This year has simmered with shock and story so far for the sport of boxing with yet-to-be deciphered drug scandals and controversial upsets. And now we have a bout with traces of the Wild West if not the essence and origin of the sport itself on our doorstep and everyone is talking about it. Whether you agree or not; like it or loathe it; are in or out; David Haye against Dereck Chisora in London is a ticket seller and as ringside reporter for BoxNation on Saturday, I'm in.
This is a fight that Haye wouldn't have considered worthy last year but the dramatic events that followed Chiosora's valiant, losing effort against Vitali Klitschko in February lent the match a simmering inevitability.
I was in Munich that night when post-fight punches were thrown and blood was spilled; when a beer bottle and a tripod became infamous but missed the whole thing because I was calling another fight from the TV truck. You'll have seen the chaotic footage one way or another as tickets continue to sell. Upton Park will be rammed to the rafters this weekend as punters salivate at the prospect of seeing some of that blood again.
Haye went to Munich as guest pundit for BoxNation but in reality he was there to tease Vitali into a prospective, legitimate scrap. That idea backfired wildly, largely because Chisora often acts before he thinks and is usually one small step away from doing something ridiculous if not juvenile. That was the same weekend Chisora slapped Vitali at the weigh-in and spat water on Vladimir's face in the ring. Expect the usual head-to-head to be conducted from a distance in the lead up to Saturday.
No surprise then that most punters, pundits and fans are looking forward to this with a violent intrigue, so much so it's easy to forget the facts. Important among them is the fact that Haye (1.39) is a much, much more talented boxer than Chisora (3.85).
It is not just that Haye has been a two-weight World Champion and has generally fought at a higher level but technically Haye is an artisan to Chisora the rock breaker. It is difficult painting comparisons without seeming rude but Haye is sharper, faster, hits properly and to my eye, is simply levels above Chisora. That's not to say that chipping away at big boulders won't have the desired effect mind you. And therein lays the potential subplot.
Regardless of everything else (remember he was biting an opponent's ear long before the Munich incidents) Chisora is a tough fighter. He went 12 rounds with Tyson Fury when he was ridiculously out of shape and then kept ramming Klitschko when losing nearly every minute of every round last time.
Let's be clear, the Zimbabwe-born Londoner has the style and the wilfulness to give Haye problems, if not to pull this off. But perspective is needed and despite the Klitschko effort (remember Vitali is 40 now and hurt his arm early) and the unlucky decision against Helenius for the European Title, Chisora's stand-out win was a late stoppage over Sam Sexton who was recently hammered by David Price and who, let's be honest, wouldn't be allowed in the same ring as Haye.
Personally, I think a slow, come-forward fighter like Chisora is made for Haye, a little like John Ruiz who Haye dropped four times en route to a stunning ninth round win two years ago. If Haye is fit and focused, this fight is right up his alley and Chisora will frequently, if not always, be in the firing line.
I wouldn't say this is a mismatch like the Audley Harrison fight which Haye won in three rounds a year-and-a-half ago; Chisora is too tough for that comparison. But 'Del Boy' wouldn't have Audley's skill or punch, the Finchley man will rely on brute strength, will and the belief that he can simply wear Haye down. There are many who likewise believe that Haye lacks stamina and can't take a punch but he took the few that Vladimir Klitschko landed and he avoided plenty more. If Klitschko, one of the best athletes the heavyweight division has seen, couldn't get to Haye, Chisora has absolutely no chance.
This fight revolves around Haye entirely as much as it does the amount of leather Dereck Chisora can absorb. No doubt Haye has been evasive and less proactive in fights against more dangerous big men but he has been explosive and clinical in fights he knows he can win. This is such a fight.
Remember, Haye has 23 stoppages in 25 wins, halting all except the giant Valuev and Klitschko since he moved up to heavyweight. There is a similar weight of expectation among boxing fans this weekend and I suspect the bloodthirsty throng at Upton Park on Saturday will have their way, as Haye ultimately will with Chisora.
3pts Back Haye to win by KO/TKO/DQ @ 2.68
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