After the brawl in Munich comes the official bout at Upton Park on 14 July. David Haye and Dereck Chisora will finally get the chance to settle a bitter score that Chisora admits Haye is “winning 1—0” after his bottle—in—hand uppercut and camera—tripod attack in front of a stunned press pack in February. It is billed Licensed to Thrill, a sarcastic retort perhaps from the promoter Frank Warren at critics who have aimed fire at him for reaching out to the Luxembourg Boxing Association to legitimise a bout that the British Boxing Board of Control has not sanctioned.
Chisora had his licence suspended by the BBBC after the midnight ruckus in Germany and Haye gave his up last year when he retired after his embarrassing defeat by Wladimir Klitschko.
And in an arena that had been at its most raucous as West Ham United mauled Cardiff City in a one—sided spectacle the day before, Haye promised a 35,000—strong boxing crowd he would deliver something similar — “a nice, slow, concussive beating” — should they stump up the cash to watch the fight.
“He is the ideal opponent for me,” Haye said. “I am so glad he has got a good chin because if he didn’t have a good chin he would be blasted out in the first round. I tried to knock him out in Munich and this is the opportunity to shut him up.”
Haye’s prediction could be an accurate one, as on the other side of the fence dividing the two camps sat Chisora, as chubby—looking as many of the eight security guards who flanked him and Warren, his manager.
“I don’t like him. David, you need to get style. Cornrows were last stylish when Ja Rule had a hit record on Kiss FM. Talk is cheap now. You got a lucky shot, I’ll give that one to you. Come a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll whoop your a**,” said Chisora.
Given his flabby physical state that scenario is unlikely. Impressive as Chisora was against an ageing Vitali Klitschko, he will have to do some serious training to be in peak physical condition to face a more mobile boxer who is better suited to a toe—to—toe contest with a lionhearted but shorter and more limited brawler such as himself.
And therein lies the problem. As a sporting spectacle it does not offer much. Haye said he would end his retirement only to face a Klitschko. Chisora has lost his last three fights. But throw in a prop security fence, the talk of a knife being brandished some weeks ago (it turns out it was the steak knife Haye was holding while eating a meal that was interrupted by Chisora) and the history of the Munich brawl, and as theatre it is extremely saleable — and the key reason why Warren, who was “disgusted” by the scenes in Munich and said in February that he did not feel he could promote a Haye—Chisora bout, has made a complete U—turn.
“There’s far more worse things gone on in boxing than what is happening here,” Warren said. “We can all sit here and decide whether we feel right about what we are doing or not. The BBC have shown the Formula One in Bahrain. They are going to be in the Ukraine covering the Euros. This fight sits well with me. I have not got a problem.
“I manage Chisora and I have a contractual obligation to him. The [appeal] hearing [with the BBBC] was put back to July so Dereck will have effectively been out of the ring for six months and that equates, if he was a footballer, to being out of action for 24 matches. He has lost half of his purse in sanctions and costs since the Klitschko fight. He has no qualifications, the next thing for him to do would be to sign on.”
Painting a picture of himself as a white knight who is giving a man “his right to work” is a bit rich but not as rich as Warren stands to be as a shareholder in BoxNation, the satellite boxing channel that will show a fight between two British boxers that Warren reckons is the “biggest this century” and is sure to be profitable whether it delivers or not.
How the BBBC views the prospect of the first professional fight to take place on British soil not under its remit, is not known. Officials will be concerned about the further damage it could do to the image of boxing in this country as well as their own authority.
They meet on Wednesday night to discuss the issue and may make clear what, if any, action they can take against Warren for making arrangements with the Luxembourg Boxing Association and announcing a very public fight somewhat out of the blue.
A spokesperson for the Minister for Sport, Hugh Robertson, said he will monitor the response of the BBBC but is not overly concerned about the criticism surrounding the fight.
As for the public, this is perhaps a spectacle that will get “fight” fans salivating but perhaps not weary boxing fans who still yearn for a skilful heavyweight bout worth the hype.
Copyright: Guardian News & Media 2012