AFTER producing a momentous upset against David Haye in London, stopping the injured former two-weight world champion in 11 rounds, Tony Bellew claimed himself to be the most marketable heavyweight in the world outside of the current champions.
He weathered Haye’s early assaults, boxing terrifically at times and proving many doubters wrong, before injury wrecked Haye’s chances and Bellew forced his corner to throw in the towel. Say what you want about Bellew or the injury, but the 34-year-old and his trainer Dave Coldwell deserve huge credit for pulling off the biggest upset in a British ring for some time.
Haye was certainly able to make the claim of marketability before the fight, though a certain Wladimir Klitschko might object, but the immediate reaction to Bellew’s win seems to give validity to the Liverpudlian’s boasts. His promoter, Eddie Hearn, mentioned WBC champion Deontay Wilder and WBO champion Joseph Parker. Parker took to Twitter to state that, should he beat Hughie Fury in his mandatory defence, he would fight Bellew.
British slugger Dillian Whyte even threw his name into the hat on social media and there will be many more operators in the banner division currently envious of Bellew’s position – and eager to gatecrash the party.
Of course, he’s not a natural heavyweight. He still holds the WBC cruiserweight title, however a mandatory defence against the Marco Huck-Mairis Briedis winner doesn’t sound like much fun. The other cruiserweight champions should see the value in Bellew though, and unification fights could be on the horizon.
However at his core Bellew is a family man and he wants to provide for them, and that means making the most money possible and that would mean sticking around at heavyweight. He could probably generate enough money to lure the likes of Wilder and Parker into the UK – though Bellew was wise enough to admit he should not go near the Anthony Joshua-Klitschko winner.
Haye is eager for a rematch and that of course is a lucrative option for Bellew. But what about retirement? Bellew was reduced to tears after this win, which meant the world to him, and it would be a fine way to close out his career. He admitted that he has secured his kids’ futures and that means more to him than anything. He has always been aware of the dangers and strains of boxing and nobody would begrudge him bowing out on top.