Boxing: David Haye stacks up well for grudge match with Dereck Chisora
While we in Scotland have been consumed with the biggest sporting story in Scottish history, down south the problems of Rangers have barely caused a ripple next to the controversy aroused by the fact that David Haye will face Dereck Chisora in the ring at Upton Park in London on Saturday night.
Before a blow is even struck, the contest has generated the biggest load of hype and hypocrisy since Britain went to war with Spain in 1739 over the severing of Captain Jenkins’ ear.
Reading the breathless reports in the London press, you would think war had actually been declared. People will therefore be going to Upton Park to see tooth-and-claw action as two men who clearly have a mutual dislike attempt to batter each other senseless.
This all began with Haye bellowing at Chisora at a press conference in Munich after Vitali Klitschko gave Chisora a boxing lesson in February. Chisora stomped through the assembled media and a brawl ensured which should have seen both men banned from professional boxing for a very, very long time.
The clamour for the two to meet in the ring grew irresistible and despite the British Boxing Board of Control removing Chisora’s licence – Haye’s was already surrendered as he had officially retired – the Luxembourg Boxing Federation agreed to step in and license both boxers and the fight.
The British Board can’t really complain, even though they have threatened action against promoter Frank Warren and anybody associated with the bout.
If the BBB of C really believed they had a case against Chisora, Haye, Warren and the Luxembourg Boxing Federation they would have taken out an injunction long before now. They did not, and in fact the Luxembourg Federation have told the BBB of C to back off or face some legal action of their own.
The Board will mump and moan but the fight goes ahead, and you have to admire Warren’s sheer chutzpah: on his BoxNation website he has billed the fight as “Licensed to Thrill”.
It’s box office, but it is boxing? No one ever said the Noble Art should be decorous, but I do have my doubts about legitimising a street brawl.
The general view in boxing was put by Amir Khan during a telephone press conference in which I participated.
Khan said: “There’s not been a big fight in Britain for such a long time, especially between two British fighters.
“It’s going to be prime time in the UK and it’s going to be an exciting fight because you’ve got the heavyweights and everyone knows what a heavyweight is. One punch can change a fight.”
Yes, Amir but should an unlicensed fighter be allowed in? “It’s a bit of a tough one but at the end of the day I think it’s better to have him in the ring fighting than on the streets fighting.”
My problem with the fight is not that it’s taking place, but that it is likely to be a complete mismatch. Chisora at 28 has fought just 18 professional bouts, losing three of them, including a stoppage defeat to Tyson Fury that cost him his British heavyweight title, and a split-decision points loss to Finland’s Robert Helenius who is adequate at best.
Chisora was really found out when he went in against Vitali Klitschko, the Ukrainian world champion barely losing a round.
Haye, on the other hand, legitimately acquired the WBA belt back in 2009 by beating Russian giant Nikolay Valuev, and only lost to Klitschko’s brother Wladimir on points, albeit he was well beaten.
Haye is only 31, he doesn’t have a lot of miles on the clock, and if Upton Park sees the David Haye who hammered former world champion John Ruiz to defeat inside nine rounds in April, 2010, then Chisora will be sent home early.
Can someone just make sure they go home separately?
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