David Haye knew his career was over at the start of Tony Bellew rematch

David Haye has admitted that he knew around 35 seconds into the rematch with Tony Bellew that his 16-year professional boxing career had come to an end.

The Hayemaker’s last convincing victory came at the expense of fellow heavyweight Derek Chisora back in 2012 via KO; after that fight, Haye alluded to a list of niggling injuries that he had hoped to get sorted – around such time it was strongly implied that he had decided to hang up his gloves and venture on to pastures new – as we all saw with his stint in the jungle a while back.

However, after a 42-month hiatus from competitive action, Haye shocked boxing fans with the announcement of him fighting once again – it was common knowledge that a little ring-rust had settled in, and so we saw him take on a couple of warm-up fights if you will to test the waters and to see where he was at physically.

He returned to the ring in 2016 and was able to chalk up two quick concession knockout victories over Mark De Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj respectively.

After a shallow dip in deep waters, Haye announced to the world that he would fight Bellew, who at the time was transitioning from cruiserweight to heavyweight, however, the Evertonian agreed to terms and the bout was given the go-ahead.

Haye was the firm favourite going into the first bout with Bellew, with footage circulating around Haye’s training camp at the time suggesting that he was taking life easy leading up to the fight, also implying that he felt extremely confident over an easy victory over the Bomber and looked to have his sights set on other big hitters in the division at the time too – such as an up and coming Anthony Joshua.

The first clash with Bellew saw Haye come to a realisation that perhaps he had largely underestimated his opponent and was all of a sudden in the midst of a proper scrap.

During the fight, Haye ruptured his Achilles tendon, which subsequently led to the TKO stoppage in the 11th round in favour of Bellew.

The rematch was more one-sided to the advantage of Bellew, and Haye has now admitted that he knew in the first round that this was his last fight as a professional boxer.

“I knew about 35 seconds into the first round of that second fight with Tony Bellew that this was it,” Haye told The Daily Star, as per Boxing Scene.

“It just felt all wrong, it was really weird. I’ve never had it before. It just didn’t feel like a boxing match, it felt really strange. I was kind of posturing and hoping something would click into how it always was, and it just didn’t click in at any stage.

“Even in the early rounds, the rounds I was winning, it just felt that everything was an effort. Even to move and bounce, it was all an effort. I’d see opportunities after they’d gone, whereas before I’d see it and just deal with it. But it just got to that point where I just couldn’t see, and it was too late. Where I’d normally slip and counter I was just getting hit.

“It was a feeling I’ve never had before and would never like to have ever again to be brutally honest!

“I’m glad it ended as conclusively as it did so it doesn’t leave me with any thoughts that ‘maybe one day I can do a little bit better, if it wasn’t for my Achilles then I could have done it.

“I knew that was it. I can remember that feeling of ‘that’s it, you’ve pushed it as far as it’s humanly possible to push it, you’ve given it a good go, you’ve given yourself the best chance, you’re as healthy as you’ve ever been, you’re as strong, you’re as fit’ – but it’s not about strength or fitness, it’s about how much fight your body can fight. And once that flame’s out, it’s out for good.”

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