Haye and Chisora dragged boxing into the gutter in Munich, so why should they get the chance to cash in on their thuggery
00:13 GMT, 9 May 2012
The descent of superman has hit rock bottom. David Haye’s fall from world heavyweight champion to football hooligan was confirmed by the erection of a metal terrace railing between himself and fellow brawler Dereck Chisora on the Upton Park football pitch.
It kept the animals apart until a boxing ring is constructed at West Ham’s ground on July 14.
Haye and Chisora have sunk from competing for esteemed world titles to fighting for nothing. Nothing, that is, except money.
Warring factions: A steel fence keeps the David Haye camp (left) apart from Dereck Chisora and his team at a tense Upton Park on Tuesday
Haye, who proclaimed he would only come back out of retirement if he could seek redemption against one of the Klitschko brothers, hereby reveals his true motivation.
WHY LUXEMBOURGNeither David Haye nor Dereck Chisora holds a licence with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) but the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (FLB) have provided licences instead. The European Union’s free trade laws allow the bout to be held in Britain.The FLB was founded in 1922, seven years before the BBBC. There are nine people on their committee and the headquarters is in Niederkorn. They preside over just 46 boxers — hardly a European boxing powerhouse.
Clearly, he is receiving a far heftier cheque than he might have collected if he could have lured Vitali Klitschko into the ring. Never mind honour, glory and world titles, let’s have a freak show.
The British Boxing Board of Control, who revoked Chisora’s licence following his and Haye’s thuggery in Munich, want no part of this so-called grudge match.
So the pair of them will exchange blows as puppets of a Mickey Mouse state in Europe.
The first time many of the older among us became aware of the Grand Duchy under whose aegis this monstrosity will take place was when we tuned in to Radio Luxembourg, the first pirate station to hit our airwaves.
But Luxembourg has a boxing federation and under EU regulations they can sanction a fight here, even one of which the British board vehemently disapprove.
Promoter Frank Warren is legally entitled to exploit that situation and his priority is to secure the financial future of his new BoxNation television channel, which is certain to harvest hundreds of thousands of 10-a-month subscribers because of this fight. The credibility of boxing, already seriously damaged by the disgraceful scenes in Germany, is another matter.
Have no doubt that millions will tune in to watch Chisora and Haye settle their violent dispute with gloves on.
What must worry all who love the sport is the undermining of authority and the example that will set to youngsters, a new generation of fighters included.
Out of retirement: Haye will get back in the ring having quit the sport to fight Chisora
Boxing is under enough pressure, not least from the abolitionists, without the hard old game being exposed as unable to enforce discipline.
The ease with which Warren has been able to circumvent Chisora’s punishment — and the suspension time apparently awaiting Haye had he asked the British board to renew his lapsed licence — casts a shadow across the entire sport. It brings boxing close to anarchy.
The only consolation is that Warren has not resorted to an unlicensed show, like those in north London with which he had to fight his way into boxing before becoming Britain’s leading promoter.
Brawl: Derek Chisora had his boxing license withdrawn following the fight in the Munich press conference
However, he has exposed the difficulty of controlling his sport.
The WBC announced in the aftermath of Munich that they would not sanction Haye to fight the elder Klitschko for their world title — but whether they could have kept that promise under legal duress is questionable.
It has also proved impossible to co-ordinate unified action by the various national bodies around the world. Presumably, the Luxembourg federation are bank-rolling themselves in return for hoisting their flag of convenience over Upton Park.
In the short term the punters will be excited by the gratuitous violence which Haye and Chisora are threatening to inflict on each other on July 14.
The fight is on: Haye and Chisora will fight at Upton Park on July 14
On that dark night, the crowd will not be pondering comparisons between this tawdry spectacle in the East End and the filling of London with the Olympic spirit less than a fortnight later.
It will not be so easy that night to separate the West Ham United fans from their bitter rivals from Millwall, who Haye supports.
Deeply as Haye and Chisora despise each other, the most vicious fights may very well take place in the stands.
Projections of a 42,000 crowd raise the spectre of an occasion even uglier than this ill-conceived fight itself.
Munich madness: Chisora and Haye clash in Germany
Boxing will be left to pick up the pieces while the public reflect on whether this pair of bruisers should be richly rewarded for behaving like rats in a gutter.
Haye’s speed and superior skills should ease him to victory over Chisora’s power and guts.
But even if they put up a great fight there is unlikely to be much of a future for either of them thereafter.
Not without a licence to brawl in their own country.