"The way Bellew systematically took him apart was very impressive".
"Doubt me now. Doubt me now, you fools", Bellew, speaking on talkSPORT, said. But speed decreases with age.
An emotional Bellew paid tribute to his late brother-in-law Ashley in his post-fight speech and had his name emblazoned on his shorts for the fight. Haye, meanwhile, denied that he suffered a foot injury in the first knockdown. Haye tried to force the action a lot more in the final minute, missing wildly with a combination in chasing Bellew who used his feet to avoid the punches.
Bellew was getting more active with his punches at the start of the second round. You will all laugh and say I wouldn't have a chance, but I would knock Andre Ward out - or I will outbox him. It didn't feel that great in there tonight.
Despite struggling until the knockdown, the 35-year-old said: "I was waiting for the ideal moment".
"He boxed a great game plan. He was the better man".
'Your messages of love and positivity have been overwhelming, aside from the natural disappointment and a few bruises I'm good'. "Tony Bellew's definitely my nemesis". We are a similar stature and that's why we put on a great fight.
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Ward, 34, retired with a flawless 32-fight record in September and was regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world having won world titles at super-middleweight and light-heavyweight.
That's all there is to it, enjoy the big fight!
Also, in a spirited battle, Belfast's James Tennyson (22-2, 18 KOs) overcame a shaky start to score a fifth round TKO over previously unbeaten Martin Joseph Ward (19-1-2). There's going to be no rematch this time, your career is over. Who do you want to see me fight next? I am a walking Super Series. "I need a megastar". Bellew's surge in rounds 3-5 (56-19 overall, 31-2 power) enabled him to out-land Haye 70-42 and 32%-22% overall. It came in the first round but fizzled out by the third.
The holder of all but one of the heavyweight belts is discussing a $50million offer to fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder, but would be willing to meet Haye first if that deal continues to stall.
The rivalry with Haye has delivered Bellew the two biggest pay days of his career as their heated exchanges drew in fans on pay-per-view television.
Haye was clearly hurt, and Bellew followed up with another sledgehammer of a right, this time to the top of the head. They drove Haye to the ropes.
"I've been waiting on a phone call from Eddie since the Froch situation happened, when he fought [Mikkel] Kessler for the second time", he said. Moments later, it was a smashing left hook to the jaw that sent "The Hayemaker" to the canvas.