Who says crime doesn't pay? Had David Haye and Dereck Chisora gone at each other in the streets the way they did during the Vitali Klitschko-Chisora post-fight press conference, both would probably be sitting in a jail cell. But because it unfolded in a boxing setting, they scored a ring date that will result in extra millions pouring into their respective bank accounts.
So who will win Saturday's grudge match? Their respective CompuBox pasts provide these possible answers:
Haye's Slow Trigger: Ever since rising to heavyweight, the dynamic punching that marked Haye's cruiserweight reign has been largely absent -- at least in terms of volume. In his four heavyweight title fights Haye averaged just 25.4 "Hayemakers" per round -- 45% below the 45.8 heavyweight average.
He managed to dethrone then-WBA titlist Nikolay Valuev by decision in the Russian's adopted home base of Germany despite throwing a microscopic 14.2 punches per round. He stopped Audley Harrison in three but threw just 34.6 per round and sleepwalked through the heavily-hyped unification match with Wladimir Klitschko by firing just 24.2 per round. The reasons Haye went 2-1 instead of 0-3 can be traced to one set of numbers-- accurate and timely power punching by Haye and sub-par marksmanship by his opponents.
He connected on 51.3% of his power shots against Valuev while being struck by just 20.2%. Against Harrison he landed 36.1% while his countryman didn't attempt a single power punch. And in losing to Klitschko, Haye connected at 30.3% while "Dr. Steelhammer" clocked in at 21.8%. These days, judges take output and power punching into heavy consideration when scoring close rounds and while Haye lacks one, he excels in the other.
A Possible Blueprint: If Haye wants to use a template to beat Chisora while also exciting the masses, he need not look farther than his own fight with John Ruiz. There, Haye threw a robust (for him) 42.3 punches per round, landed 47.9% of his power shots and out-landed the ex-champ 142-82 (total), 64-47 (jabs) and 78-35 (power). Along with the activity, Haye also was accurate as he landed 39% overall, 31.8% jabs and 47.9% power.
Lighter is Righter: Like Chris Arreola, the number on the scale has a direct correlation on Chisora's performance level. In losing a 12-round decision to Tyson Fury, the lethargic 261-pound Chisora could only muster 26 punches per round while the fit 255 1/2-pound Fury unleashed 64.6 per round and amassed connect leads of 295-115 (total), 58-20 (jabs) and 237-95 (power). Fury landed 51.9% of his power shots and 38.1% overall, trumping Chisora's 36.9% and 40.8% respectively.
But when Chisora slimmed into the 240s, he performed better. In "losing" a horrifically-scored decision against Robert Helenius, a 243-pound Chisora uncorked 56 punches per round and pounded out connect advantages of 278-140 (t9tal), 64-63 (jabs) and 214-77 (power). He also rocked the Finn with 41.4% of his total punches, 31.4% of his jabs and 45.7% of his power shots while limiting his 6-9 opponent to 21.6% overall, 14.6% jabs and 35.8% power.
Against Vitali Klitschko, a 241 1/4-pound Chisora averaged only 29.9 punches per round only because he had difficulty getting inside "Dr. Ironfist's" long arms. But when he threw, he landed at a higher percentage than most of Big Brother's recent opponents as he landed 45.4% of his total punches, an impressive 46.5% of his jabs and 45.1% of his power shots. Moreover, Chisora limited Klitschko's jab to 22.1% accuracy but did get hit by 44.4% of his power shots, vaulting him to connect leads of 211-163 (total), 57-33 (jabs) and 154-130 (power).
If Chisora wants to maximize his potential as a fighter, he should work his way down into the 220s. But if that's not possible, the 230s would suffice.
Prediction: Haye, a 13-5 favorite, is coming off the longest hiatus of his career while Chisora has been active. Also, this fight summoned Haye out of retirement, which could either mean he's extra-motivated or he's trying to restart what he intended to be a dormant engine. No one will be able to tell which it is until the bell actually rings.
Despite the pre-fight venom, expect a slow-paced fight with Chisora taking the lead. If Haye has the desire to fight, his athleticism and superior conditioning will likely lead him past Chisora by decision.