Haye vs Chisora: The power struggle between 'Excitement' and 'Excellence'Written by Henry Conteh
The highly-publicized bout between David Haye and Dereck Chisora, a culmination of months of controversy and bitter feuding between the pair, will finally take place Saturday.
With an expected 30,000 fans on-hand at Upton Park Stadium in London's famous 'East End', most British sporting eyes will be focused on this exciting clash of bitter rivals. Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond in Las Vegas, a British WBA Light Welterweight Champion Amir Khan faces young American WBC titleholder Danny Garcia from Philadelphia in a light-welterweight unification bout.
Haye vs Chisora has captured the attention and imagination of fans, as two fighters in what many wish was still boxing's glamour division, look to settle a feud dating back to February.
In the aftermath of Chisora's reputation-enhancing decision loss to Vitali Klitschko in February this year, David Haye attended the Klitschko-Chisora post-fight press conference looking to talk his way into a fight with the older Klitschko. Ironically, Haye's insistence fight Vitali Klitschko came less than a year after he talked his way into a fight with Wladimir, only to lose a clear decision in Hamburg.
After a heated verbal exchange, a violent brawl broke out during the post fight presser between the two British fighters.
In what was described by those in attendance as a very frightening and ugly incident, David Haye and Dereck Chisora exchanged punches out of impulsive violence. During the chaotic interlude, Dereck Chisora claims to have been assaulted by David Haye with a bottle or glass as well. Luckily, no members of the media were harmed during the altercation.
David Haye was retired at the time and Dereck Chisora would later have his British Boxing License suspended due to his pre and post fight antics, including slapping Vitali at the weigh, spitting in Wladimir's face before the opening bell and, of course, his street fight with Haye.
However, thanks to the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (LBF), a press conference was called several months later to officially announce a bout between two fighters who were previously without boxing licenses - David Haye and Dereck And amid the legal battles between the British Boxing Board of Control (BBoC) and the LBF, boxing figures, officials and sports journalists alike were disgusted.
A brawl erupts at the Klitschko-Chisora post fight presser.
Some wondered how David Haye and Dereck Chisora could be rewarded with a fight after bringing disgrace to boxing in the sports world. Fans, however, felt differently and 17,000 tickets were sold in the first day they became available, according to promoter Frank Warren.
With neither fighter being a national or international champion, why has this fight captured so much hype?
The answer is quite simple. Chisora's actions, while distasteful, are reminiscent of Mike Tyson – probably the most famous boxer of the modern era. His competition on the whole may not have been as high as his reputation, but he was a phenom in and out of the ring. He sold fights with his press conference brawls and eccentric interviews in addition to the knockouts that made his bouts must see attractions.
David Haye, on the other hand, a former cruiserweight and heavyweight world champion, is well known for his talking and ability to sell a fight, which we saw prior to his fights with Wladimir and Audley Harrison.
Simply put, Chisora is unpredictable and Haye is loud and charismatic. Casual sports fans all over Britain are anticipating Saturday's epic clash between two top-level heavyweights with contrasting styles who absolutely despise each other.
Amir Khan and Danny Garcia... The Other Fight?
Khan vs Garcia is the notable fight in the States this weekend and for good reason. Khan is a popular international sports figure and WBA Jr Welterweight Champion while Danny Garcia recently won the WBC belt by defeating faded legend Erik Morales.
And while the prelude to this fight (Khan's controversial meeting with Lamont Peterson and Peterson's subsequent suspension for a failed drugs test) has been newsworthy, the lead up to the Garcia fight, apart from Angel Garcia's taunting, hasn't provided the fireworks and intrigue that the Haye- Chisora fight has.
So why is there more coverage in the States for Khan vs Garcia than the seeminglly more intriguing heavyweight clash?
Perhaps the unification implications and Khan's star status give the bout added legitimacy? Also, the contrasting styles of the jr welterweights seem to suggest Khan vs Garcia will be a good, high-level fight.
Secondly, the heavyweight bout is a non-title affair between two fighters who have already lost to the Klitschko brothers and American fans are likely taking this into account.
Amd finally, regardless of how intriguing Haye vs Chisora is, neither fighter is an American and, as a result, there's diminished interest in the U.S. as the bout is merely a sideshow to some there.
Everyone has preferences with regards to excitement and excellence and its the promoters' job to match fighters against opponents who will generate the most intrigue and excitement. Hence, they may turn their nose up at the prospect of matching the two best fighters in the division because, while they may be the most skilled and talented, they won't produce the best action fight.
Many observers would rather watch an action-packed affair involving a fighter like the late Arturo Gatti as opposed to tactical bout showcasing the defensive brilliance of Floyd Mayweather Jr.
While the focus of this weekend's coverage depends on which side of the Atlantic you live, both bouts can be viewed as their start times are roughly five hours apart.
Ultimately, fans' attention will be dictated by what they value more... - excitement or excellence?