By John Hoolan @JohnHoolan
Is he really as good as some think?
Tony Bellew is the 30 year old from Liverpool who seems to split opinion among boxing fans, he's a bit like marmite, you either love it or hate it.
He has a record of 22 fights, 20 wins (12 KOs), 1 loss and 1 draw. Is ranked the British number 1 by some at light heavy and in the top 5 of the world. Nathan Cleverly inflicted Bellew's only defeat and may have something to say about those Bellew rankings, especially as he is the WBO Champion, that I feel is for another day though...
In Bellew's last fight he fought the durable Isaac Chilemba in a rematch, their previous fight finished in a draw just 2 months previously and so determined was Bellew to right, what he perceived as a wrong that a rematch was hastily arranged for the Froch Vs Kessler undercard. My view is that he lost the first fight by a very close decision.
Bellew was stung by criticism of him in the first fight which is used as a positive motivational tool for his rematch. He said this after the win Vs Chilemba -
"I've been through hell and I've tortured myself since the last fight, I've had to put up with some stick with people doubting me on forums and on Twitter, but everyone questioned the wrong person. I went straight back into training camp and I've hated boxing these last eight weeks. The difference this time was I wasn't dead on my feet after seven rounds like I was before when I was lucky not to go out on a stretcher, but I will fight until I've not got anything left. You have to put me on the floor to beat me. I'm just so happy. I stuck with it and he didn't want it. “To all those internet trolls and all the people who have been amusing me on Twitter — stick it up your a**e."
With Bellew winning the Chilemba fight he is now the WBC mandatory challenger and should fight the winner of Chad Dawson Vs Adonis Stevenson which takes place in Canada on 6th June.
Personally I think Bellew would be better off fighting Hopkins should he beat Murat on 13th July, as I feel the winner of Dawson Vs Stevenson, (I think Dawson), will be far too strong, quick and "ringwise" for Bellew. There would be a much bigger payday for Bellew fighting Hopkins in the UK than travelling over to the US or Canada to fight Dawson.
His promoter Eddie Hearn still says he will get his title shot Vs the Dawson/Stevenson winner - “He’s fighting the winner. It’s probably in October, November or December.” He told I Film London.
Bellew is ranked number 4 on BoxRec in the light heavy division, a ranking I feel is very generous. I would put Dawson, Cleverly, Stevenson, Murat and Hopkins all above him.
I personally don't think he has the power, the speed or the ring craft to beat the 5 I have mentioned above. He has heart and plenty of it there is no doubt about that, but does he have the tools? If he did I am sure we would have seen them by now.
I asked at the beginning is Bellew, hype or hope?
I believe he gets far too much hype especially by the SKY pundits, no doubt that is Hearn's doing and rightly so looking after one of his fighters, I do however have hope that he will one day show the ability to match his heart.