- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former heavyweight title challenger Dereck Chisora's fight against former titleholder David Haye on July 14 at Upton Park, an outdoor soccer stadium in London, has become one of the most talked-about fights on the boxing calendar, even though it won't be fought for a world title.
These guys have stirred up massive controversy because of the ugly incident that took place between them after Chisora lost a decision to titleholder Vitali Klitschko on Feb. 14 in Germany.
At the news conference following the bout, Chisora and Haye, who was on hand as part of the British television broadcast team, got into a heated verbal exchange. They threatened each other, called each other out and, finally, Chisora walked off the dais and toward Haye. In WWE style, they wound up brawling for all the cameras to see, and Chisora and Haye's trainer/manager Adam Booth were hit by bottles resulting in the now-classic Chisora cry: "He glassed me!"
Many were up in arms over the immature and dangerous display. The cops got involved, Chisora had his British license revoked and Haye, whose license expired during his retirement following his pathetic losing performance against champion Wladimir Klitschko last July, wasn't about to be given another if he wanted one.
British boxing regulators refused to sanction the fight, so promoter Frank Warren got the Luxemburg commission to step in and oversee the fight, which is allowable under European Union trade rules. (Luxemburg has a commission? Who knew?)
Anyway, the point is that Chisora-Haye, love it or hate it, is one of the most compelling heavyweight fights in the sport. Warren said more than 17,000 tickets were sold almost immediately after they went on sale. Chisora-Haye might be one of the most compelling fights in boxing, period, just based on the violent scene from the press conference and the fact that both fighters trash-talk like few others in boxing.
American fight fans will be able to see it live now that premium network Epix, as it has done for many European fights (especially recent significant heavyweight fights), has secured U.S. rights to the bout. (Note: I will again be part of the broadcast team).
Epix will also air live another notable heavyweight fight from the card: titlist Alexander Povetkin's third defense, a mandatory against former champion Hasim Rahman.
With the addition of the July 14 card, Epix will be airing three significant heavyweight bouts in two weeks. The network also will have live coverage of champion Wladimir Klitschko's rematch with mandatory challenger Tony Thompson on July 7 from Berne, Switzerland. Klitschko stopped him in the 11th round in 2008.
All three fights will stream live at EpixHD.com and be shown on the Jumbotron in Times Square in New York.