The Ugly Side of The Sweet Science
In a sport where taking blows to the head is a key element in the job description, it is of little surprise that many of the shed’s bluntest tools are found at the forefront of boxing. But with much of the interest in the sport currently being generated by the stupidity that occurs outside the ring, it is time the heavyweight division started focusing on quality boxing as opposed to the hype fuelled scraps that occur during the press events that surround these match-ups.
For as long as it has existed, the sport of boxing has relied heavily on the hysteria driven build-up to fights to create interest, sell tickets and, during more modern times, generate huge pay-per-view television audiences. The basic idea is that if it is assumed that the fighters do not like each other, then it will make for a more heated contest once they step in the ring.
Muhammad Ali was not only considered the sports best within the confides of the roped- off square, as his well-documented ability for throwing barbed jabs outside the ring was also a crucial component to his allure which propelled him to the pinnacle of the sporting world.
The current crop of heavyweights could learn a great deal from how Ali conducted himself, as he was as masterful at baiting opponents with a unique blend of rhymes and humour as he was at shuffling his quick feet around the ring once the bell sounded. Unfortunately for the boxing fans of today, the classic theatre seen in the lead up to fights during days past has descended into a charade driven by pure thuggery & beefs so transparent they would be better suited to WWF wrestling.
We saw this recently with the man mountain, Clarence Tillman, sucker punching Sonny Bill Williams during the weigh-in the lead up to their bout in Hamilton. It was just about the only shot landed by the massive American as he was knocked out by Williams during the first round the following day.
But after the events of this past weekend, there is little doubt that the undisputed king of heavyweight stupidity is English brawler Dereck Chisora. His bout in Germany against the WBC champ, Vitali Klitschko, had already attracted its fair share of controversy following the idiotic decision of Chisora to slap his opponent across the face during the weigh-in, which was one of the girliest acts seen in boxing for some time.
The thick-as-bricks Chirosa was not done there and he seemed determined to overshadow his rugged loss over 12 rounds with the events that followed it, and he achieved this by instigated a full blown brawl with retired heavyweight, David Haye, during the post-fight press conference.
There was flowing blood, accusations of glassing and as if he was channeling the pure insanity of Mike “I will eat your children” Tyson, Chisora threatened to both shoot and “physically burn” his fellow Brit, Haye.
We were all appreciative that Chisora so explictedly outlined that any burning would, in fact, be “physical”, as we would have been greatly underestimating his toughness had we assumed that his threat to apply extreme heat to the skin of his nemesis was purely metaphorical.
Klitschko, who had won the first fight of the night involving Chisora, was left looking on with a mixture of mild amusement and embarrassment as the two Britons rumbled amongst a sea of video cameras and flashing camera bulbs which were all attempting to document the melee. The altercation was sparked by Haye’s statements from the press gallery where he tried, with a beer in hand, to talk himself into a fight with Vitali. Haye was extremely mouthy despite having retired from the sport last year following the loss to the younger of the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir.
Haye was swiftly put in his place by Vitali’s manager, Bernd Boente, who said “you had an offer, you didn’t accept it, now you are out. You are out. Out, out, out…You cannot talk yourself back into the fight, you have no belts. Chisora showed heart, contrary to you. You showed your toe.” This put down was and was delivered by Boente with the kind of heavily accented English we are used to hearing from Die-hard villains and was in reference to Haye blaming his loss to Klitschko on a broken toe.
But the drama was just beginning. Chisora then put in his two cents calling Haye “an embarrassment” and then demanding that he “tell me to my face” when Haye repeatedly shouted the word “Loser.”
Chisora stormed up to Haye and the two came to blows with a number of heavies gravitating toward the commotion. The threats of violence lingered long after Haye was removed from the scene with Chisora cornering Haye’s manager, who was bleeding from the forehead, and threatening repeatedly to both shoot and burn his boxing rival. Chisora looked every bit the street brawler when he said “Either we do it in the ring, or outside the ring… His entourage ain’t got nothing on my entourage” and was actually stopped by the police at the airport over the threats when he attempted to leave Germany.
The whole incident was a debacle which has become common place in an ailing heavyweight division, which can only be saved if the Klitschko brothers decide to fight one another, a match up that seems unlikely following a promise they made to their mother that they would never fight. But the boxing world is praying they can break their promise and provide what would no doubt be an epic battle, as two brothers have not so clearly dominated an industry since Mario & Luigi took the gaming world by storm.
As for the two press conference scrappers, It will be interesting to see if Haye responds to Chisora’s challenge by coming out of retirement, or indeed if any further blood is spilt on the streets of London. Because as much as this was part of the hype that surrounds boxing, Chisora certainly came across as an aggressive imbecile who has the potential to follow up his threats with actions.