By Keith Idec
Adam Booth took one look at David Haye at the beginning of his rematch against Tony Bellew and realized the former champion he once trained shouldn’t even have been in the ring.
And after watching Bellew batter Haye again, Booth believes it’s time for Haye to call it a career.
“It’s hard to see where he can go from here,” Booth told Sky Sports for a story posted to the network’s website Monday. “In my opinion, he should never have been in there anyway, and he shouldn’t even have been in there last year, but he was.”
Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) dropped Haye twice in the third round and once in the fifth on his way to a fifth-round technical knockout Saturday night at a sold-out O2 Arena in London. The often-injured, 37-year-old Haye (28-4, 26 KOs), who suffered a ruptured right Achilles’ tendon during their first fight 14 months earlier, hobbled at times during their rematch as well.
Five-plus months earlier, Haye had surgery to repair his left biceps injury, which caused a 4½-month postponement of the second Bellew bout.
“I don’t know how he is physically,” Booth said, “but technically he made some big mistakes and let Tony trade with him. You don’t hook with a hooker, if you’re not a hooker, and David is a jab-and-straight-right-hand puncher. He made the wrong choice and paid the ultimate price.”
As unimpressed as he was with how Haye boxed, Booth liked what he saw from the resilient Bellew.
“He was very careful and smart early on,” Booth said. “He was badly buzzed in the second round, styled it out, then used his legs to control the distance. And when he had a chance to trade with David, he traded with him, and came off better.
“The way he dropped David was the same way he dropped [Ilunga] Makabu, the same way he dropped BJ Flores. He trades so well and he looked very happy doing it.”
Booth hopes the likeable Bellew can cash in on another TKO win against Haye, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion.
“He deserves every accolade he gets,” Booth said. “I hope he gets a big-money fight next. Whatever it is next, Tony is a draw and whoever is in the other corner, Tony is the draw.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.