Tony Bellew has responded to recent suggestions by former opponent David Haye that their pre-fight beef was somewhat manufactured.
Haye said in an interview that he was attempting to sell their Pay-Per-View by ‘sexing up’ the fight. Rather than having any serious grudge against the Liverpool man.
Bellew was asked for his reaction to the claims of Haye ‘hyping’ up the rivalry to nail down customer subscriptions.
“I heard about it, I haven’t really been on social media lately but from me mate it was never hyped from my point of view,” Bellew exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I was always very professional when I spoke to David. It only got unprofessional when he brought up my family.
“For me, it was only when he was saying he was going to leave me in a hospital bed. And that I was going to be comatose and my family was going to visit me in hospital.
“That was when the terms got personal. It wasn’t before getting all that information from David that it was real for me.”
Since the two epic battles, Haye has shown remorse for his actions and shocking words to Bellew.
“It was never from my point of view. The things he was saying, he might not have meant them but he said them and it was frank what he said,” he explained.
“He’s apologised since then and it kind of is what it is. But listen, it was every bit real for me.”
The two fights with Haye earned ‘Bomber’ a career-high payday and his family’s future accounted for. Reliving the experience, Bellew looks back with pride.
“You could see on fight night, when I got in the ring that it was real. We got the job done, I’m very happy.
“I’m 2-0 up over one of the greatest cruiserweights this country has ever produced. And one of the best heavyweights this country has ever produced so I’m very happy with where it lies.”
Bellew finished his career with an incredible achievement of never losing in a rematch. Showing there were no hard feelings, Bellew remembered his first big grudge match with Nathan Cleverly.
“I’ve never faked anything (with Haye or Cleverly). People were telling me the rivalries with Cleverly were false and it wasn’t real but they’re always real. But do I hate him? – Absolutely not.”
“And do I have any long-term nasty feelings towards David? Absolutely not, no. It was an absolute honour to share the ring with David Haye.
“I’m very lucky and privileged to have earned what I earned alongside David Haye,” Bellew concluded.
Chandler Waller is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerWaller