Boxing: Dereck Chisora

With the David Haye-Dereck Chisora heavyweight clash coming to full fruition, it sure seems like bad behavior is being rewarded.

You'll recall that after Chisora gave a decent account of himself against Vitali Klitschko on Feb. 18 in Munich, dropping a 12-round decision, he got into it at the postfight news conference with David Haye. Party-crasher Haye had become something of a laughingstock after he set an unofficial record for talking a big game and then not coming close to backing it up when he went into scaredy-cat mode in his scrap with Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg last July, losing a lopsided decision. Haye started yapping at Chisora at the presser, apparently to lure him into a tilt, and it looks like it worked. The yapping turned into a full-blown brawl, with Haye smashing a beer bottle on Chisora's mug. The authorities looked into the event afterward, and boxing received its trillionth black eye.

But guess what? That display of idiotic thuggishness will probably result in a massive payday for the two miscreants. A square-off between Haye and Chisora is slated for July 14 in London, although uncertainty remains on the specifics because neither Haye nor Chisora has a license to box in England. Haye gave his up when he "retired" last October, while Chisora's was yanked for his unruly behavior prior to and after the Vitali fight. Most likely, things will get ironed out, because tickets have gone on sale. In fact, 17,000 were sold on the first day of release. No surprise, interest is high in a clash between the two bad actors.

Wladimir Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), the 36-year-old heavyweight champion, was asked if he is distressed that the fighters' poor behavior is being rewarded.

"All of the champions since Joe Louis, Max Schmeling, Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano have tried to polish the sport of boxing, and make it as glamorous as it is, and the behavior of Dereck Chisora is sending the wrong message to the youth -- that means, the worse you behave, the more money you are going to make, and you're going to be known for it," he said. "So it's definitely sending a wrong message, and I totally disagree with the decision from the Luxembourg Boxing Federation to give permission and license. And by the way, promoters are promoting this fight as the fight of the century, which is totally nonsense, because they both lost to [the Klitschko brothers]."

No word yet on whether any U.S. entity will televise the bout. I'm guessing none will, so if anyone in the States was thinking they could boycott the fight to show their displeasure that Haye and Chisora will benefit despite representing boxing in such a degrading fashion, that option likely won't be available.

Boxing deserves better than Chisora, Haye

February, 20, 2012

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.

Class act.

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.