By Hans Olson
Okay, I know it’s not a popular opinion…
Heck, most will take this as downright wrong.
I can’t help it though…
I absolutely loved everything about the mess over in Germany last weekend.
Dereck Chisora is the man.
David Haye is pretty awesome as well.
Now, let’s be clear here: I’m not saying either fighter will ever be as good as Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko. That isn’t an argument. I personally believe that Vitali is a top-5 heavyweight of all time; Wlad too will likely be able to make an argument as one when all is said and done.
This isn’t about the Klitschko’s though…
….except it is.
And that’s the point.
Let’s pretend for a moment that each Klitschko was around in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Let’s assume that Mike Tyson, Michael Spinks, Frank Bruno, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Michael Moore, and George Foreman were all battling it out as they were…only with Wlad and Vitali on the scene as well. Looking at those names in that particular era…only Riddick Bowe jumps out at me as someone who could defeat both Wlad and Vitali. Each of the others may or may not have had degrees of success against either brother…but other than Bowe…I honestly can’t pick any of the others over the two-headed K-Bro monster. What if the K-Bro’s were champs and all those I mentioned were merely background characters?
Would we still have such high regard for their abilities?
Which isn’t to say that those fighters weren’t amazing (as they obviously were)…but it’s acknowledging that the Klitschko’s might be a little damn better than most realize.
This brings me to my next point:
The heavyweight fighters of today might be a little damn better than most realize…
There’s a popular theory that everyone in the division today is a bum.
That nobody can compete…
That the heavyweight division is dead…
I’ll say with 100% sincerity that I believe the Dereck Chisora of today could compete with a prime Mike Tyson. I’ll say with conviction that David Haye at his best would give then-champion Michael Moore fits. Tactically, there are many reasons why…but most people don’t care to hear those things.
Most people are too blinded by nostalgia to actually appreciate the present.
I could explain to you how Haye’s thunderous right hand would find a home all night on Moore based on how the southpaw’s at-times-less-than-stellar footwork locked his body into susceptible positions; positions that the ultra-slick Haye would set up with his upper-body movement and tremendous ability to control proper distance. I could explain to you how Chisora’s granite chin paired with the best bob-and-weave since Joe Frazier might just “out-Tyson” Mike Tyson himself.
But nobody wants to hear that. They want to hear about “attitude.”
Because it seems to be the “attitude” of Tyson—rather than his boxing ability—that sent his popularity off the charts in that era.
Based on his actions in and out of the ring…can you honestly tell me that Dereck Chisora is not every bit as unhinged as Iron Mike? I’ll see your “I want to eat your children” and raise you a “I am physically going to shoot David Haye.”
Which brings me to last Saturday’s melee in Munich….
Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix (who was on the scene working for Epix) tweeted after the fracas: “Chisora is crazy. Not Mayorga crazy. Real crazy. When he threatened to shoot Haye, I believed him.”
As did I.
The incident has been analyzed to death at this point, so it’s useless to further said analysis.
The fact is, I loved it.
I loved the fact that David Haye’s sheer gall overtook the presser. Making his insane statements that Vitali doesn’t want to fight him (funny to say the least) and then trying to dismiss Chisora based on the fact that he’s lost a few fights (a legitimate loss to Tyson Fury, a robbery to Robert Helenius, and a spirited effort against Vitali) he isn’t of importance….
Unfortunately for David Haye…Dereck Chisora is now important.
I’m sure that Haye didn’t expect Chisora to leave the podium and approach him. I’m less sure that “Del Boy” anticipated Haye throwing one of his “Hayemaker” rights—bottle in hand—when they were in each other’s faces.
What we saw weren’t despicable actions between two prize fighters. What we saw were all too predictable actions between two prize fighters. Because in said aforementioned era, Chisora and Haye would have each had a legitimate shot at claiming an undisputed championship. In this era, with the Klitschko beasts hovering above their dreams…both Haye and Chisora realize they will never get the recognition that THEY truly deserve. In an era where the actual champions aren’t even respected…how can the contenders expect to be?
Maybe it was the months of embarrassment and anger Haye has felt since he lost his chance at dethroning Wladimir(enough with the toe jokes everyone!)…
Maybe it was the anger of Dereck Chisora at everything around him; that regardless of how great a fighter he is, his 15-3 record now hangs like a millstone around his neck.
The thing is, Haye and Chisora are simply competitive athletes doing what they can to achieve what in reality might not be possible. That they are now embroiled in public scorning for their “unprofessional” actions may further distance themselves from universal respect…but it coincidentally has made each more universally acknowledged.
Respect from the general public isn’t worth their time.
The dime of the general public…will be well worth their time in the ring together.
This fight needs to happen.
Wladimir and Vitali will go on and dominate…but it could be the two Londoners who ultimately put boxing back on the pulse of pop culture.
And despite what anyone thinks, says, or attempts to rationalize…
David Haye and Dereck Chisora are great for boxing.
They are the ambitious outsiders.
And in this era, it’s something we need.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson