The controversy surrounding the David Haye vs Dereck Chisora heavyweight fight, scheduled for July 14 in London, England, is getting so complicated that one almost needs a scorecard to keep track of who is mad at who and who is expunging who from whose organization.
So let’s recap how things stand at the moment in the battle of the boxing org acronyms.
On the side of Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren (and thus on the side of this fight taking place): the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (LBF), the WBO, the WBA.
On the other side, seeking to stop the fight: the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC), the European Boxing Union (EBU), and the very familiar WBC.
Over the last few days, threats and counter-threats have been flying hot and heavy. The EBU has voted to expel the Luxembourg Boxing Federation if it persists in licensing the Haye vs Chisora bout. Promoter Frank Warren has threatened to sue the BBBoC for what he says are various infractions of its own rules. And depending on who you listen to, the LBF is either fully committed to going ahead with the bout or wavering.
Out of all of this, perhaps the most amusing charge was made by the BBBoC when it said this in a prepared statement:
The Board understands that the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Boxe has granted Chisora and Haye boxing licences and has sanctioned the contest. For the reasons stated in the statement of the 9th May 2012 the Board condemns the actions of the Fédération Luxembourgeoise de Boxe and strongly disapproves of the contest, which the Board considers will bring the sport of professional boxing into disrepute.
The BBBoC here brings us back to the central issue here as to why they have supposedly have such a problem with two boxers fighting each other in a proper context. Because of the skirmish that occurred between Haye and Chisora at a press conference in Munich, the BBBoC now feels it must protect the good name of boxing by not allowing the two men to fight in a boxing ring.
First of all, it is legitimate to ask when professional boxing ever had a “good name” to protect?
As far back as I can remember, boxing has always been a suspect sport in the minds of civilized, middle-class society, a sport associated with organized crime figures, sleazy promoters, fixed fights, loaded gloves, and so on. Many members of the aforementioned civilized, middle-class society would very much like to see boxing banned forever.
It is also very interesting that the BBBoC is so appalled by the Munich scuffle between Haye and Chisora, yet had nothing to say, for example, about former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis of the UK when he had a dust-up with Hasim Rahman on television in the United States:
And let us not forget Lewis’s infamous brawl with Mike Tyson at presser for their fight:
In the latter fracas, WBC President Jose Sulaiman, an ally of the BBBoC who now opposes the Haye vs Chisora fight taking place, was actually knocked out. Yet there was no call to cancel the Lewis-Tyson fight or ban anyone from boxing resulting from either of Lewis’s outside-the-ring skirmishes. There was not even any hand-wringing about boxing’s good name being brought into “disrepute” from these incidents from any of the parties now so concerned about Haye vs Chisora.
And in an act of breathtaking hypocrisy, Lennox Lewis himself recently had the gall to support the BBBoC’s position on banning Haye vs Chisora. “[The Munich brawl] left a bad taste and I’m glad the British Boxing Board of Control stepped in and took the action they did,” said Lewis. “I make them a billion per cent right for doing that.”
Wow. Apparently Lennox has a very selective memory.
If that isn’t enough to make a case for the hypocrisy of the BBBoC and its associates, let’s not forget that the British Boxing Board had no problem allowing convicted rapist Mike Tyson to fight in the UK following his ear-chomping of Evander Holyfield–not once, but twice, against Julius Francis and Lou Savarese–with nary a concern expressed about bringing the “sport of professional boxing into disrepute.”
Really, this whole fracas isn’t about the morality of allowing Dereck Chisora to fight David Haye in England, but instead about a power struggle between Frank Warren and the BBBoC, which left itself wide open to be challenged by its foolish and gutless sentencing of Chisora to an indefinite suspension from boxing following the Munich press conference brawl.
The BBBoC’s lame attempts to put this battle of professional wills into the phony context of protecting the reputation and morality of the boxing game is one of the most hypocritical acts of sanctimonious rhetorical grandstanding–in a sport never lacking in that—seen for quite some time.