TV View: We got ready to rumble but Haye fell out of the ring

Taylor’s opponent boxed less ferociously than she looked and it was over in five rounds

 Katie Taylor celebrates beating Italian boxer Monica Gentili.The Irish boxer was quietly satisfied with her evening’s work. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP

Katie Taylor celebrates beating Italian boxer Monica Gentili.The Irish boxer was quietly satisfied with her evening’s work. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP

 

To those of us who are less than expert on pugilistic matters Saturday’s skirmish between Tony Bellew and David Haye had the look of a late-night scrap outside the chipper between two lads so trolleyed not even a dozen batter burgers would soak up the booze.

The Sky Box Office people, though, saw it very differently, kind of like it was the 21st century’s Thrilla in Manila, which left us concluding we knew even less about boxing than previously feared.

To the untrained eye it looked like one of the chipper lads might even have been able to finish off Haye from the moment in the sixth round he had to fight on one leg, a banjaxed Achilles in the other somewhat reducing his mobility. But it was as if Bellew wanted those who had paid €21.95 to view the night’s entertainment to have value for money, so he took another five rounds to end the contest.

For that rather steep €21.95, incidentally, we got six bouts, Sky refusing to accept an offer of €3.66 just to see Katie Taylor. It was all or nothing.

And she was on later than predicted too, so we had to watch Sam Eggington v Paulie Malignaggi. Sam, we learned, beat Frankie Gavin in his last fight, the failure of commentator Adam Smith to point out it was a different Frankie to the De Dannan fiddle player leaving us assuming that this was already widely known among the boxing fraternity.

The face of the woman tattooed on Sam’s upper arm winced as he lodged his fist into Paulie’s middle, the American crumbling in a heap, and that was that. You wondered if the poor fella would ever get his breath back.

Heavily tattooed

That’s when you’d have pined for Mick Dowling and Bernard Dunne to tell us how Katie had boxed, because the Sky people’s bluntest critique of her was that she was only the Second Coming and not the first.

“She’ll carry on obliterating,” Anthony Joshua told our ringside host Anna Woolhouse, and then it was time for a word with the woman herself.

“I’ll carry on obliterating,” she didn’t say, she was just quietly satisfied with her evening’s work. She’s looked very comfy too inside the professional ring so far, possibly a bit less comfy outside it, what with all the obliterating stuff that goes with the game.

So then, the main event. And who was in the commentary box to help Adam and Carl chat us through the fight only Paulie who’d miraculously got his breath back.

“Sorry for your loss,” said Adam, which didn’t sound right, Paulie thanking him from behind a very large pair of sunglasses. Which left you wondering how he’d see the fight and hoping he wouldn’t sit facing the toilets.

Entrance tune

Z Cars

“A nation expects,” said Adam.

“I feel like I’m going to explode,” said Carl.

[“Hello? Where is the ring,” asked Paulie].

So, your fight report. They slugged away for five rounds and then Haye was left with one leg and wobbled about the place but Bellew was so fatigued he couldn’t do anything about it until Haye finally fell out of the ring and then a towel was thrown in.

And then Bellew and Haye hugged and cuddled and whispered sweet nothings into each other’s ears, leaving the cynics suggesting that all that nasty pre-fight stuff might not have been genuine. As if, like.

Bellew suggested a rematch. The less than raucous response from the crowd hinted that they might have already left. Possibly heading for the local chipper. If they were lucky they might even have witnessed yet another Thrilla in Manila outside.

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