David Haye questions Tony Bellew's motivation ahead of eagerly-awaited December rematch

Luke Brown
The Independent
The pair will fight for a second time on December 17: Getty
The pair will fight for a second time on December 17: Getty

David Haye has questioned Tony Bellew’s motivation at a muted first press conference ahead of their heavyweight rematch, asking the Liverpudlian why he is attempting “to rob the same bank twice”.

Bellew stopped Haye in the eleventh round when he stepped up to heavyweight for the first fight in London, although the fact Haye ruptured his Achilles midway through the fight left far more questions than answers.

The pair have since agreed terms for a rematch on Sunday 17 December, with Haye using the first press conference ahead of the fight to question his rival’s motivation and claim that he was ‘robbed’ during the first contest.

“People rob banks to secure their family,” Haye said on Wednesday. “Would you go back to rob that same bank again? Is your hatred so bad for the clerk behind the desk that you need to do it again?

“Bellew's motivations were clear - he wanted to secure his family. He's a multi-millionaire - welcome to a very small club of British boxers who don't have to box, they are comfortable. I ask myself: what are his motivations going into the second fight?

“I didn't believe I'd get this opportunity again. I didn't think it would happen. Tony, for some reason, wants to do it again.

“My motivations are for revenge, I want to be the best heavyweight in the world. He doesn't want to fight Anthony Joshua or Deontay Wilder because he isn't big enough. So why go back into the lion's den?”

Haye has questioned Bellew's motivation (Getty)
Haye has questioned Bellew's motivation (Getty)

The build-up to the first fight between the pair was dominated by controversy, with the British Boxing Board of Control forced to step in and fine Haye £25,000 for his “extremely disappointing comments” at a Liverpool press conference.

The 36-year-old branded Bellew’s supporters “f***** retards” and also threatened to leave his opponent in a hospital bed, insisting that he wanted to do “real damage”.

But Wednesday’s press conference was a far more muted affair, with Haye conceding he had grown to respect his adversary.

Bellew won their first fight in the eleventh round (Getty)
Bellew won their first fight in the eleventh round (Getty)

“We’ve both shared the ring together and when you do that with somebody, whatever respect wasn’t there before is there now,” he added.

“I know that turning up in the condition I arrived in before is not enough, I have learnt to respect what he brings to the table. I need to believe that he is bigger, faster and quicker.”

Bellew, who has said he will dedicate his performance in the ring to his late brother-in-law Ashley Roberts, seemed hesitant to talk at length but insisted that Haye’s low opinion of his boxing ability was driving him on.

There was plenty of unfinished business after the first fight (Getty)
There was plenty of unfinished business after the first fight (Getty)

“I can't believe the analogy he has just used,” Bellew commented. “I didn't rob a bank - I got in a boxing ring and punched you senseless.

“I fight because, believe it or not, I enjoy fighting. I've got a screw loose. I don't enjoy the 14 weeks build-up or losing loads of weight but, on fight night, I love it. I love punching you in the face and I love getting punched in the face.

“I know in my heart that he still doesn't rate me. I understand David had an injury and showed immense bravery. I knew he wasn't going to quit. What shocked him, that I already knew, is that I was going to take him into deep waters.

“David fell apart because I made him. Pressure. When he caught me clean he got the shock of a lifetime.”

What to read next