After enjoying a couple of years of sensational highs, British boxing has been dragged through the mud in a big way by two petulant, egotistical and quite frankly disappointing heavyweight boxers. Dereck Chisora and David Haye clashed violently following the post-match conference of Chisora’s gutsy defeat to Vitali Klitschko, shaming the sport as a whole.
Chisora had started the week badly, astonishingly slapping Vitali during the weigh-in, which can be viewed here for those of you who have managed to miss it – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxHkJq1ICOE.
This was a miscalculated gamble, it riled Klitschko himself, not to mention alienating any support Chisora had gained, indeed his own trainer Don Charles criticised his fighter’s actions. Still, ‘Del Boy’ went some way to regaining a miniscule of respect, turning in a battling performance to go the distance with Vitali, showing far more talent and skill that David Haye managed during that dismal defeat to Vitali’s brother Wladimir last summer. Chisora had done himself proud and many experts suspected that Vitali had faced his biggest test since Lennox Lewis beat him controversially back in 2003.
Then came the furore. Haye gatecrashed the press conference apparently angry at revelations that Vitali had decided not to fight him, despite the Hayemaker considering a return from retirement to set up the big clash. Chisora then goaded his heavyweight rival, asking ‘How’s your toe’ in reference to the apparent injury Haye used as an excuse for his no-show against Wladimir, before Chisora left the stage to confront Haye in the middle of the packed media room. What happened next was nothing like anything anyone has seen in boxing before.
The pair traded blows, with Haye swinging a camera tripod around, injuring his own trainer Adam Booth. Talks of ‘glassing’ were also mentioned. Just to add further classiness to the whole sordid affair, Chisora afterwards threatened to ‘shoot’ Haye, before stating “If David don’t fight me, I am going to physically burn him.” These comments have done the fighter no favours; he is currently being interviewed by the Munich police, who picked him up at the airport this morning on his way home. Haye went missing from his hotel and the police have asked him to turn himself in.
The whole incident is just embarrassing for British boxing. Chisora had already proved his lack of decency in the build-up to the fight, while his promoter Frank Warren is said to be furious and considering his options regarding his fighter. As for Haye, well the story just goes on. He has always been a tasteless individual, who can forget the decapitated heads of the Klitschko brothers or the constant trash-talking that captivated the British public. That was acceptable in the context of the fight though; Haye raised expectation levels through the roof, attracting a paying public and leading everyone to believe he had the ability to unify the heavyweight division, especially after his victory over Nikolai Valuev in 2009. He didn’t have that ability. His performance against Wladimir was embarrassing, disappointing all those who backed him and should have essentially ended his career. The later talks about him fighting Vitali had everyone groaning, the country has had enough of David Haye and his big mouth.
The man has talked the talk, in a big way as well, but he certainly didn’t walk the walk. He can’t seem to accept that his career is over and is hell bent on further ruining a reputation that once stood so tall. Haye should stand back and look at what he has achieved; he was a superb world cruiserweight champion and could have gone on to be one of the greatest ever. He took the brave decision to step up a division and kept the public entertained for a number of years. What he needs to understand is, we’ve had enough David. You’ve had your chance and you blew it. A match-up with Chisora would be tasty, but potentially damaging for the sport’s name, the two can’t even behave themselves in a room full of people.
It’s a shame for British boxing; indeed the sport had reached an all-time high in this country when Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton were taking it to America. Fighters like Carl Froch, Amir Khan and even Haye himself kept the sport in the public eye, competing against the best fighters in the world, though none of them ever quite managed the victory that would have propelled them to greatness. It’s difficult to see how Haye and Chisora can salvage their reputations, indeed Munich was like a scene of ‘Brits abroad’ that is normally witnessed on the beaches of the Costa Del Sol. Bernd Boente, the Klitchsko’s manager said: “With the bad experience we’ve had with British fighters we will now look for other countries.” The worrying question is, after all this, how many other fighters will follow this approach?