To the surprise of literally nobody that was present, things took a turn for the worse pretty swiftly at today’s David Haye vs. Tony Bellew press conference. Heated words were exchanged by both parties, with Haye giving almost everyone on the top table a verbal battering. The former two-weight world champion spoke with BNTV after a brawl of sorts erupted – leading to the two men being dragged apart. As expected, things hadn’t really cooled down.
“Tony always screams and shouts, but if you listen to what he’s talking about, he doesn’t really make much sense,” Haye told us. “He’s very confident in his ability, and he believes if he hits me on the chin I’ll go to sleep. I don’t believe that’s the case. They say a good man always beats a good little man… Well here you’ve got an exceptional big man fighting a good little man. His chances are slim-to-none in making this fight that deep slugfest that he claims it’s going to be.
His team should be concerned about his health, because they’re putting him in a really, really serious situation.
“He screams and shouts about how poor my last two opponents were. If that’s where he needs to get his confidence, then good luck to him. Mark De Mori sparred with Tyson Fury – Tyson said himself that he was a tough man. He also sparred many rounds with Lucas Browne. I hit him with one right hand and he was asleep. I managed to hit him with three additional shots after he was unconscious. Can you imagine me doing the same thing to Tony Bellew? What would happen to him?
“This big 18 stone lump was stretchered out of the ring with oxygen and sent straight to hospital with a wiped memory. His team should be concerned about his health, because they’re putting him in a really, really serious situation. When I land, I’ll be landing clean, concise, crushing blows on his Cruiserweight head, and that doesn’t bode well for him.”
The above is just a mere snippet of the verbal pummeling Haye gave Bellew during the interview, and though many believe this rivalry to be fabricated, both fighters seemed visibly worked up from the word go. Not only did the 36-year-old spend a significant amount of time picking his Scouse counterpart to pieces, he also fired shots at Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn – whom he had strong words for during the press conference because of his supposed need to be in the limelight. After all, this fight – in Haye’s words – was not the Hearn show, it was the Haye-Bellew show. He told us:
“I’m just sick of him constantly making noise. He’s supposed to be promoting his fighters. It’s not the Eddie Hearn show! It’s the Haye-Bellew show – why is he narrating that? We’re both co-promoters in this event. I’m actually getting the bigger share, so it’s more my promotion than his promotion. I sat with Sky Sports and Barney Francis, and we worked out the deal. It’s like me taking the microphone and interviewing everybody. I wouldn’t do that. This is Adam Smith’s job, it’s what he’s there for.
Why does Eddie feel the need to ask questions? He just wants air time. He’s there to fan the flame of his fighters, not to barge them out the way and pretend it’s the Hearn show.
“Sky are screening this fight – he should be the one asking the questions! He’s a professional – why does Eddie feel the need to ask questions? He just wants air time. He’s there to fan the flame of his fighters, not to barge them out the way and pretend it’s the Hearn show.
“He goes on like, ‘Look at me, yeah. I’ve got a new Bentley, yeah.’ Who cares? Can you imagine Barry Hearn doing that? No, he got Naseem Hamed and Chris Eubank, both with massive personalities, and just put them up there to say what they needed to say. That sold the fight – it wasn’t down to him. Hopefully after this fight he’ll take a backward seat and shut up.
“Me and Bellew can speak for ourselves. We don’t need him piping up the whole time. Sometimes the truth hurts, and I could see it in his face when I was telling him. Everyone was laughing because they all knew it was the truth! Look how many interviews he does in his car. ‘Hey, yeah… Blah, blah, blah.’ Why does he do that? Wait until you have something to say or announce, then announce it. Simple.”
Haye had appeared to be itching to unload a few verbal bombs on Hearn all day, with the pair seemingly amidst a power struggle in regard to this fight. Haye, as outlined above, is unhappy with the Matchroom promoter’s input, whereas Hearn told us at BNTV that he believed Haye to be a control freak – even suggesting he tried to make this fight with Sky behind his back.
Though this fight has been slated by large sections of the boxing community due to it being a pay-per-view event with no actual title on the line, it has still sold incredibly well to the casual market. Tickets sold out in minutes earlier today, with Haye still clearly a huge draw on these shores. To finish, he spoke of this, and almost dared to have nice words for his opponent (yes, really).
“This is the highest grossing fight that The O2 Arena has ever staged,” He said. “And Anthony Joshua’s last three title fights have been there. This one isn’t even a title fight, but that’s what happens when I get brought to the table. Eddie Hearn’s realising that now, so it’s a co-promotion – although he’d love it to be the Eddie Hearn show. He’s co-promoting the show, which he’s getting a smaller share of. I’m happy with how things are, and to be working with Sky Sports.
“It’s a mega fight, a super fight. Tickets sold out in a matter of seconds, and that just shows the demand to see me in the ring with a big name. Tony Bellew’s actually willing to get into the ring with me. You can scream and shout for all of these other fighters, but when it actually becomes time to deal with a contract and get in a ring, they’re not that brave. For all of Tony Bellew’s faults, he’s actually here today. I don’t give the guy that much credit, but I’ve got to give him some for putting himself on the line.”
Tickets have officially sold out, though you can still buy them via StubHub above face value. The event will be live on Sky Sports Box Office on March 4, accompanied by a not-yet announced undercard.