At the Echo Arena, Liverpool, Tony Bellew ploughed his way through challenger BJ Flores inside three rounds. Bellew, who retained his WBC Cruiserweight crown, treated his partisan crowd to another dramatic show, dropping Flores four times in the short-lived shootout.
Bellew vs Flores wasn’t exactly an affair fight fans have been chanting for, but it’s hard to criticise ‘The Bomber’s first title defense given Flores was still considered to be a tough and durable contender. The man had also never been stopped, which suggested he would have likely hung around for a whole lot longer.
But tonight things got ugly pretty quickly for Flores (32-3-1, 20 KO), with a serious faux pas fueling the beast in Bellew in the 2nd round, opening the door to plenty of upcoming punishment. Flores, who believed he’d been struck low, failed to defend himself while appealing to the referee, and paid a heavy price for temporarily ignoring the big puncher in front of him.
Was it a low blow? Well, only Flores himself could answer that. The issue was that instead of tying up Bellew (28-2-1, 18 KO) or taking a knee, he chose to drop his hands and leave his chin out to dry. Big mistake. Bellew, who sensed a huge opportunity, charged forward and began unloading punches until a meaty hook scored the first knockdown of the fight.
They say emotion, particularly anger, is best left out of the ring, but getting seriously fired up served Bellew very well, as it did when he wiped out Ilunga Makabu in May. Bellew started taking chances as he began trading shots with Flores in heated exchanges. Flores deserves credit for leaving it all in the ring, but was to find himself on the receiving end of the cleaner, heavier bombs.
Bellew seems love a good tear up these days, and had no problem showing Flores the canvas twice more in the round before delivering a fight-ending knockdown in the 3rd. A crunching left hook – which Bellew also turned out Malungu’s lights with – was the weapon of choice. Flores bravely beat the count somewhere between nine and ten, but was saved from further punishment by the referee. Good call.
But the night’s entertainment was far from over as Bellew immediately threw himself from the ring to hunt down a ringside David Haye. This moment was cringeworthy at best, but the real showstealer soon came when Bellew verbally destroyed a speechless Haye, belittling the former Heavyweight champ and his lasklustre comeback trail against two tomato can-types in Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj.
Bellew was obviously stirring the Haye vs Bellew pot, and with good reason given the potential career-high payday involved, but his take on Haye’s “conning” of fight fans against no-hopers couldn’t have been more on the button. Talk about calling a spade a spade. Bellew’s rant is probably already on YouTube, so I suggest you check it out if you missed last night’s broadcast. Like, now – cos’ it’s freakin’ awesome!
So we’ve supposedly now got Haye vs Bellew to look forward to. Almost definitely at Heavyweight, and possibly on December 10th (when Haye is next pencilled in to fight), but it’s definitely a biggish ‘if’ considering that date is just around the corner. Assuming some unreported negotiations haven’t already been taking place, that is.
What are your thoughts on that potential dustup, plus tonight’s Bellew vs Flores, folks? There’s much to sink your teeth into, I’m sure.