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Tony Bellew Defeats David Haye Via 5th-Round TKO in Rematch

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMay 5, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 05:  Tony Bellew punches David Haye during Heavyweight fight between Tony Bellew and David Haye at The O2 Arena on May 5, 2018 in London, England.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Tony Bellew drew a line under his feud with David Haye after defeating the 37-year-old via fifth-round stoppage in their second heavyweight duel at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday.

Haye started the fight strong but was dropped twice in quick succession at the end of the third round, surviving before Bellew stopped him in the fifth, six rounds earlier than their first meeting back in March.

Despite the nasty nature of their relationship at times, the two fighters showed mutual respect following the result:

Sky Sports Boxing @SkySportsBoxing

💥 IT'S ALL OVER! 💥 A heavy fall for David Haye in the fifth round followed by a flurry of punches from Bellew is enough for the referee to stop the contest. Follow it live online here: https://t.co/PZjkvu2zUK https://t.co/k5Lbu5WdxZ

A second win for Bellew undoubtedly spells the end of their head-to-head matchups, while questions will be asked of what the future holds for Haye.

Haye weighed in four pounds lighter for this fight than he did in their last encounter, and the small difference appeared evident as he made a bright start to the contest.

The opening two minutes went in favour of The Hayemaker. Bellew weaved his way back in as the first round wore on, but a big overhand near the bell gave it to Haye.

The following two rounds took much the same course, with Bellew seemingly happy to let Haye expend energy. 

But the momentum of the fight was severely swayed in the third. Just as Haye looked to be regaining his fleet-footed swagger, Bellew led with a well-placed right and floored an unaware Haye with 18 seconds left.

Haye might have settled for one knockdown going in at the third, but he fell to Bellew again and was saved by the bell. He appeared to clutch at the ankle that aggrieved him in their first encounter last year:

Sky Sports Boxing @SkySportsBoxing

Bellew responds with two knock-downs in the third round! Has Haye damaged that right leg again? Follow it live online here: https://t.co/PZjkvu2zUK Book to watch: https://t.co/rUZhOCTmfl https://t.co/HT98wneYSu

Even with a respite before the fourth, Haye was understandably wobbly, but he managed to steady himself as his opponent took full control, with the ankle issue also appearing to take some toll.

It was a quick flurry of knockdowns that steered the fight in Bellew's direction in the third, and again he tightened his grip with two more in the fifth.

Bellew flashed a fantastic left hook that connected well, and he pounced in quickly after the restart before referee Howard Foster decided to end the bout and seal Bellew's second heavyweight triumph. 

There was some debate as to how much Haye's injury had an impact on the result after their first showdown, but Hull City midfielder David Meyler agreed there was no debate after this second clash:

David Meyler @DavidMeyler7

Fair play to Bellew, I expected Haye to win for a number 3 but I was wrong. He schooled Haye.

Bellew is now responsible for two of the three stoppages Haye has suffered in his career, and he'll now have options to continue in heavyweight or return to his more natural division in cruiserweight.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail's Riath Al-Samarrai cast a bleak prediction for what the future has in store for Haye:

Riath Al-Samarrai @riathalsam

That’s got to be it for Haye’s career. His body is smashed to bits.

Bellew paid an emotional tribute to his late brother-in-law, who died last August, immediately after his victory. Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn was unsurprisingly quiet on what the future holds in store for the fighter.

He also paid tribute to Haye as a legend of British boxing and a worthy foe, but Saturday's frail performance casts major doubts as to whether the 37-year-old can continue competing at the level he desires.

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