By Jake Donovan
The actions of Danny McIntosh during fight week prompted Tony Bellew to take fight personal.
Once the bell rang for their light heavyweight showdown, Bellew simply took care of business.
Two knockdowns paved the way for a fifth round knockout for the light heavyweight contender Friday evening at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Bellew was in complete control throughout the contest, making a major statement on the heels of last year’s narrow points loss to Nathan Cleverly.
The fight went from crossroads to grudge match once McIntosh elected to skip out on the pre-fight press conference. Bellew took the action as a level of disrespect, or so he publicly stated. In reality, the Liverpool native used the moment as added motivation.
“I’m just a laid back kid,” Bellew admitted after the fight. “I couldn’t hate Danny.”
The action from the opening bell certainly didn’t suggest a measure of respect, as Bellew repeatedly came forward as if he wasn’t being hit at all. It’s not too far from the truth, as McIntosh struggled to get his offense going. The few times he was able to connect proved to have no effect on Bellew.
The opposite certainly wasn’t true, as McIntosh showed signs of wear and tear early on. Bellew connected with alarming regularity, particularly with combinations upstairs. McIntosh looked outclassed on every exchange and had a mouse developing under his right eye by the third round.
Bellew picked up a notch in the fourth round, landing a series of unanswered blows before a combination sent McIntosh to the canvas. The bell interrupted what could have been a sensational finish, though McIntosh look like a spent fighter as he sat on his stool in between rounds.
The state of his opponent was immediately detected by Bellew, who wasted no time in closing the show once the bell rang to start the fifth. A right hand crashed down on McIntosh’s jaw, sending the fringe contender to the canvas. There was debate as to whether or not McIntosh could recover, but such discussion came to an end once the referee waved off the fight without issuing a count.
The official time was 0:38 of round five.
Bellew advances to 17-1 (11KO), looking sensational in his first ring appearance since coming up just short in his thriller with Nathan Cleverly in their light heavyweight title fight last October.
McIntosh has now dropped two straight as he falls to 13-3 (7KO). The Norwich light heavyweight suffered a heartbreaking 8th round stoppage loss to Eduard Gutknecht last May in Germany. Going nearly a year between fights certainly wasn’t in McIntosh’s best interest; choosing for his comeback fight to come against a fighter of Bellew’s ilk proved that much more problematic.
Now back to his winning ways, Bellew is hoping to take care of unfinished business.
“We had to make a statement tonight,” Bellew admitted of his impressive showing. “The coach drilled it into me, we had to look spectacular. We discussed it with (Cleverly) before the fight last year that anything close we would do it again. I was promised a rematch and those promises were broken. I’ll fight him tomorrow. I’ll go Wales to fight him, I’ll go to his garden.”
In the meantime, Bellew gets to kick back and tend to personal affairs.
Revealing afterward that his wife is pregnant expecting their third child, the future is all about providing for his family and proving to his peers that he belongs on the world title stage. That much was evidenced in his strong showing against Cleverly in his lone title shot to date.
Whether or not he is able to get back to that level is entirely dependent to succeed on this level.
“I don’t claim to be the most talented kid. But the talent I have, I push it to the maximum. I’ll do anything the coach in my corner says.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to JakeNDaBox@gmail.com