- Fight Insight: David Haye v Dereck Chisora
Haye a cut above crude ChisoraJosh Williams July 13, 2012
They soured the sweet science with a brawl in Munich, travelled to Luxembourg in search of legitimacy, and have played a starring role in British boxing's emerging civil war. Now, finally, David Haye and Dereck Chisora have the chance to settle their explosive feud in the ring.
This is a rivalry that caught fire easily: they had barely been discussed in the same breath until Chisora, at a February press conference following his defeat to Vitali Klitschko, marched towards Haye and set the wheels in motion for an unedifying melee.
Those were the roots of the rancour; four months later, here they are, both condemned by the British authority and ready to unleash on each other in front of 30,000 bloodthirsty spectators at Upton Park.
You can see why Chisora would want the fight: he has the chance of riches far beyond the reaches of his previous contests. Haye's motivations are perhaps more complex: money, sure - and he'll see it as easy money - but also the opportunity to tackle a Klitschko - or, more specifically, the chance to repair a reputation bruised by his uncompetitive showing against Vitali's brother, Wladimir, last year.
Haye has painted himself as a brash, boastful fighter - and his resounding points loss to Wladimir discredited both what he said prior to that bout, and much of the incendiary language he has spouted throughout his career. He knows that and doesn't like it, which is why he will want to force Vitali's hand by crushing Chisora, who produced a laudable performance against the Ukrainian and gave him more than a few problems, particularly late on.
Vitali, who has political ambitions, is to make a decision on his boxing future later this year - however, it's unlikely he'll want to bow out after a meeting with little-known September opponent Manuel Charr: he could beat him within ten seconds and it would still not feel like a fitting swansong.
Vitali can condemn Haye v Chisora all he wants, but his shadow hangs heavy over the fight: he is the past, present and future.
Chisora was at his best against Vitali, proactively steaming forward and trying to force the action - and those same instincts saw him clash with Haye in the early hours of the following morning. Chisora is an enigmatic personality - although the tabloid caricature of him as highly volatile is cartoonish - but transparent when it comes to ring tactics.
Three of Haye's last four fights - against Nikolai Valuev, Audley Harrison and Wladimir - may have created the impression that he prefers a sedate pace, taking it easy before bursting into life with rapid fire - a style which could easily be unsettled by the incessant attention Chisora demands.
That's true to an extent, and Haye is unquestionably a reactionary boxer, but it's important to remember just how much taller the aforementioned trio were. The other guy he fought in that sequence, John Ruiz, is similar to Chisora in method and stature - and he was put down twice in the first round, only lasting until the ninth because the knowledge he was heading for retirement gave him that last-chance-saloon steel.
Haye will let Chisora onto him, using his reflexes to make him miss and then firing off sharp, straight two-or-three-punch combinations. Haye tried to do this against Wladimir and succeeded to an extent, evading plenty of punches - but Wladimir's reach advantage and mastery of distance meant that when Haye tried to counter, he had too far to travel and his lunging blows lacked power by the time they reached the target. Chisora is much smaller, and will be more hittable.
Chisora is durable and in possession of one of the better chins at heavyweight, but Haye has serious power, and the accumulation of punches will eventually take its toll. Plus the more general problem with Chisora's approach is that he can operate at a plodding pace, which makes him easy to find - and he doesn't have the dynamite in his fists to compensate by achieving a knockout.
In my view Chisora will be soundly beaten, with his conditioning on fight night determining whether he is stopped on his feet late in the contest, or the recipient of bad news from the judges.
Haye will leave the ring feeling confident of meeting Vitali - and if that fails to materialise, he can at least point to a victorious end to his career; Chisora, having alienated influential figures and organisations, will be staring at four defeats in his last five, and heading towards an uncertain future.