Power Shots: News and Views on the Heavyweight Division
By Johnny Walker
There has been a tiresome predictability to those moaning the loudest about UK promoter Frank Warren’s ballsy move of matching heavyweights David Haye and Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora for a July 14 London grudge match this week.
Aside from the muttering sports media ninnies who only talk about boxing when they can find something to condemn about it, and the British Boxing Board of Control, whose authority is being undermined by Warren’s move (note that the highly moral BBBoC didn’t stop Mike Tyson from fighting in the UK post Holyfield ear chomp, and more recently had nothing to say about the morality of Floyd Mayweather Jr. fighting in Vegas when he is slated to be jailed), we have also been hearing a lot of carping from the Klitschko camp, specifically K2 manager Bernd Boente and world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.
One supposes that Boente and Wladimir were unhappy with the timing of Warren’s presser last Tuesday announcing Haye versus Chisora, as it conflicted with their own public announcement of Wlad’s rematch with American heavyweight Tony Thompson, and completely overshadowed it.
Two very good, evenly-matched heavyweights with a mega-grudge fighting each other, versus the world heavyweight champ fighting a guy he’s already knocked out, a guy who–while he is a genial, classy person–has done little since the first fight to merit another title shot.
Gee, I wonder why boxing fans are generally far more interested in Haye versus Chisora?
It’s hard to blame Wladimir for wanting a little revenge after Chisora spit water in his face in the ring before the Del Boy-Vitali fight in Munich. So his labeling of Haye versus Chisora as a “freak show” being fought under “freak rules,” while inaccurate, is understandable.
And Wlad’s word carries a lot of weight in Germany, where the ARD television network, spooked by the champ’s criticism of Haye-Chisora, has already pulled coverage of the British grudge match from its schedule.
Bernd Boente, however, is a different matter.
Boente has also been putting the rhetorical boots to the UK heavyweight tilt: “They [Haye and Chisora] both lost to the Klitschkos. They are on the second level. We could [not] care less,” said Boente this week.
But Boente, if one reviews the tape of the Chisora – Haye brawl in Germany, and some of his comments following the brawl, was instrumental in encouraging the two Brits to scrap in the first place.
David Haye appeared at the post-fight presser for Chisora and Vitali to make his case for being the WBC heavyweight champion’s next opponent, but it was Boente who steered the conversation toward a fight between Klitschko victims Haye and Chisora. Boente antagonized Haye with taunts about the toe injury that the former WBA heavyweight champion claimed hampered him against Wladimir, and then encouraged “Del Boy” and Chisora to fight each other.
“David you are out, you can’t talk youself into the fight, you have no belt,” said Boente.
“Fight against this person [points to Chisora], he showed heart, contrary to you. You showed your toe.”
After that verbal cue from Boente, Chisora started in on Haye, calling him an “embarrassment,” and things escalated from there into the now infamous confrontation where Haye clocked Chisora in the chin and knocked him down.
After the brawl, Boente went so far as to promise a title shot versus one of the Klitschkos to the winner of a “box–off” between Haye and Chisora.
“The brawl tonight calls for a box-off between Haye and Chisora, and the winner fights one of the Klitschkos,” Boente said at the time.
“[That fight] would make a lot of money in the UK.”
So all that has now happened is that Frank Warren has indeed followed up on Boente’s strong suggestion by making Haye versus Chisora happen in the UK.
For Boente, who had so much to do with starting this whole affair in the first place, who basically pushed Haye and Chisora together and told them to scrap while holding the carrot of a Klitschko title fight in front of their noses, to now turn around and act as if he’s disinterested in and even offended by these “second level” heavyweights fighting each other, is laughable.
Does anyone really believe that the winner of Haye versus Chisora—if the fight does actually happen– is not going to get another shot at a Klitschko brother?
Especially when even a far lesser known fighter like Tony Thompson is getting a rematch?
Especially given the enormous interest in the Brit grudge match, with 20,000 tickets sold in just two days?
The Klitschkos have been classy heavyweight champions, but the posturing of Wlad and his manager this week thus strikes a false, hypocritical note.