Boxing expert Chris Oliver expects a trim David Haye to take revenge on Tony Bellew when the pair go toe-to-toe at London's O2 Arena on Saturday.
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Genuine or not, the bad blood between David Haye and Tony Bellew should finally be put to bed with their rematch at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday night.
Not many people other than the fighters themselves were calling for the clash in the first place, but the dramatic bout raised a lot of questions and the fans want answers now.
We were left wondering how it would have all played out had Haye not snapped his Achilles in the sixth round because things hadn't gone to script up to that point, after which it was a one-sided non-event until Shane McGuigan rescued his charge with the towel.
- Date: Saturday May 5
- Venue: O2 Arena, London
- TV start time: 1800 GMT, Sky Sports Box Office
- Main event time: Around 2200 BST
As a former cruiserweight and heavyweight champion, Haye was a red-hot favourite and most expected him to dispatch of Bellew with relative ease. However, Bellew held his own for five rounds and looked in no danger of being stopped or even hurt.
The new version of Haye was too heavy and for the first time in his career he wasn't the fastest man in the ring, which was evident as Bellew saw the wild attacks coming pretty well. Even when the favourite did land clean on a couple of occasions, it seemed to have little effect.
Despite all of this, Haye was still ahead on the scorecards after five rounds and looked to be finding his range when disaster struck.
As per the pre-fight rumours, it was clear Haye was carrying a foot injury from the first bell as he dragged his back leg like we had never seen from him before, which would explain why his timing was so far off.
Bellew fans must be concerned that it took so long for their man to get rid of a one-legged Haye, who could barely walk yet was never really dazed by the fists of 'The Bomber'.
Haye, a 1/2 favourite this time, is coming in much lighter under the guidance of the excellent Ismael Salas and his new coach promises we will see a version of the 'Hayemaker' than we are more used to. At 37, he is never going to be what he was in his pomp but he should still be a good enough to get the better of Bellew, who is technically sound but certainly has his limitations and is no spring chicken himself at 35.
Bellew talks about Haye's stamina concerns but the Liverpudlian has never been one to do 12 rounds at a high pace himself so I don't see that being a factor, while the postponement of the original December rematch date worked against him. Bellew was the more active fighter first time around but both have been out of the ring for 14 months now, which levels things up in that regard.
It may be a big if, but if Haye's body holds up then he can break down his cagey opponent and get the stoppage at 10/11. Given that Bellew knows how to look after himself and will be taking very few risks early on, it may not be ask quick as some expect and Haye between rounds 7-12 at 100/30 may appeal for those looking for a bit more value.
Hot Rod to strike
The heavyweight grudge match is the one that will be selling the pay-per-view units but Paul Butler versus Emmanuel Rodriguez is an intriguing bout that should not be overlooked.
It is not often a non-title bout gets top billing over a fight for world honours and Butler's bid to win the IBF bantamweight bauble for the second time deserves plenty of attention.
In 2014 the man from Ellesmere Port stepped up in weight to claim the belt with a points victory over Darlington's Stuart Hall, only to vacate the title four weeks later and return to super flyweight. That move prove backfired when he was on the wrong end of a highlight-reel knockout by Zolani Tete in Liverpool the following March.
Despite rattling off nine straight wins since and enjoying home advantage, Butler is as big as 100/30, as Rodriguez has looked every bit a top-class fighter in the making.
An excellent amateur, the Puerto Rican has won all 17 outings in the paid ranks and is developing a reputation as a heavy hitter after stopping seven of his last eight victims.
Butler is a versatile operator with a good all-round skill set, happy to box on the front or back foot, but will need all of his defensive attributes to nullify the attack-minded visitor.
Rodriguez brings a varied arsenal to war and takes no prisoners once in range, particularly with his spiteful hooks. This is the 25-year-old's biggest test so far but he looks up to the job and is taken to wear down his man and see Butler stopped for the second time in his career at 7/4.
Posted at 1100 BST on 04/05/18.