the three title holders. Without meeting Bellew or Fury next, Haye probably needs to work his way back into the mix.
The problem for Bellew is that fighting Haye next could blow his shot at Fury. On top of that, Haye vs. Fury is a bigger fight than Bellew vs. Fury. Actually, Haye vs. Fury is a huge fight in the UK. Given the choice, Fury would rather meet Haye than Bellew in his ring return. Haye represents more money, it’s a bigger fight, and due to Haye’s age and injury history, Fury would consider him less dangerous. Conversely, if Bellew were to beat Haye in a rematch it wouldn’t make the fight with Fury much more valuable. Most would see it as Haye being washed up and too injury-prone to get himself in great fighting shape.
If Tony Bellew has any business savvy, he’d pass on fighting Haye next and try to make a fight with Tyson Fury for next year. He’ll make more money fighting Fury and who knows what Fury has left. Fury has gained over 100 pounds since fighting Klitschko and hasn’t fought in more than two years. On top of that, no one could ever convince me without actually seeing it in his performance that Fury wasn’t coming back just for the money. His goal is to do just enough to earn a fight with Anthony Joshua. He knows he’ll make a lot of money along the way and then a ton for meeting Joshua….and after he loses to Joshua we’ll never see him again.
Yes, we’ll see Tyson Fury fight in 2018. He’ll never be the same fighter who beat Klitschko, but that fight made him a star and a big name future opponent for Joshua. Fighting Haye instead of Bellew makes more business sense for Fury. On the other hand, fighting Fury next instead of Haye is better business for Bellew.
The fight between Bellew and Haye to see who gets to fight Tyson Fury first should be interesting to watch as it plays out….because they both understand he represents the most money and fighting him first is when he’ll be most vulnerable during his comeback.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com
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