Haye Chisora - Who was really to blame - and what happens now....?
by Luke Worthington - Safe to say that every man and his dog now know who Derek Chisora is, and not perhaps for all of the right reasons. Is it true that there is no such thing as bad column inches, or will this really be as damaging to the sport of boxing, and to both mens careers as people would have us believe....?
Article posted on 21.02.2012
Rather than get carries away in all of the hysteria - lets try to have a look at the facts - and try to see it from both points of view.
Derek 'Del Boy' Chisora
In my opinion an underrated fighter, let himself down badly in his shambolic domestic battle against Tyson Fury, and by all accounts was robbed against Helenius and should be the European Champ. A European title (and a fair amounts of salesmanship) was deemed enough to get Audley Harrison a shot at World honours, so for the sake of argument we can say he was there on merit.
Chisora had been promised a fight with Wlad Klitschko around a year ago, got himself in shape, stayed out of the ring (keeping in mind domestic fighters need to stay active to keep getting paid), and did his bit selling the fight.
Fast forward a few weeks and we see Del Boy cast aside with a fair amount of disdain and left out in the cold as Wlad had his eye (and wallet) on the far more lucrative fight with David Haye.
Twelve months later Dereck gets his shot against big brother, and all throughout the build up behaves as the model hand picked challenger, respectful to the brothers K, grateful and gracious.
Come the infamous fight weekend, that all came to change...
As everyone close to the sport will know, fighting away from home puts you at a distinct disadvantage. Not just in terms of a partisan crowd - but perhaps more importantly being the 'away' fighter on someone elses promotion means that they call the shots on everything. From your training facilities, your press calls, what hotel you are in, your dressing room, and in this case how you wrap your hands and even what walk out music you can use. Add to that the Klitschko brothers have been doing this a long time, and have mastered the little tricks and inconveniences that gradually build up over fight week - all designed to take the opponent out of his comfort zone, and remind him who is in control.
Control - being the operative word - Klitschko fights are famous for it. You rarely see either of them blow an opponent away, they carefully manipulate and deconstruct them, and they start a long time before the first bell goes.
We now have Chisora in Munich, and its fight weekend. He has been dictated to all week, the day before the big night he's had his signature walk out music cancelled for being 'childish' - (was that really the first time anyone from K2 promotios heard it!?) and the tension has been simmering away.
Weigh in and face off, Derek knows he's already losing the psychological battle, he knows his one shot is the 'punchers chance' and that he has to get Vitali into a war. Slap gate. Think of it what you will.
Fight night, fight delayed by half an hour due to little brothers appearance in the away dressing room and insistence that Chisora re-wraps his hands. The same little brother who didn't attend the rules meeting the day before when hand wraps and taping techniques were all agreed and discussed.
Spit gate. Indefensible in my opinion. Derek showing he isn't intimidated by the brothers? One last ditch attempt to get Vitali out from behind his jab? Either way - its a bad move.
Outstanding performance from Chisora. Surprised many, fought with heart and courage, and gave Vitali his hardest fight since Lennox Lewis tore him a new one.
The press conference
Chisora, flanked by trainer and promoter is fielding questions about his performance, and wondering what will happen next. He had earned his moment in the limelight and was enjoying it - and who could blame him.
Enter one former champion from stage left.
Now until this point Chisora had no idea Haye was out there as a commentator (a hasty last minute arrangement...).
Keeping in mind how Del Boy was cast aside by Wlad Klitschko as soon as the ink was dry on the Haye contract, and the public criticisms Haye had aimed at Vitali for fighting Chisora this time around. Derek could be forgiven for thinking what is this guy doing here, on my big day, at my press conference, making this all about him....?
Having just given the performance of his life, Chisora clearly took exception at being called a loser and an unworthy opponent by what he saw as an uninvited guest gate crashing his party. Now that does not excuse getting up from the top table, throwing off his jacket and walking 20 yards to face the man down - but at least we can in some way understand some of the back story.
David 'hayemaker' Haye
Love him or hate him, one of the most successful boxers Britain has ever produced. From his amateur silver medal, through to utter domination of the cruiserweights, culminating in moving up to the blue riband division - dethroning the biggest and heaviest champion in history, dismantling the supposedly indestructible Ruiz and eventually losing only in a unification match against a boxer who will eventually go down as being one of the greatest ever. He claimed he woudl bring excitement back to heavyweight boxing, and he did it.
I for one think that David truly believed he would take out Wlad Klitschko, and that he would go out on his own terms on top of the World. We all know how that fight ended - but perhaps what we don't all know is the extend of the brinkmanship the Haye camp were subjected to throughout the build up.
Suffice to say that Mr Haye was thoroughly P'd off by the time he'd had to fight his way through the crowd and made it into the ring with soaking wet boots.
Did this affect his performance? Possibly not - but it did leave the former WBA champion considerably out of his comfort zone before the bout got under way.
The net result? One British ex champion, castigated by his own national press in the way only they can. We are the undisputed World Champions at building someone up and then throwing them to the wolves - normally when they need us the most (David Beckham anyone?).
David Haye is a fighter, and a proud and ambitious man. In his heart of hearts knowing he was out done by the better man on the day - but also knew that he took Wlads biggest shots and stayed on his feet, and also that he had the big man hanging on for dear life at one point.
There is nothing worse than thinking 'if only.....'
Haye was left with 4 options:
1 - Walk away and enjoy his retirement.
2 - Immediate re match with Wlad.
3 - Drop down the rankings start fighting some top 10 heavyweights and get back in line for another shot.
4 - Redemption against Vitali, win a title rematch with Wlad on his own terms.
Anyone who knows David Haye the man, or indeed who has been around top level sport will know full well that going out on a loss, whilst still in your prime is an almost impossible ask.
Having lost a unanimous decision, and with no title to bring to the table, Haye was in no position to be making demands for a re match - and if one was granted would have been a typical K2 promotions 1 sided contract complete with all post fight options.
Haye is a family man, made a commitment to himself, his wife, and his long term friend, manager and trainer that he would get to the top and walk away. One last shot they could all accept - but a couple of years working up the rankings - on smaller shows in obscure locations....? Understandable that he had no interest in this.
Leaves only one viable option - get the fight with Vitali at all costs.
As we understand things in December Vitali and Haye agreed terms for a fight in June 2012 - both sides were happy and Haye got back in the gym.
Several weeks later Haye gets notification that Vitali will indeed fight a British challenger - but that it will be Chisora - and it will be in February.
On the face of it shouldn't be a problem, on paper its nothing more than a warm up for Klitschko - keeping his eye in and helpfully against a smaller, faster hard hitting Brit.
But what happens if Chisora wins?
What happens if Vitali gets a cut?
Next think the Haye camp hear from Boente is the June fight is off, and they are all back to square 1.
David Haye, along with most fight fans, had this down as being another almost pointless Klitschko shut out. But when slap gate went down - he understood people were going to be paying attention and leaped aboard.
Having given a fair and balanced performance as the studio expert for Box Nation, the hayemaker and his manager made his way to the post fight press conference. He was well within his rights to be there as a member of the press pack - but also as a genuinely interested party if you can go in - why not?
Berndt Boente, manager of both Klitschko brothers seemed to continually look to divert the thread of the conversation away from praising Chisora's performance, and on to castigating Haye's last outing - much to the annoyance of both British fighters.
Haye - of the opinion that Boente was trying to reneg on December's agreement - rose to the bait and tried to get the Klitschko camp to explain in front of the world's media why they pulled out of the June date.
Frank Warren then raised the prospect of a Haye / Chisora eliminator. Britains highest profile boxer asked the legitimate question:
'Why? he has lost three in a row, who is interested in watching that? I'll fight Vitali or nobody'
Having seen Chisora slap the face of Vitali Klitschko, and spit in the face of his younger brother. When he, his minders, and trainer came marching up throwing off their jackets - it was probably a reasonably safe assumption that he wasn't looking for a cuddle....
Haye is a naturally gifted and instinctive fighter. Standing on his own faced with several large men walking towards him looking for trouble he had two options:
1 - Leave the room, or 'run David run' as Boente and Klitschko can be heard shouting and laughing across the room. Backing down from an un ranked fighter in front of the world's press, and stepping back in front of his arch nemesis team Klitschko
2 - Stand his ground, wait for Derek to lay a finger on him, and when he did get his retaliation in early.
What happened next, as they say, is history....
So - bringing us back to the initial question - who is to blame? Del Boy? The Hayemaker? The Klitschkos? I think most people can probably see it from all sides - they all had an agenda and a motive...
What happens next for both men? Del Boy is clearly happy to play the heel to keep getting top billing - as many have done so before him - the younger man will make more in future purses and his notoriety than he will lose in the inevitable fines.
Has Haye missed the boat - did his attempt to steal Chisora's thunder turn full circle? Or is he pleased that once again the sporting world is talking about him again?
But how about the slippery Boente and his continual manipulation and provocation of the incident?
? Or others?
I for one will not be surprised if all parties don't walk away from this in a far better position to make money than they were walking in to it. Albeit with the two British fighters having to take the pain of the bad publicity and the subsequent media lambasting.
As usual though - the biggest winners look like being the promoters - the mater puppeteers who could have poured water on the sparks.
Instead of gasoline.
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