Boxing deserves better than Chisora, Haye
February, 20, 2012
By Igor Guryashkin | ESPN.com
On Saturday night in Munich, a game Dereck Chisora fought bravely against Vitali Klitschko.
In fact, "brave" is the tag journalists so often use to describe the litany of outmatched, outpunched fighters who fail miserably in the Herculean task of even troubling a member of the dominant heavyweight Klitschko family.
Chisora was different. He was outclassed, sure, but he also marched relentlessly forward in the heat of a lost battle to emerge as one of the few fighters not to be rendered unconscious by a leatherbound Klitschko fist.
Still, to look at Saturday's fight in this vacuum and through such a narrow lens would be ignoring the fact that Chisora, alongside former heavyweight champion David Haye, are currently ranked in the upper echelons of moronic, classless fools who soil the good but increasingly tarnished name of boxing -- a sport that provides them with a lifestyle few could ever hope to enjoy.
During Friday's weigh-in, Chisora slapped Klitschko. Yes, you read that correctly: Dereck Chisora slapped Vitali Klitschko. The same Vitali Klitschko who, along with his brother, Wladimir, are two of the nicest, gentlemanly, philanthropic ambassadors a sport could wish for. The slap was an act of desperation from a man who knew he would lose like all the others. It was a slap, both literal and figurative, to the same Klitschko who gave Chisora his highest payday.
And what did Vitali Klitschko do?
Nothing. Class act.
Then, when both fighters had entered the ring on Saturday, Chisora decided to spit water in the face of Vitali's brother. In the confines of the hostile, jeer-filled partisan cauldron in Munich, Wladimir could be expected to retaliate. What did he do?
Nothing. Class act.
Then came the cherry on this most delicious of trifles. At the postfight news conference, Chisora, goaded by Haye, a fellow Brit, started a brawl in the middle of the media room. Haye, holding a bottle in his hand, threw the first punch, after Chisora had left his seat to confront him. A scuffle ensued that involved Haye throwing a photographer's tripod. Haye's manager and trainer, Adam Booth, emerged with blood trickling down his face, while Haye brawled with Chisora's trainer, to boot.
It was then that Chisora crossed the line of being a mere madcap "British eccentric." He left that tag as a dot on the horizon when, in front of hundreds of people, he threatened to track down Haye and shoot and burn him.
Boxers aren't known for their intellect, often unfairly so. Beneath its widely preconceived brutish image, the pugilistic fraternity is awash with sharp, insightful and colorful characters more welcoming at times than any other sporting family.
But boxing is also a sport that owes its entire existence to a controlled and regulated form of violence that is more susceptible than most to the antics of rancid bad eggs like Chisora and Haye. They spoil what is otherwise a consistently good batch.
Haye is adamant in his desire for a fight with Vitali Klitschko. Of course he is: It's the biggest payday available to him in his weight class. But this is the same David Haye who spent two years goading Wladimir into a fight, including wearing T-shirts depicting Haye in the pose of a conqueror holding the decapitated heads of the Ukrainian heavyweight siblings. On fight night, Haye lost in embarrassing fashion, laying blame on a broken toe. His stock depreciated to a laughable level.
Meanwhile, his pride may hurt, but his wallet doesn't. And after Saturday's debacle, neither Haye nor Chisora deserves a fight with either of the Klitschkos. At this point, a Chisora-Haye fight would generate huge interest in their homeland. But their homeland is where they should remain -- far away from the global platform on which they so consistently sully the sport that rewards them so highly.
It's acts like these that make people believe such behavior is part and parcel of boxing. This is not true. It's part and parcel of degenerates like Haye and Chisora, not the sport with which they are unfortunately and inextricably linked.