Tony Bellew insists he is already in absolutely great shape for his big heavyweight showdown with David Haye. Sparring ten and 12 rounds daily, Bellew is putting the rounds in and, as he tells BBC Radio, he is “not blowing one bit in any of those rounds.”
Bellew did not name his sparring partners but he did say that “these guys are out-weighing me by two-and-a-half stone (35 pounds).” Bellew is of course moving up to heavyweight (or back to it in a way, as “Bomber” fought at heavyweight in his amateur days a long, long time ago now) and he is a considerable underdog going into the March 4 duel with Haye.
Still, Bellew is confident enough to have issued his sparring partners a bit of added incentive: knock Bellew down, the offer says, and whoever does it picks up a cool £1,000 in cash. Many fighters have put out this challenge during preparations for a big fight before and Bellew is the latest to do it, assured as he says he is that no man will collect the prize.
When reports say how Bellew may be sparring with proven heavy Dereck Chisora, it makes the reigning WBC cruiserweight champ’s offer all the more risky. It would be interesting to know what Bellew weighs at the moment, and at what poundage he plans to enter the ring at a week next Saturday.
Haye, though, doesn’t seem to be concerned about Bellew at all, convinced (and convincing) as he is that he KO’s his rival on fight night. Haye, looking in fantastic shape, has arrived back in the UK from his training base in Miami and he sends a chilling warning to Bellew.
“I hope he does something I’m not expecting, because if he doesn’t, if the usual Tony Bellew turns up, it’s going to be pretty brutal, pretty fast. It’s going to be very bad for his health,” Haye told Sky Sports.”
Haye has certainly adopted a far flashier approach than Bellew; training at The 5th Street Gym in Miami, playing basketball on a multi-million pound yacht and arriving back to the UK in a private jet. By contrast, the more grounded Bellew has been working hard in Rotherham. Blue collar fans may be rooting for Bellew, more affluent fight fans possibly pulling for a Haye victory.
But both men are in top shape and are ready to fight. This fight has created a genuine buzz here in the UK.