Even people who do not follow boxing will be intrigued by Saturday’s David Haye v Tony Bellew grudge match.
Both men have plumbed new depths in pre-fight ‘trash talk’ remarks about each other. While some of their language has been uncouth, it has certainly captured public attention - which will doubtless reflect on Pay Per View figures.
We asked a panel of Sheffield boxing experts who they’re rooting for, what they made of the slanging match, and who will win. It’s a mixed bag of replies...
Junior Witter: It would be better for boxing if Haye wins as I see him in some other good fights at heavyweight - probably Briggs for a vacant world title, setting the winner up for Wilder. Haye is going to come in lighter than he did for his last fight and will have more agility and speed. Bellew will come out strong and try catching him cold but Haye will be ready and wins by KO.
Clinton Woods: I hope Bellew wins, he is brave enough to come up the weights. He’ll try and use what he thinks are his faster feet and legs to be in and out, but when he feels Haye power, he’ll struggle to cope and be rescued by the referee. The pre-fight cursing looks staged; another manufactured PPV which I won’t be buying.
Jon Buster Keeton: I want Bellew to win but I’m not a massive fan. Up to now, he’s had the right fights at the right times. Haye can bang big - I’ve sparred him. He doesn’t like to be under pressure and I predicted his loss to Carl Thompson (2004)...that was at 13st 8lbs and Haye ran out of gas.
Now at this catchweight Haye’s team will know he’s got enough in the tank so even if Bellew is brave as hell (and he is) Haye’s power will take its toll like Haye v Enzo Maccarinelli (2008.) Bellew either gets KO’d or rescued.
Glyn Rhodes: I hope they KO each other, they can be pair of tramps in the way they acted in build-up and the way they spoke is disgusting. Boxing gets enough bad press and these two clowns don’t do boxing any good. The only person laughing is the promoter.
Amer Khan: I boxed on the undercard of Clinton Woods when he won the world title and on the card was Haye (2205.) Watching him up close, knocking out Glen Kelly was frightening, he had devastating power. You don’t lose that kind of power. Trash talk creates interest but it initially started with Bellew -it was a bit tasteless but then Hayes has not done himself any favours either.
There seems to be some genuine needle and that adds spice. Haye’s punching power will be the defining factor and he will win between 3-6 rounds. However this is an unpredictable fight.
I hate all the baiting and slagging; it’s not wrestling it’s boxing - you should respect any man that gets through the ropes. It’s all about money, PPV promoters cause it; it’s business.
Paul Silky Jones: I’d like a Haye win. I like him as a fighter; he brings a lot of excitement to the heavyweight division. Bellew tends to fight with his heart and not his head so even if he’s having success in parts of the fight I think he will revert back to standing toe to toe with David and as soon as that happens he’s got big problems. Haye is too strong and will catch him not allowing Bellew to recover.
They’ve made the promoters job easy and sold the fight - once the fights over the war of words usually come to a end. There’s no business like show business!
Lee Connelly: A double knockout would be a good result! I’m not keen on either of them. I enjoyed watching Haye before he ‘retired’ but not since his comeback and can agree with some of the things Bellew has said. I can’t see how Bellew can deal with Haye’s power and size and think he will be stopped inside two rounds. Trash-talk is unprofessional and distasteful but it reaches the interest of non boxing fans.
Sam Sheedy: I want Bellew to win. He is hot-headed and got a potty-mouth but his heart and soul is in right place. I think he’ll pull it off. Having said that I think they are both bad for the sport. They are giving it a bad name and making a mockery of themselves. They went too far. They’ll both never get rid of the stigma after this fight.
Ross Burkinshaw: I want Bellew to win, he seems a down to earth, family man. Dave Coldwell is Tony’s trainer and Dave’s a scientist of boxing and has worked with Haye before so will know what Tony needs to do against Haye, but I think Haye will catch Bellew early. There’s been so much said to each other which has gone past trying to sell tickets - it’s gone too far. Haye, I believe will get this.
Liam Cameron: I like both but I would like Haye to win. Haye is the heavyweight, he looks in great shape and can do damage when he hits people, Bellew come up from light heavy and peaked at a cruiserweight, at heavyweight, will be a step too far. The trash talk is just to build the fight- it’s just so the fans put there hands in their pockets.
Adam Etches: I see David Haye being too big and strong and taking Bellew out. As for the pre-fight talk, they both want to sell the fight as best as they can. Personally, trash talking is not my style, it’s better to be a likeable person and let your fists do the talking. But the fight is definitely an exciting 1one while it lasts.
Tommy Chadburn: When Bellew he lands his power is unreal. Haye will slow down as fight goes on. I can’t see Bellew being hurt and he will wear Haye down. Bellew by KO: round 5-6.
Sam O’maison: Haye KOs Bellew in less than four rounds!