Grudge Match Of The Century

Forbes Africa
Published 10 years ago
Grudge Match Of  The Century

After their poor showing against the Klitschko brothers—both losing in 12 rounds—British heavyweights Dereck Chisora and David Haye had their day in the sun, when they squared off against each other at Upton Park in London.

Many forces tried to stop the fight going ahead, including the British Boxing Control Board. The reason was that despite both Chisora and Haye being unlicensed in Britain, both men had behaved badly in front of the international media following Chisora’s loss to World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko in Germany. Chisora and Haye were involved in an unsavory brawl at the post-fight conference, culminating in the former being briefly detained by the German authorities and gaining himself an outright ban from boxing in his adopted country of England.

Despite protracted efforts to stop the grudge fight from taking place, the momentum of what happened in Germany at the post-fight conference of the Klitschko-Chisora bout was too much for the fight not to happen. You see, there’s hype to promote fights and there’s just plain hype. With the Chisora-Haye brawl, it was no hype at all. Both boxers got involved in a genuine fight and it seemed Chisora was serious when he threatened to hunt Haye down and shoot him. Such was the animosity between the two pugilists that a German promotional outfit quickly jumped on the bandwagon and signed both boxers to fight each other, not in Germany but in England, where the tournament was guaranteed a 30,000 sell out. However, the promoters had to deal with all the opposition to the fight and after they weathered the storm, the interest was so huge that there was no turning back.

The result was a proper fight in the ring at Upton Park and Haye prevailed courtesy of a 5th round knockout over his tormentor. If anything, the outcome confirmed two things: that Haye is a much better boxer than the one who lost a lopsided bout against Wladimir Klitschko last year, after predicting that he would knock out the WBA/WBO/IBF heavyweight champion; that Chisora is much better off shooting with his mouth than with his fists and that the only reason he went the distance with Vitali Klitschko was because he applied safety-first tactics and never took any chances. Chisora was also exposed as nothing but an overblown cruiserweight.

As expected, Haye made hay while the sun shone on him, following his knockout victory over Chisora. He called for a clash with Vitali because he stopped the man who the Ukrainian went the full distance with. But the truth of the matter is that the only reason Haye managed to knock out Chisora was that the former Zimbabwean threw caution to the wind and engaged with Haye. Had he adopted the same strategy against Vitali, the outcome would have been similar and the knockout probably would have come even sooner. With the Klitschko brothers all but out of credible opponents, Haye will probably get another shot at the heavyweight title, while Chisora will be relegated to the ‘stepping-stone’ heap. He has now lost three times as a pro—Tyson Fury being another loss.

After all is said and done, Haye’s win over Chisora benefitted a leukemia charity to the tune of £20,000. Chisora honored the pre-match bet he made with Haye and made the £20,000 donation to the African-Caribbean Leukemia Trust (ACLT), of which Haye is a patron. The money will be used to support the charity in their work to spread awareness and increase the number of bone marrow, blood and organ donors from ethnic minorities.

Perhaps it would have been magnanimous of Haye to also donate £20,000 of his purse money to the same cause.