Tag Archives: Tony Bellew

Bring on Bisping, says Bellew

Boxing and UFC could be on for another high-profile showdown after Tony Bellew and UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping agreed on Twitter to go head to head 

While there are plenty of questions to be answered over how and under what rules the fight could actually happen, Bellew says he is not afraid of entering the UFC world.

The Liverpudlian is currently fully focused on his rematch against David Haye at London’s O2 Arena on December 17, whilst Bisping is preparing to fight Georges St Pierre at Madison Square Garden on November 4. 

But Bellew, the WBC emeritus world cruiserweight champion, still has fellow Briton Bisping in his sights.

“Michael [Bisping] wants to fight me in a boxing ring, which would be absolutely ridiculous,” he told me. “I do not want to render someone unconscious in 20 seconds. That does not appeal to me.”

Advantage

Around the time of the year’s most talked-about fight, when unbeaten multiple world champion Floyd Mayweather boxed UFC’s Conor McGregor in Las Vegas in August, Bellew met with the owners of the UFC and let them know he means business.

‘I would wrestle with Michael Bisping all day long. It would not be an issue. It would not be a problem’ – Tony Bellew

“If you are paying, I’m playing. If he wants to do it, I’ll do it. I was willing to go in a cage,” said the 34-year-old, who stopped Haye in 11 rounds last March.

“I met with some of the guys from the UFC while in Vegas, but not with Dana [White, President of the UFC] personally. I met with the owners of the UFC [WME-IMG, owners of the UFC]. They say to me ‘Are you serious, would you get in a cage?’ and I said ‘I would strangle Michael Bisping in a cage’.”

Bellew’s supreme confidence stems in part from his size advantage.

“I fight at 200lbs usually. I’m not stupid. I couldn’t play with Jon Jones [UFC light heavyweight champion]. The guy would choke me and pull one of my arms out within seconds. But If I was to get in the octagon with Michael Bisping at 185lbs… he ain’t beating me in the octagon or a boxing ring.

“How is he going to beat me? What’s he known for? A fantastic cardiovascular system. He’s a running machine. He’s got amazing cardio. He outworks guys. He sometimes outstrikes guys.

“His strength is his work rate. His strength isn’t wrestling or jiu-jitsu. I would wrestle with Michael Bisping all day long. It would not be an issue. It would not be a problem.”

Opening

Bisping, 38, was famously knocked out by MMA veteran Dan Henderson back in 2009. It is one of the most famous highlight reel KOs in MMA and UFC history. But Bellew promised to deliver a better finish should the opportunity present itself.

“You think the Henderson knockout that he received was bad? Mine would be twice as bad. He would be out for a good 10 minutes, not 10 seconds,” said former WBC world cruiserweight champion.

In reality, a fight between the two is a long way off and, at this point, almost impossible to make.

But if there’s an opening and the money as well as the timing is right, Bellew says he will do it in 2018.

“If the UFC/IMG show me same digits as boxing, I would go into the cage happily,” he stated.

david-haye-vs-tony-bellew

Hype=PPVs in embarrassing Haye v Bellew build-up

David Haye and Tony Bellew, two pretty average boxers who have somehow found themselves competing in the most anticipated fight of 2017 so far.

Okay, that is slightly harsh on Haye, who back in his heyday (excuse the pun) was a good fighter. However, even if he’d lived up to his potential he would have never gone down as a great fighter.

Merseyside-born Bellew also has a decent record but it seems that after his acting role in the 2015 film Creed, he’s happy just to get up in front of the cameras to bring the attention on himself.

The fact that their non-title fight at the O2 Arena has got attracted so much attention is a sign that boxing and the broadcasters who televise it have got their priorities wrong. Too much effort is now put into hyping up a fight – just for it to be one big let down.

Disappointed

Let’s look back at the eagerly anticipated (and long overdue) Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao fight in 2014. It generated $400m through pay-per-view, a record in boxing, but turned out to be complete letdown after months of hype and build-up.

Both of boxers looked too scared to lose, there was no risk-taking, just a lot of defensive boxing and plenty of disappointed fans.

Admittedly, there is pleasure you can take from the pre-fight mind games. It’s part of playing the game – getting the upper hand before you step into the ring.

However, it is getting way over the top now, to the point where it is not even fun to watch anymore.

And I would expect another letdown when Haye and Bellew finally come face-to-face in the ring. It feels like all the effort from both sides has been put into promoting the fight – with lots TV coverage building up an picture of the two hating each other.

To be honest, the two boxers have done a pretty good job of cranking up the animosity. There has been shouting, insults, a bit of pushing and even an attempted punch thrown by Londoner Haye. It seems like they really do hate each, right?

Expectations

Perhaps they really do hate each other, although there are many people out there like myself who see it all as a bit of manufactured aggro, with Sky orchestrating it all to increase their PPV numbers.

It’s not the first time and it certainly will not be the last time we see Sky come up with ridiculously over-dramatic campaigns for this reason.

But does this really benefit the spectacle everyone wants to see – the actual fight. With all the trash talk, the promises of harm being inflicted, can Haye and Bellew actually live up to the expectations that have now been put on them?

You would think that after having to talk such a hard game that the biggest thing on the two’s mind is to avoid an embarrassing early round knock-out.

Is the fight just going to be another Maywhether-Pacquiao borefest, with the whole thing is forgotten in a matter of weeks?

Stirring up

And it’s not just boxing. So many sporting events are hyped up with great expectations only to end in a disappointing spectacle.

It’s not rare to see a match such as Arsenal v Manchester United end in a dull stalemate, after hours of build-up.

Formula 1 is another example. Last year saw an extremely dull season of racing, with Sky seemingly putting more effort into stirring up off-the-track issues betweens Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Okay, Sky do not make the rules in F1, but it gets pretty tiresome watching manufactured drama away from where we want it to be; on-the-track, on-the-field-of-play, not off it.

So Sky are not entirely to blame when the spectacle is not what we expect it to be, but they are just making things worse. And at times, as with the Haye v Bellew fight, it’s becomes embarrassing.

It’s time to get back to basics and start focusing about what we are all really want to see – the sport.