By Greg Stiller: There comes a time in a fighters’ career when they need to be realistic about their limited options in the sport and move on to avoid taking needless punishment without the potential to capture a world title. It might be about that time for the 31-year-old Liverpool native Tony Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KO’s) following his 6th round TKO loss to WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson last Saturday night in Quebec, Canada.
Bellew wasn’t competitive in the fight, and seemed to lack both the heart and the speed for the job. If this was just a one-time thing for Bellew, then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But the fact is he was already beaten soundly by former WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly two years ago in a 12 round decision loss. Before getting destroyed in four rounds by Sergey Kovalev last August, Cleverly was considered a paper champion in the minds of many boxing fans.
They saw him as the weakest link amount the four light heavyweight champions. That Bellew couldn’t even beat Cleverly would seem to suggest that he’s not cut out to mix it among the top fighters in the 175 lb. division. With the WBC and WBO belts being upgraded with superior champions in Stevenson and Kovalev, there’s really nowhere for Bellew to go in the light heavyweight division, which is why he’s probably thinking of moving up to the cruiserweight division. That’s a bad move as well for Bellew because the fighters in that weight class have both power and size, and he won’t be able to find a place up there to carve out a niche.
If Bellew really loves boxing, he can always stick it out at the domestic level and be the best fighter in the UK by picking up the British and Commonwealth light heavyweight titles and defending those belts over and over again until the end of his career. The money obviously won’t be as good as it was when he was trying to capture a world title, but I think that might be about as good as it gets for Bellew.