by Cliff Rold
When the rematch of one’s biggest career win falls apart due to opponent injury, it can be assumed there is little worse to the ear. A whole training camp, and the check that goes with it, up in smoke.
For Tony Bellew, the news that an injured David Haye won’t make their December 17th date doesn’t have to be a disaster. Bellew (29-2-1, 19 KO) seems to have no shortage of suitors. In interviews, the 34-year old former WBC cruiserweight titlist hasn’t sounded long for the game even before his upset of Haye in March.
Dillian Whyte and Tyson Fury both sounded off about wanting to take advantage of the time he has left, and the open dance card he holds.
Fury (25-0, 18 KO), the man who ended the reign of Wladimir Klitschko before imploding outside the ring, might be the most intriguing option. Given the training videos he’s posting on his Twitter feed, Fury might not be ready by December 17th but he’s going to eventually return against someone.
Even with a cloud over his head in the UK due to previous failed drug tests, Tyson Fury is going to fight again. It’s a matter of if more than when. It’s also a matter of who.
Bellew has some name value, isn’t a big puncher, and would be dramatically smaller. Fury isn’t the biggest puncher in the class so it might not be as punishing as some other larger men might be. Given Fury coming back off long inactivity, Bellew might even be seen as a live underdog.
If nothing else, it would put some butts in seats.
So would a fight with Whyte (22-1, 16 KO). Whyte has won six in a row since a lone career loss to current IBF/WBA heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. Whyte, like Fury, took to Twitter to call Bellew out when the Haye fight fell through. Unlike Fury, he probably could fill in on December 17th and is likely in reasonable shape having just fought a few weeks ago.
Whyte wouldn’t be as lucrative as Fury might be. He also wouldn’t offer what two other men might.
Is there any reason WBC titlist Deontay Wilder (39-0, 38 KO) or WBO titlist Joseph Parker (24-0, 18 KO) wouldn’t want their management checking in with Bellew right now? They might not want to do it in public, but for either a fight with Bellew could be good business now and later.
Wilder-Joshua is a potentially massive fight. Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn had talked of a Wilder-Whyte fight to build it up. Wilder could face Bellew and make a bigger promotion of it. Imagine the story they could tell: the villain of the last Rocky movie getting a chance to play Rocky himself against the mad bombing American, title on the line, in the twilight of his career?
For Parker, the hope of facing the UK money machine in a unification fight took a hit in his last outing. No matter who one thought won Parker-Hughie Fury, everyone watching lost. It was dreadful. Parker-Bellew would be better while it lasted and it might last a bit. After his last few outings, Parker has raised questions about how good he really is. Bellew might be a little smaller, but he’s cagey and experienced. He’s also willing to scrap.
Parker might be able to make some money in New Zealand against someone like Australia’s Lucas Browne but that wouldn’t do as much for the cause of a Joshua showdown, or the purses Parker wants there, that a Bellew fight would.
Tony Bellew got bad news Monday. There will be good news soon enough.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]