RingSide Report

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By Donald C. Stewart

At one point towards the end of last year this once proud island boasted only one World Champion. We had seen the promise of “The Cobra” falter in the white heat of the final of the Super Six. Our Bolton battler had sneaked away from Washington bleating and complaining that he was robbed. Even the wee man from Coatbridge in Scotland had hung up his belt to go up a weight. We all thought we had hit the lowest point we could have.

Step forward the BIG boys. If we thought we had found the gutter in which to wallow we were just kidding ourselves on.

We had yet to witness the pantomime of two heavyweight “contenders” trying to outdo each other in a press conference. If it wasn’t so farcical we would be vying for the movie rights.

After his defeat to Wladimir Klitschko 56-3, 49 KO’s, I defended David Haye 25-2, 23 KO’s. I thought he had a game plan that could have worked out but for the broken toe that was, simply put – embarrassing.

The brawl in the bar happened after Dereck Chisora 15-3, 9 KO’s, had proven what a brave and courageous fighter he is made it worse. To have the man who almost went toe to toe with Wladimir Klitschko and lost call him out was just … erm … even worse.

So what happened?

Well apart from British Boxing stripping its dignity and leaving it on the floor, we had Dereck Chisora beaten in a fairly one sided contest. Before that he had slapped Vitali Klitschko 44-2, 40KOs at the weigh in.

For that Chisora will be rightly fined. It was in stark contrast to the admirably high profile and relaxed manner in which the press had been handled leading up to contest. Chisora had history with both the Klitschkos and Haye. And it was recent history. He was the guy who had been due to fight Wladimir twice and both bouts had fallen through. Wladimir went on to fight David Haye instead. Haye was coming into that fight after the pulsating embarrassment that was his defeat in 3 rounds of Audley Harrison 27-5, 20 KO’s. That was a shameful over hype of unbelievable proportions.

Then Haye went in against Wladimir after Wladimir had managed to tease Chisora into not one but two contests that never happened. Chisora must have been gutted and angry. Haye simply did not fulfill his promise or his promises in that fight and we all felt as cheated as we did during the Harrison debacle.
But Haye was one of us. We wanted to believe that this guy had a destiny to fulfill. He had united the cruiserweight division and then won the Heavyweight crown. We loved the guy.

Chisora was a new phenomenon. He had been driven to the top and was given the shot at Wladimir far too early. Just how early was shown when he lost against Tyson Fury 17-0, 12KOs for the British and Commonwealth titles live on British terrestrial TV. This was the first terrestrial boxing event in the UK for years! It was a great fight and one that took away the taste of Harrison v Haye.

Chisora then went out to Finland and lost the European title fight against Robert Helenius 17-0, 11KOs. By all accounts Chisora won it but the verdict was given against him. Then he got a World Title shot. Seemed weird – lose not one but three belts and you are ready for a world title shot? Certainly the fact that he had not got the fight against Wladimir played a part but we all thought – here we go – Dereck will fail again.
His temperament was called into question when he inexplicably slapped Vitali at the weigh in.

What quite went through Chisora’s mind at that point can only be guessed. What has been suggested is that the whole get up – he was wearing a Union Jack mask over his face – and the slap was to hype the fight. Was the fight not selling then? I hardly think so…

During the fight the highest praise actually came from Adam Booth, David Haye’s manager and trainer who talked of how well Chisora was doing and how he belonged at this level. It was not faint praise – it was genuinely offered and meant. Unfortunately Chisora was still out of his depth and was well beaten. What he gained was some credibility as he boxed and fought rather than running away. He did not suffer any broken toes.

So we had the fight and we were ready to rumble on. Unfortunately the event after the fight – the press conference – was more eventful than the fight. Chisora was on the platform with Haye in the audience. Haye was contributing to the BoxNation coverage whilst Chisora had just gone 12 rounds with the World Champion.

A shouting match starts. Haye, clearly wanting to get a fight with Vitali – reminiscent of goading Wladimir in an airport once – starts shooting his mouth off. Chisora comes down to confront Haye, it becomes a brawl, Chisora claims to have been cut by a glass wielded by Haye, Adam Booth is cut, Haye is seen swinging a tripod, people get involved, people are separated, Booth congratulates Klitschko and has a dig at the Klitschko’s manager, Bernd Boente, Chisora threatens to burn and kill Haye – in front of the media – whilst photographs and video goes viral thanks to the internet. Boxing hangs its head in shame.

Bernd Boente has suggested that having a fight against a British boxer is a bad idea – after all look at how they carry on – broken toes, brawls in bars and so on… And who can blame him. Haye left the press conference immediately afterwards. He was sharing a hotel with the Chisora camp and due to having his life threatened cut short his stay. Chisora was arrested by the German police – they have to arrest to question – and then released without charge. Haye is still to be interviewed. There will be an inquiry. Chisora has had $100,000 of his purse withheld and we will not hold our breath as the outcome is clear. These idiots need to behave or get out of the ring. Both have apologized and there are plenty of people condemning both them and the spectacle.

Last year we lost a great fighter in Joe Frazier. It gave us an opportunity to reflect on the behavior of one of my heroes – Ali. He was the master at this type of hype. He never ended up in this. How come? Was it a more naive time? Were people more tolerant? Was there less press attention? Were his targets made of sterner stuff? Thing is and this may be the only positive – guess what everyone is talking about now?

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