By Johnny Walker
It may at first seem surprising that the normally placid heavyweight champion Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, have been so outspoken in their opposition to the upcoming fight between Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora and David Haye, scheduled for July 14 in London, England.
Wladimir has labeled Haye versus Chisora as a “freak show” and Vitali, who had formerly said he was desperate to fight Haye and “send him to the floor,” is now dismissive of both that proposed match-up and of the Haye versus Chisora tilt, and may end his career against a far lesser opponent in one Manuel Charr (though this pairing, like Vitali’s retirement, while reported as fact by many boxing sites, is not yet set in stone).
Looking at the situation more closely, however, it becomes easier to see why the K-Brothers are so miffed at Haye and Chisora: both of the British contenders are making their names and padding their bank accounts by becoming the chief antagonists of the Ukrainian champion siblings, and both are now eclipsing the brothers in media coverage of the heavyweight division, despite presently possessing no championship belts between them.
CRAZY LIKE A FOX
Dereck Chisora is often described as “crazy,” but in reality, he is crazy like a fox.
No doubt Chisora took notice of the great wealth that his UK compatriot David Haye reaped while making himself Klitschko Enemy Number One over the past few years. Haye repeatedly enraged the strait-laced brothers by wearing t-shirts featuring their decapitated heads and by relentlessly mocking them with often vicious trash talk.
Haye finally cashed in with a now infamous, anticlimactic performance against Wladimir in which he was out-boxed, blaming the loss on his injured toe. Haye took a lot of heat from the boxing media and from fans for that excuse, but he only had to look at his bank balance to feel much, much better: ESPN recently proclaimed the Hayemaker the richest athlete in the UK for the year 2011, his earnings of $24 million largely coming from his fight with Klitschko.
Chisora lacks Haye’s eloquent, if sometimes offensive, gift of gab, but he had one card to play that isn’t in Haye’s deck: the “crazy” card.
While most boxing fans realize that David Haye is ultimately rational, a skilled and cynical media manipulator, they are equally convinced that Dereck Chisora is a bit nuts. After all, Chisora has kissed opponents (“That’s crazy, what’s wrong with you man?” exclaimed past Chisora foe Robert Helenius while rejecting Del Boy’s amorous advances), bitten opponents, been convicted of spanking his girlfriend, and so on.
So Chisora apparently decided he could supplant Haye and grab the lucrative position of Klitschko Enemy Number One for himself by amplifying his past behavior. He slapped Vitali at the weigh-in for their fight, spit water in Wlad’s face in the ring, and took the spotlight totally away from Vitali’s win over him by brawling with none other than David Haye at the post-fight presser.
THE KLITSCHKOS’ WORST NIGHTMARE
This has to be a nightmare situation for the Klitschkos.
In what should have been a triumphant moment for Vitali in Munich–another win, continuing his magnificent comeback run–all anyone was talking about was Dereck Chisora, the man he had just beaten, and David Haye, the brothers’ most hated enemy—or at least he was, until Chisora arrived on the scene.
Since the Munich affair, street-wise promoter Frank Warren has worked with Chisora and Haye to continue taking the heavyweight spotlight off of the Klitschkos and placing on the two UK fighters, whose “grudge” against one another has been the heavyweight boxing story of 2012.
One supposes that the Klitschkos and their manager Bernd Boente were further infuriated at the scene-stealing Brits when they decided to announce their controversial fight against each other with a press conference–in which the two fighters were separated by a steel fence–on the same day that Wlad held his presser announcing his upcoming title defense against the genial and uncontroversial American heavyweight Tony Thompson.
K-BROS OFF THEIR GAME
Soon, the Klitschko camp, usually so in control, was sputtering with rage at the injustice of these two upstart Brits stealing their spotlight, and rattled, began making some specious arguments themselves. Wlad dismissed the idea of fighting the winner of Haye vs Chisora, stating that both men had already lost to a Klitschko brother, so why bother?—which sounds good until you realize that Wlad has also previously knocked out his next opponent, the aforementioned Tony Thompson.
The Klitschko camp is now in such psychological disarray that Boente has even praised former reviled enemy Haye in comparison to the Klitschkos’ new most despised rival: Dereck Chisora.
This week, at another, more placid presser for their fight (tickets are reportedly selling fast), Haye and Chisora stopped arguing with one another long enough to agree on one thing: their utter disdain for the heavyweight champions.
“They don’t want this fight to take place because all it will do is take away publicity from their fights,” Haye said of the Klitschkos.
“No-one is talking about their fights, people are only talking about this fight and they don’t know how to deal with that.
“They don’t want anyone else in the heavyweight division making money and getting publicity and they will do whatever they can to shun this event, but people want to see this and people don’t want to see what they do – at this point in time anyway.”
Chisora backed Haye against the Klitschkos.
“For once I’m going to have to agree with David Haye, he is actually right,” Chisora said.
“The trouble with K2 Promotions is they always have to slate everybody off.
“They always think they are the biggest and best thing in boxing. They are just killing the sport because by the time you have fought them they have already disrupted you, from the contract, from the hands getting wrapped … so you know what, two fingers to them anyway.”
Or one extended middle finger at least–from Frank Warren, David Haye, and Dereck Chisora–directed toward the Klitschko brothers and Bernd Boente.
Hey, there’s very good money in it.