Tony Bellew delivered on his promise of a second knockout in quicker fashion as he scored two knockdowns in round three, then a third in round five before a follow-up volley persuaded referee Howard Foster to intervene.
The two men jabbed with almost equal effectiveness (36 of 126, 29% for Bellew, 36 of 134, 27% for Haye), but Bellew was much better with power shots (34 of 93, 37% to Haye's 6 of 55, 11%) because it appeared Haye could not place proper weight on his back leg.
The sportsmanlike Haye repeatedly credited Bellew for being the better fighter in the post-fight interview and brushed off all questions of potential injury. Bellew's surge in rounds 3-5 (56-19 overall, 31-2 power) enabled him to out-land Haye 70-42 and 32%-22% overall.
Tony Bellew pounded out a decisive conclusion to his feud with David Haye, sending his British heavyweight rival to the canvas three times on the way to a dominant fifth-round win in London.
Bellew upset the odds to stop Haye in 11 rounds when they met at the same O2 Arena in March last year, although the former WBA heavyweight champion was badly compromised by an Achilles tendon injury suffered in round six.
That meant legitimate questions loomed over the Liverpudlian's victory in a brutal battle, but the 35-year-old ex-WBC cruiserweight king blasted away any lingering doubt in a performance that surely sends Haye into overdue retirement.
Haye, 37, pledged to move away from the gung-ho approach that contributed to his debilitating setback last time out and he did enough to pocket the first two rounds, prevailing in a battle of contrasting jabs – the older man's slung low as Bellew popped out his firm lead in orthodox fashion.