The former WBA heavyweight king settled into the contest but suffered an ankle injury during a rough-and-tumble sixth round, when a frenzied Bellew forced him to take a count.
The Evertonian would tire in the latter rounds as he struggled with the extra weight while Haye bravely fought on despite the injury.
A shocking video appears to show David Haye's trainer Shane McGuigan throw a punch at a fan after the heavyweight lost to Tony Bellew last night. I came into this fight with a dodgy right knee, I done this in the second round (broken hand) and I can't explain the pain I have been through in this camp. "I knew I just had to keep on taking all he was throwing as he would eventually tire and fade".
"I just knew it was going to come and forget the injuries".
Haye and Bellew exchanged angry words and had to be separated by security - but on March 4 there will be no parting them. I've made some bad mistakes in life. "We've got one of the biggest fights in British boxing history [Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium] on April 29, but I believe Britain can have two world heavyweight champions, because I believe he [Bellew] can beat Wilder and Parker".
If Hearn can't get Bellew a title shot, then I see him looking towards a rematch against Haye.
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With talk already gathering pace of a rematch with Haye and potential encounters with world heavyweight champions Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder, Bellew insists he only has a year maximum left in the sport. "I've been away from my kids 14 weeks on and off".
The 34-year-old Bellew had moved up from cruiserweight to face Haye, whose previous fight was last May against Swiss Arnold Gjergjaj.
The camera holder soon turned his attention towards Rooney to ask him what he thought of the bout with the striker replying: "Brilliant, I was nervous but I'm just happy for him". That was never my intention, never is.
"Bellew is completely delusional if he thinks he can beat me".
"At the end, I told him: "Thank you. That's the only thing I have got to say to Dillian Whyte". The biggest danger in this game to me is me.
"I did not expect him to have the chin and the durability that he has", said Haye after the fight. If he gets past Hughie Fury in May, might Parker wind up defending his belt against another British fighter in his second defence?