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Chisora v Haye – a promoter’s dream once dust settles on disgrace?
PROFESSIONAL boxing has endured a palpable fall from grace over this past decade, especially in England.
A large part of that descent can be attributed to the hi-jacking of the sport by that stratospheric black hole otherwise known as Sky Sports.
When the satellite sports channel consumed the likes of Chris Eubank and then a fledgling Prince Naseem Hamed on golden gloves deals, then the writing on the bill was there peeling off many a gymnasium wall.
Rather than advance the cause of boxing, the most damaging upshot of its avaricious policy was to limit the access to the coverage of the pro sport. The riches from Sky have gone only to a few, and I bet some of the most hard done by financially were the actual boxers, those who trade the blows, suffer the highs and lows and, if they are lucky, end up with a spread-eagled nose.
In the actual ring, for all the worthy warrior exploits of such as Carl Froch and Nathan Cleverly, British boxing’s status has been further diminished these past few months by some of its least favoured or feted characters.
There’s been Audley “no shots fired” Harrison and David “big stubbed toe” Haye, whose last competitive outings undermined a heavyweight division that daily lurches from weak to weak.
Haye, who went into retirement after his ignominious defeat to fellow world champion Wladimir Klitschko, one of the two brothers who dominate the ossified heavyweight division, surfaced just last week to share in one of the most disgraceful incidents to further stain the name of boxing.
Haye, employed as part of a TV channel’s boxing coverage, clashed with fellow Brit Dereck Chisora in a brawl during the press conference after Chisora’s points defeat to the other fighting Klitschko, Vitali, who, at 40, is five years older than the conqueror of Haye.
Threats were issued, punches thrown and a bottle broken – Haye later insisting in some reports it was not a beer bottle but a lemonade bottle as if that was all hunky-dory then – in one of the most shameful showdowns in the history of hyped-up super-fights.
In the wake of the tasteless spat, Chisora was this week given an indefinite ban by the World Boxing Council.
That instantly raised the hackles of promoter Frank Warren. He said the ban was contrary to natural justice as the fighter, who had $100,000 of his purse from the fight with Klitschko withheld, had not been given a hearing.
Warren, who said he could not condone some of Chisora’s behaviour, added there had been “a lot of other things which had gone on” before and after the collision in Munich, which needed to be clarified.
But for all that sensible reasoning, Warren was also sat alongside Chisora before the boxer rose from his chair, microphone in hand, to go deep into the auditorium and confront Haye.
Surely it would have been wiser for Warren and Chisora’s handlers to have tried to stop the set-to rather than let it fester into a full-on fight mêlée that tarnished the name of boxing.
I suppose, though, that if, and more likely when, the suspension is lifted, then the smart money will be on a future clash within the ropes between Chisora and Haye.
Despite Haye’s insistence he will only come out of retirement, provided his licence is restored, to fight either one of the Klitschko kids (tee-hee), then there’s no doubt ticket sales for such an all-Brit clash will not have been harmed by a set-to that would have disgraced a Munich beer-hall.
MEMO to the next England manager: with Wayne Rooney missing for the first two group games in this summer’s European Championships; Darren Bent now injured and likely to miss the tournament; Andy Carroll still a shadow of his old Newcastle self; and Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe in exile; just keep a close watch on things at Old Trafford.
No I don’t mean Danny Welbeck, who, along with Daniel Sturridge and Fraizer Campbell, represent untried front-men. I am referring to a certain M J Owen.
If he regains his fitness then England’s next boss could do worse than include him as an impact striker.
And failing that, there’s always a certain R B Fowler now back training with Blackpool.