Alan Dawson – London
There may have been a steel fence separating David Haye from his bitter heavyweight rival Dereck Chisora at a press conference at the Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, East London this week but there was nothing to block the inevitable verbal jousting that ensued. The two Britons get their dukes up on Saturday, July 14 and both issued early caveats as Haye told Chisora he could expect a “slow, concussive beating” while Del Boy said he’ll “whoop” David’s ass.
Interest in the match-up has been rife despite the apparent controversy surrounding the licensing of the main protagonists. Neither Haye nor Chisora are licensed boxers with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) as the former has come out of retirement and is yet to renew while the latter had his withdrawn due to his notorious behaviour prior, during and after his challenge of Vitali Klitschko’s WBC championship title.
Rather than promoting an unlicensed show, Warren has received backing from the Federation Luxembourgeoise de Boxe and his eagerness to pitch his prizefighter against slick south Londoner Haye has been vindicated as over 20,000 tickets have already been sold. The media event brawl earlier in the year dominated the sports headlines for days and the clear animosity between them largely means the main attraction on July 14 promotes and sells itself, however, that has not prevented Frank Warren from proclaiming this duel as “the biggest fight between two British boxers this century”.
Warren was always one to condemn Chisora’s actions in Munich, when Dereck stepped to Haye having threatened him at the dais during his post-fight conference with Vitali Klitschko. Haye, wielding a glass beer bottle, landed a haymaker of a right hand onto Dereck’s chin and a skirmish broke out. With his dream fight with Vitali failing to bear imminent fruit, Haye booked himself a meaty match with pressure-fighting Chisora, claiming it to be a “no brainer”.
He said: “I always said I’d only come out of retirement to fight Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko and it was only up until recently that the idea of fighting Dereck came to my mind but, as far as I’m concerned, me and Dereck settled our differences in Germany. He said he was going to come down, give me two slaps and break my jaw… he got in my face and he ended up on the floor. As far as I was concerned, that was sorted out then.”
“Frank Warren put it to us that we could have a big showdown in England in a football stadium,” continued Haye, a world champion of two weight divisions having unified three major belts at cruiserweight, coupled with his capture of the WBA heavyweight title when he decisioned Nikolai Valuev in a tactical ‘David v Goliath’ tussle. “In my mind I was always anticipating fighting Vitali in the summer so I was ready to fight anyway but that fight might not happen in a while.
“Chisora has got nothing I haven’t seen before, he’s not southpaw, he’s not 7’2, he’s not coming off an amazing winning streak… it’s a no brainer.”
Interrupting Haye was Chisora… an exciting fighter desperately searching for a victory having lost three of his last four (two convincingly [Vitali and Tyson Fury], one by questionable decision [Robert Helenius]): “Come in a couple weeks time I’m gonna whoop your ass,” said Dereck in a mellow yet menacing tone that has come to typify his pre-fight demeanour.
“This is going to be an exhibition,” retorted Haye, a heavyweight famed for his athleticism, evasive maneuvering and powerful mitts. “I’m going to break this guy down, I’m glad he’s got a good chin and can take a whack as he’ll take a nice, slow concussive beating.”
Turning to the abundance of press figures in front of him, Chisora stated that: “[Everyone has] heard it all before.” He continued: “David gives all the big talk [but] he gets in the ring and he doesn’t deliver. You know what David, keep talking, the more you keep talking, the more you get me upset and the more upset I get the more I jump over this [steel fence] right now.”
With a devilishly playground smile beginning to show on his face, Haye, who enjoys ruffling the feathers of his opponents, continued to chide Chisora: “And you’ll get knocked out again, eh? We’ve played that game before and you lost! Can’t you remember?”
Chisora said: “Let me tell you something… I saw David in London a couple weeks ago and he picked up a knife.”
Haye clarified: “I was eating a steak!”
Haye may have claimed their altercation was settled three months ago, but this is one beef that is clearly still sizzling in the pan…