by Charles Jay
Sure, Frank Warren may have appeared to be appalled by the disgraceful brawl that took place between a well-beaten Dereck Chisora and the hapless David Haye after Chisora had been schooled by Vitali Klitschko in February. Haye, if you recall, had been schooled himself by Wladimir Klitschko last July, showing very little in the way of fighting heart or determination.
But in quite a turnaround, he showed determination enough when it came to a cheap attempt to get some publicity, and there have been repercussions for those involved. Chisora has, in fact, been “suspended” indefinitely by the WBC, banned until further notice from any participation in a fight sanctioned by the organization, which one imagines would includes the InterContinental belt and whatever else it is that they have to offer. Haye doesn’t have a British boxing license, having not renewed it.
In case this one passed you by (i.e., in case you only pay attention to punches in anger that take place INSIDE the ring), Chisora had just wrapped up his fight with Klitschko, in which he lost by eight points on all three judges’ scorecards, when he engaged in a little trash-talking with Haye. after the insults, there was a right hand thrown by Haye – exceeding anything he was able to land in twelve rounds when it really counted – and which apparently including a serving of glass. Evidently this was Haye’s official declaration that he had come out of “retirement.”
Following more mayhem, Chisora threw some threats at the former WBA heavyweight champion, without glass. He actually got himself arrested, though he was released without further incident.
Chisora was a poor example as a title challenger to begin with; he had lost two of his previous three fights, to Tyson Fury and Robert Helenius, which both came after getting a suspended sentence for assaulting his girlfriend. He slapped one Klitschko in the face at a weigh-in and spit in the other’s face during pre-fight introductions. In no way, shape or form did he fit the description of a “professional.” Then he did the predictable thing on the night of the fight – he essentially served up an easy win for the WBC titleholder. Maybe the only surprise was that he was able to go the whole route.
As it stands, neither of these men is licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control. No matter. And no matter that Warren was so disgusted back in February that he indicated he would not be interested in promoting a fight between these two.
Yet the fight indeed HAS been made, and the brouhaha between the two has been exploited, as expected. At the press conference to discuss the July 14 fight, there was a fence erected to separate the two camps on the dais.
On the Warren website, you see this:
“They are now accorded an opportunity to settle their score and, hopefully, showcase all that is great and noble about our sport, in an old fashioned dust-up with the mitts on.”
That’s the kind of talk that fuels all the stereotypes of the boxing promoter, doesn’t it? And for those people who are casual about boxing, they might also be divided into two camps (perhaps not separated by a fence); those who are familiar with years of professional wrestling promotion and are absolutely amused by the antics, and those who are skeptical about boxing to begin with, and are disappointed that selling a fight sometimes can’t rise above that of wrestling.
It is true that as they’ve assured themselves of a payday, Haye and Chisora couldn’t have done better if they had scripted this thing themselves. Maybe that’s the danger here, as this may provide a blueprint for fighters well into the future as the effective way to “market” themselves and the game.
For now, they’re winning, as reportedly more than 20,000 tickets were sold for the fight within a couple of days.
I don’t want to sound like an “old fogey.” After all, this IS show business, as we referenced when addressing the possibility of 50 Cent entering the ring. There is a dollar to be made, and when that simple condition exists, there is going to be someone to make that buck. And they’ll do whatever it takes to facilitate that. Without a license from the BBBC, Warren is turning to the Luxembourg Boxing Federation, which actually has recognition of sorts from the British Board.
The only thing one has to wonder about with Warren is that, as the founder of Box Nation, his relatively new channel that airs over the Sky platform, he might want to have more of a concern about the overall value of the product he is selling. As such, the image of the sport, not to mention his relationship with the “authorities” he is going to ultimately have to work with anyway to grow that product, should be priorities for the long run. That’s the way a forward-thinking businessman might ponder things. But then, we are reminded again of the stereotype of the boxing promoter, which may have had a deleterious effect on the sport in the general public’s mind.
Which is to say, make the score now, and worry about tomorrow…..well, tomorrow.