What Next For Tony Bellew?

What Next For Tony Bellew?

After the biggest win of his career on Saturday 4th March over the big-hitting favourite David Haye, Tony Bellew went from Cruiserweight World Champion to the name on every Heavyweight’s lips.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do, I really don’t”.

Well, Tony, you once retweeted me so we’re basically best mates. Therefore, I’ve laid out some potential options for you to have a read over.

David Haye – The Rematch

In the post-fight press conference on Saturday night, when discussing what could be next for Tony Bellew, Eddie Hearn said that David Haye was so confident of winning that he did not include a rematch clause in their contract. Hearn scoffed that he would have included one in a heartbeat had the Hayemaker requested it.

So, what does this mean? It means that if Haye is to get the rematch – that he so politely asked for a solid 600 times in the post-fight interview – that it would very much be on Tony Bellew’s terms. It would be the Scouser’s turn to be the ‘diva’, ‘the salt & pepper is on my side of the table now’.

Financially, the Haye fight makes a lot of sense. The PPV numbers for Saturday are reportedly well over 600k and Bellew made by far his best payday with a whopping £2.8 million. If they were to have a second fight, the numbers again would be huge and with the ball being in Bellew’s court he would be looking at an even bigger payday

The injury to Haye’s Achilles no doubt changed the course of their fight and that would help play into the storyline of what would happen second time around. Haye has been plagued with injury and has said himself that he has altered his training as his body cannot do what it once could. Having just had surgery on his ruptured Achilles it would be surprising to see him fight again in 2017 and if Bellew doesn’t give him the rematch, I’d be surprised to see Haye compete again.

Likelihood: 6.5/10. The money for Bellew would be huge if they fight again but Bellew has already achieved his goal of financial security. Haye is keen for the rematch, having already said on Sky Sports News that he could be the Benn to Bellew’s Eubank. However, with both fighters wealthy, injured & uttering the R word it does cast doubt as to whether we will see them go to war again.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling the Tip?

Absolutely, it would be just as intriguing second time around and bring up just as many questions as the first. If David Haye can stay healthy it would undoubtedly be another cracker & the odds second time around would be a lot closer.

Anthony Joshua

Tony Bellew showed a lot of respect to his Matchroom stablemate after his victory on Saturday, praising what he had done for PPV Heavyweight Boxing. He also said, however, that AJ isn’t a fight that he is particularly interested in. Bellew is well aware that he himself is not a true Heavyweight and fighting someone as physically strong as AJ is likely a step too far.

Likelihood: 3/10. If Anthony Joshua loses his IBF belt to Klitshcko this becomes even more unlikely as Bellew is unlikely to want to face a Heavyweight without a World Title being up for grabs. Eddie Hearn is promoter of both fighters and although it would undoubtedly do huge PPV numbers, it seems neither fighter want this fight and with no bad blood between the two I can’t see this one happening.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

No. AJ is a horrible matchup for Bellew. The difference in size & weight is too much and with a heart as big as Bellew’s, he could take some serious punishment.

Dillian Whyte

Whyte threw his own name into the hat via Social Media, saying he would like to have a crack at the Scouser. More than anything, I think it was Dillian Whyte being Dillian Whyte. It gets his name circulating and gets him a few headlines. Unless Eddie Hearn owes Whyte some dark, unknown favour I can’t see Bellew vs Whyte fighting for the WBC International Heavyweight Title any time soon.

Likelihood: 1/10. Why would Bellew put himself in the ring with a Heavyweight with no World Title & no big PPV draw?

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

It just doesn’t make any sense & for that reason, I’m out.

Deontay Wilder

“Look, it was just me talking nonsense” – Tony Bellew

Deontay Wilder was the first name mentioned by Tony Bellew as a potential opponent, labelling him ‘a big girl from Alabama’.  It’s an intriguing matchup & Bellew called out his name for a reason. Wilder is far from the finished article and although he is 38-0, he is yet to face anyone that has really exposed the flaws that he has.

Likelihood: 6/10. Bellew has mentioned Wilder several times since Saturday and is definitely a front runner. From Wilder’s point of view, he could see this as an easy matchup against a pumped up Cruiserweight with big PPV numbers and a chance to raise his profile in the UK.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

Yes. Bellew would seriously fancy his chances against an erratic and flawed Heavyweight such as Wilder. Similar to the Haye fight, Bellew would be a serious underdog, but if Bellew could weather the storm and drag Wilder into the trenches it isn’t unthinkable to see Bellew coming away victorious.

Joseph Parker

Eddie Hearn threw the WBO Heavyweight Champion’s name into the mix when being interviewed alongside Bellew and AJ post fight on Saturday. Parker faces young Hughie Fury for his WBO Belt on May 6th and Tweeted to Tony Bellew on Sunday 5th March: “[If] all goes well [on] May 6, I’ll fight you next, at the O2  no problem.”

Similar to the Haye fight, Bellew would not look out of place in the ring with Parker. Parker and Bellew are similar in height and reach and Bellew would only be lacking in the weight department, giving up around 2 stone.

The biggest obstacle to this fight is that not enough people know who Joseph Parker is. Similar to AJ he is yet to fight anyone at ‘world level’ and is still young at just 25. He is relatively untested and Bellew would want to face him sooner rather than later. Dissimilar to AJ, Parker is not knocking every opponent out & only managed a Majority Decision over the relatively unknown Andy Ruiz in his last fight. If Bellew is looking to become a World Champion at Heavyweight, this looks like the best option for him.

Likelihood: 7/10. Parker is pretty much unknown to ‘casual’ boxing fans in the UK so would not be a draw by name alone. However, if Bellew is to fight anyone at Heavyweight (let alone for a World Title) it will bring massive numbers. Similarly to Wilder, it would give Parker a platform to announce himself to the millions of UK Boxing fans tuning in.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

Very much so. Bellew would have a genuine chance at becoming a Heavyweight Champion.

The Cruiserweights: Marco Huck, Denis Lebedev, Murat Gassiev, Oleksandr Usyk

Although Tony Bellew is getting called out left, right & centre by the big-hitting Heavyweights, let us not forget that Tony Bellew is the current WBC Cruiserweight Champion. April 1st sees Marco Huck fight Mairis Breidis fight for the WBC Interim Cruiserweight title due to Bellew deciding to take the big money fight with David Haye. Bellew will be expected to take on the winner of this fight or be faced with vacating his Belt.

Cruiserweight has always been the ugly stepchild of weight classes. It’s neither one thing or the other. Ask 100 casual boxing fans to name a Cruiserweight Champion other than Bellew & I’d be surprised if more than 5 named any of the above. And having already defeated the most exciting Cruiserweight in Ilunga Makabu, there just aren’t any opponents that will bring anything close to the revenue any of the aforementioned Heavyweights will. No doubt he would sell out Goodison Park were he to fight against Huck or Breidis, but taking everything into account, Bellew fighting a ‘normal’ fight again at Cruiserweight seems unlikely. There simply aren’t enough big names to warrant it.

Likelihood: 2/10. I would be surprised to see Bellew fight at Cruiserweight again with all the other options he has on the table. Regardless of his next fight, he will always be a World Champion so will likely vacate & chase the big money fight instead.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

No. Go for Heavyweight glory or retire on top.

Retirement

Once a fighter even utters the word retirement it is a sign that they have one foot out the door. Bellew has just received his biggest pay day of his career and in his emotional post fight press conference was brought to tears when talking about securing his family’s future and returning home safely. Taking on any Heavyweight is a major risk, let alone a World Champion.

We see so many Boxers go on to fight past their prime, seeking that one last big victory or pay day, but Bellew has got nothing more to prove & has no need to go on to fight again. He will have retired winning one of British Boxing’s Biggest fights, he will have retired as a World Champion & most importantly he will have retired on his own terms.

Likelihood: 6/10.

If it does happen, will you be Feeling The Tip?

Selfishly I’d like to see Bellew become a Heavyweight Champion, the film they would make of his career would make a much better story than Creed (he could play the lead character too). Realistically though Bellew has no need to fight again, Sky would offer him a role as an analyst in a heartbeat and best of all he wouldn’t have to get punched in the face ever again.

Written by George Stringer.

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