David Haye calls for Tony Bellew trilogy to match boxing's best
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 08/03/17 4:55pm
David Haye says his rivalry with Tony Bellew can match some of boxing's best if Saturday's winner gives him a rematch.
Bellew made a mockery of most pre-fight predictions as he forced Haye's corner to throw in the towel in the 11th round of their Sky Sports Box Office clash at the O2.
The Londoner suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the sixth and now faces months of rehabilitation after a successful operation on Sunday afternoon.
But Haye told Sky Sports News HQ he is already dreaming of a second - and third - meeting with Bellew and hopes their rivalry will eventually be mentioned in the same breath as the sport's most revered trilogies.
Bellew admits retirement is "an option" but Haye, who is targeting a return in "six-to-nine months", said: "I've got a feeling after sharing a ring with him face-to-face, locking horns with him, that he's a real fighting man.
"Not often do you find your nemesis, the guy that in 50 years time people will look back and say 'remember the Bellew-Haye days, what crazy fights they were?'
"The way people look at Micky Ward-Arturo Gatti, at Roberto Duran-Sugar Ray Leonard, at Joe Frazier-Muhammad Ali. They had such amazing fights, and maybe Tony Bellew would like some of that."
Haye defended his decision to train for the fight in Miami and said only the thoroughness of his preparation had enabled him to survive for so long after the injury.
And months of animosity towards Bellew were forgotten as he spoke of the respect which manifested itself in a gracious post-fight embrace.
"What we say in the lead-up to fights is one thing," Haye said. "But once you go to war with someone, and in that life-and-death situation you can see this guy wants it as much as you, you have a different type of respect.
"I didn't know him that well as a person. I had my preconceived ideas, but after sharing a ring with him he's a true warrior like I am.
"I'm in the sport to compete with other warriors. He said if he was to win he'd give me a rematch. I thought it was laughable, but he found a way to win and hopefully he's a man of his word.
"I'll do the same. If the rematch happens and I beat him, I'll give him a third fight."
Haye insists he will return to the ring regardless of what Bellew decides. He said: "I truly hope he doesn't, but if he was to retire I'd carry on my path to become No 1 in the world. I'll find a way to challenge for the heavyweight title."