Vince Cleverly says Tony Bellew has improved with weight, could pull off shock vs David Haye

Phil Jay 26/02/2017

Lawrence Lustig

After witnessing his son Nathan share two wars with Tony Bellew in the past, Vince Cleverly believes the Liverpudlian may have been written off too quickly ahead of his fight with David Haye.

Bellew, 33, moves up to heavyweight for the first time in his career against two-weight world champion Haye on Saturday night on the back of claiming and defending the WBC cruiserweight title in 2016.

‘The Bomber’ dropped a majority decision to Cleverly on home soil in 2011 at light-heavyweight, his first career loss, before avenging the defeat in 2014 at the same venue via a split decision at the 200-pound limit.

Since moving up from 175, Bellew is unbeaten and Cleverly Sr. says the extra poundage suits his son’s former rival and could see the WBC title holder cause a major shock in the top division this weekend.

“Tony (Bellew) boxed 24 rounds with Nathan with no stoppages (on either side),” Cleverly pointed out. “Tony got stopped against Adonis Stevenson in the sixth (two years later) but somehow I think that there’s going to be a twist in this fight and Bellew could pull it off if getting through the first couple of rounds.

“(I think) Bellew has improved with the weight gain and this could be the deciding factor and this fight. It’s going to be closer than the bookies make it,” he added.

Haye is an overwhelming favorite, not only to win but to knock Bellew out despite only spending seven minutes in the ring since a 2012 win over Dereck Chisora at Upton Park.

The 36 year-old is certainly not the force he once was but hasn’t really been tested enough to prove it, and Bellew will be hoping to put Haye under the cosh early on to see what the Londoner has left in his locker.