Tony Bellew could well be forgiven for feeling on top of the world after his shock win over former heavyweight champion David Haye on Saturday night.
The Evertonian shocked everyone on fight night with his exceptional performance to beat the heavy favourite.
The expectation by a large number of fans and pundits alike was that the Hayemaker would make quick work of Bellew with his superior power, speed and skill proving too much for Bellew. Indeed, many believed Haye would dispatch the combative fighter inside the first few rounds.
Bellew, however, had other ideas and was not content with just receiving a painfully earned payday. Bellew dutifully went about his work, pulling off a major upset against Haye.
Many will point to Haye’s damaged ankle and the role it played in tipping the contest in Bellew’s favour. Even before the injury, however, Bellew was doing a tremendous job in not only withstanding Haye’s attacks but also boxing sensibly and forcing him into mistakes.
A well-deserved victory.
It was, however, Bellew’s comments after the fight that were especially interesting. He offered what might be considered by some as a refreshing and sensible take on his future and his comments will certainly shed some light on his view of the boxing world and his future in it.
“I could happily walk away from boxing tomorrow,” he told The Guardian.
“I fear no man, I really don’t. But I fear going home to Rachael [his long-time partner] and not having what she wants. And so would you, if you knew her.”
This comment was followed by another eye opener when he was quizzed about what he plans to do next.
“It’s just going to keep following me around. I don’t actually like all this. I’ve started to hate it," he admitted.
"Never wanted it. I’ve got to embrace it, man, just do the best I can. I’m not a perfect person, far from it. I’ve made some bad mistakes in life. I’m not Rocky. I just want to be left alone. I’ve been away from my kids 14 weeks on and off.”
No doubt he will want to avoid the deep and dark pitfalls that have claimed many a great fighter that has gone on too long. Boxing has seen too many of those.
Bellew refused to immediately agree to a rematch, whereas Haye was very keen to get back in the ring - but made a point of making it clear that the power in the negotiations now lay with the victor.
Thoughts will now most likely turn to who Bellew’s next opponent will be. Joseph Parker, Hughie Fury and Deontay Wilder are all names that promoter Eddie Hearn has alluded to.
Bellew's reluctance to rush into anything is sensible. He has just pulled off an upset in a sport that is brutal and physically demanding. Taking some time to rest and recuperate before deciding what to do next appears to be what he is now focused on.
The truth is, the fighters we pay to watch fight are not superheroes or gods. They are normal men, husbands and fathers who, above everything are just trying provide for themselves and their families.
They are ordinary men with extraordinary jobs who find themselves in a sport that is dangerous and deadly and one that, although entertaining, has bled many a fighter dry, literally and metaphorically.
Tony Bellew should be applauded for wanting to take all the time he needs before deciding what to do next.
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