David Haye has told fans to put their money on B.J. Flores to rip Tony Bellew’s WBC World Cruiserweight title from him when they meet at the Echo Arena in Liverpool tomorrow night, live on Sky Sports.
Bellew defends his crown for the first time since his stunning KO win over Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park in May, and for brash American Flores, it could be his last shot at World glory having been edged out on points for the interim WBA crown by Beibut Shumenov last July.
The Liverpool star has called for a showdown with Haye, who became the unified Cruiserweight World champion in November 2007 and added Heavyweight glory to his CV two years later.
The ‘Hayemaker’ says he’s open to talks if Bellew can beat his pal – but the London star thinks the ‘Bomber’ has underestimated the American and his reign as World champion will come to an end at the first hurdle.
“I don’t think Tony is going to win the fight,” said Haye. “B.J. is a big Cruiserweight. Look at them next to each other, there’s not a lot in it at first sight but Tony is tall and skinny whereas B.J. is wide and thick set and can punch.
“B.J. is very underrated, he hasn’t perhaps performed to the nest of his ability in his big fights but he’s been boxing since his was six, has great amateur pedigree boxing all over the world and I think Tony has underestimated him.
“Tony thinks it’s an easy touch and B.J. is a huge underdog with the bookies, I think he’s worth backing to cause the upset. Tony is a good fighter and he was good against Makabu, he was an underdog himself, he got decked in the first and spun it round and did the job so you have to give him credit for that – but is he a real Cruiserweight? I don’t know. He looked it in the Makabu fight, he’s the WBC champion and he did it in good style, but I think it’s a tough first defence and I think it’s a good fight.
“If Tony somehow manages to beat B.J – which he won’t do – we can talk. Tony makes plenty of noise so we’ll see, but he’s got his hands full with B.J.”
Fans that want to take Haye’s advice and back the challenger to take the title can get odds of 7/1 for Flores to win with show sponsors 32Red.com. The visitor is 11/1 to win inside the distance and 20/1 to take the crown on points.
Hometown star Bellew is 1/2 to repeat his epic KO win that landed him the belt at the home of his beloved Everton F.C, and 2/1 to hold onto his belt on points.
Bellew’s clash with Flores is part of a huge night of action in Liverpool Olympic gold medal star Luke Campbell MBE defends his WBC Silver Lightweight title against Derry Mathews.
Belfast star Ryan Burnett defending his British Bantamweight title against Liverpool’s Ryan Farrag, Sean Masher Dodd defends his WBC International Lightweight title against Francesco Patera, Tom Farrell faces Farid Hakimi for the WBA International Super-Lightweight title and Liverpool favourite Rocky Fielding is set for action.