Paul Stewart column: Bellew is a boxer to be remembered fondly

Last Saturday we witnessed not only the end of a fantastic boxing career, but also the beginning of dominance in the cruiserweight division '“ and possibly higher.

Friday, 16th November 2018, 7:00 am
Tony Bellew in action against Oleksandr Usyk during their bout at Manchester Arena

I’m not going to dedicate much to the winner, Oleksandr Usyk, as the plaudits should quite rightly sit with Tony Bellew.

He is a typical, down-to-earth guy, and his seemingly grounded persona, endeared him to the nation.

Yes, he did say some things near to the core, especially before his first fight with David Haye but I think, if we’re honest, the majority of us wanted him to win both fights against Haye.

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Haye infuriated the public with his LA lifestyle training, while Bellew was in a spit and sawdust gym, exactly as depicted in the first Rocky film.

I’m sure he will forge himself a career co-commentating at the big fights, but, for me, he will be missed for his ‘lad’s lad’ personality and his all-round decent guy qualities.

So what did we think about Jose Mourinho’s antics after the Juventus-Manchester United Champions League game?

It seemed to divide the media and public but I peragreed with Paul Scholes’ comment on TV.

While I understand that the game is very emotive, and pressures are bound to play a part in players’ and managers’ reactions, I just feel Scholes was correct when he said you can win with a bit of class, something Sir Alex Ferguson did during his years of domination.

For me, the time to ring the changes is not far away at Old Trafford; the derby loss was a blow.

If United don’t progress through to the knockout stages of the Champions League, then I think Zinedine Zidane could be in the hotseat before they lose any more ground in the Premier League.

As a United fan, I have become increasingly disillusioned with Mourinho; his pre and post-match interviews always revolve around him, his arrogance grates on me, and to be honest, his big money buys are failing to show why so much was spent on them.

While we are in Manchester, it would be ill mannered of me not to mention Manchester City.

It looks ominous for the chasing pack, the way they are destroying everyone in their path with consummate ease.

They purr along like a Rolls Royce engine, displaying the gulf in class between them and the 19 other teams in the league.

Liverpool remain my choice to finish second still, but I fear the title race may well be done and dusted with games to spare.

Pep Guardiola’s team are growing in strength and stature with each passing fixture, and with nobody having the resources that they have, then another title looks imminent.

I’m also going to stick my neck out and back them to be triumphant in the Champions League this campaign.