By Terence Dooley
Former WBA heavyweight champion and linear world cruiserweight champion David Haye takes on Dereck Chisora, once the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titlist, at Upton Park on Saturday night to settle their differences once and for all. The meeting follows on from February's press conference brawl in Munich as the two Londoners bid to erase the memories of that chaotic night by vying for supremacy in a ten-round heavyweight attraction.
BoxNation are promoting and televising the bill, which has caused a lot of soul searching among U.K. fight figures due to the involvement of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, who gave licenses to Haye and Chisora despite strong protests from the BBBoC. Ironically, the Board of Control withdrew Chisora's licence due to the events in Munich, this decision left “Del Boy” free to seek a licence from another body and opened the door for the LBF's involvement.
Frank Warren, the manager of Chisora, outlined a strong defence of the LBF's involvement during a recent interview with BoxingScene, the veteran promoter also furnished us with his final prediction for the fight.
“Ticket sales are going extremely well,” said Warren during last week's phone conversation. “We're just under 30,000 tickets sold. It is actually going to be a really good fight. I think Dereck Chisora is going to knock David Haye out.”
Haye, 25-2 (23), has vowed to take Chisora, 15-3 (9), apart and expose the gulf in class between the two in the process. Certainly, Haye has mixed in better company: he defeated Nikolay Valuev by majority decision to take the title, made a successful defence against John Ruiz, a ninth-round stoppage win, took Audley Harrison apart in three-rounds, and then dropped a wide decision defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in their July 2011 WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO unification bout.
Chisora's fans, however, have pointed to Haye's struggles with the hustling, bustling styles of Carl Thompson, “The Cat” stopped Haye in five back in 2004, Giacobbe Fragomeni, who cut Haye and posed him problems before losing in nine in 2006, and Jean Marc Mormeck, the Frenchman had Haye down in the fourth of their WBC and WBA cruiserweight title fight before being stopped in seven in 2007. These struggles are tempered by the results of two of those fights, plus Haye displayed the form of his life against Mormeck – he hooked with his left to the head and body before lowering the right hand to rip the title away in front of the French champion's Parisian fans.
Haye, 31, has justified his confidence by pointing to Chisora's decision defeats to Tyson Fury, when the Finchley-based boxer lost his British and Commonwealth belts, Robert Helenius, a narrow defeat for the EBU belt, and Vitali Klitschko, who easily out-pointed the 28-year-old despite not looking at his best. Indeed, even those who think that Mormeck and Fragomeni bothered Haye by pressuring him would happily admit that the Bermondsey-born boxer came through rough patches before stopping them both.
Chisora, then, has to hope that Haye's recent inactivity will play a part, not to mention the chance that the former world titlist could lose his cool due to the mutual animosity between the and play into his opponent's hands. This is unlikely, despite everything, Haye is usually focussed and ready come the night and Chisora will have to be in the form of his life, plus have a storming start, if he is to fulfil his manager's pre-fight prediction.
Please send news and views to firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @Terryboxing.