AFTER training David Haye for much of his career, Adam Booth knows the former two-weight world champion better than most. Now coached by Shane McGuigan, Haye was stopped in 11 rounds during his bitter heavyweight grudge match with WBC cruiser king Tony Bellew earlier this month, in what was a huge upset. A ruptured Achilles tendon did little to aid Haye, although Bellew performed far better than many people had expected him to also.

Commenting on the fight, Booth said that while Haye’s battle against his injury made for an uncomfortable spectacle at times, it nevertheless allowed him to prove his mettle – something that has been questioned by some observers in the past.

“David looked a little bit slow, and Tony boxed out of his skin,” Booth stated. “I suspect that David was probably injured going in, and it got much worse in the fight itself. David nailed Tony a couple of times with some solid shots, and although Tony felt them, he was still in there.

“Once the injury got worse, he was never going to be able to hurt Tony as much as he did in the first couple of rounds. So I’d probably say that the fight went on a little bit too long. Once the injury happened, it made sense to go out there and see if he could get rid of Tony. But once it became obvious that that wasn’t going to happen, it kind of dragged on and became a bit of a strange thing to watch. But David’s the master of making the best out of a situation, and from that, people have now realised that he is actually a ballsy fella. Now he’s getting a bit of credit for it.”

When asked whether he could see the 36-year-old Haye being able to return from the damaging defeat to Bellew, and his serious injury, Booth was certain in his answer. “Yes,” Adam declared with conviction. “Injuries are a part of his career more than anyone I’ve known. This is just another one, although admittedly it’s not a nice one. For his style of fighting in particular, it’s not a good injury to suffer. Nevertheless, I fully expect him to come back from this.”