Seemingly genuinely bitter rivals David Haye and Tony Bellew came face to face (literally) in London today, at the O2 presser to further promote/hype their upcoming March 4 clash. The two exchanged words on the top table, before the inevitable (now tiresome) face-to-face “photo opportunity.”
As could have easily been predicted, the two turned nasty, Bellew shoving Haye off him as the two bumped heads, with Haye then firing off a left hand at his rival (a very fast punch, it must be said!). Security pulled the two apart and the shouting match continued. Bellew promised Haye he is getting knocked out on March 4, Haye promised the same thing.
“F**k all this media, we’re in the streets now. You wanna take it to the streets, I’m good with that, Bellew bellowed.”
“You’re all talk, “ Haye fired back. “You’re a chump. You’re getting knocked out.”
The security that was on-hand reacted quickly, preventing things from getting even uglier. But the question must be asked, is it time for the “traditional” face-to-face sequence we have all seen so many times to be stopped? Fans, plenty of them, are tired of the sight of the two fighters pushing their foreheads together in an attempt at proving who is the tougher man.
Today, as has happened plenty of times, it got out of hand. The media in attendance at a press conference or a weigh-in have enough opportunities to get photos of the two fighters, why the need for the stare down stuff?
Maybe enough fans still like it, but the risk of a fight breaking out before the actual contracted fight will always be there when, tempers and excitements levels up high, two men who know they are going to fight one another have to get in one another’s face for the sake of the cameras.
Another question is will this fight live up to the hype (and there will be plenty more to come before fight night)? Haye has so much of an experience advantage having fought plenty of big heavyweights and many people expect a Haye blow-out in March. Haye naturally agrees, saying today that Bellew, the WBC cruiserweight champ, is going to get “destroyed.”
Bellew insists that he is Haye’s toughest fight since the 2011 loss the former WBA heavyweight champ suffered at the hands of Wladimir Klitschko.
If we can ready anything from the demeanour of the two men today, Haye just might have allowed Bellew to get under his skin.