Terry Doo­ley re­flects on the com­plex­i­ties of Dereck Chisora as he en­ters into yet an­other po­ten­tially gru­elling show­down.

Boxing News - - Contents -

Fea­tures and anal­y­sis ahead of Whyte vs Chisora II and War­ring­ton vs Framp­ton

ONE of the fi­nal chap­ters of Thomas Hauser’s def­i­nite bi­og­ra­phy of Muham­mad Ali is called The Beat­ing. It chron­i­cles Ali’s ill-ad­vised come­back fight against Larry Holmes in 1980, which ended with “The Great­est” ship­ping a lot of un­needed pun­ish­ment en route to a 10th-round re­tire­ment re­v­erse.

Ali had one more fight, a 10-round de­ci­sion de­feat to Trevor Ber­bick, yet the past­ing he took from Holmes was par­tic­u­larly vis­ceral. In truth, most fight­ers ride out of box­ing af­ter tak­ing a whip­ping, or more than one in some in­stances, and too many for­mer heavy­weights leave the sport af­ter tak­ing a few fi­nal, harm­ful fights.

On Satur­day night, Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora, 29-8 (21), re­matches Dil­lian Whyte, 24-1 (17), in what is likely to be an­other tough night for the “Any­one, any­time, any­where” throw­back to a time when fight­ers just got on with fight­ing. We should call him “Mar­tini Rosso” Chisora. Their first fight was a mini-clas­sic, a ruckus in D mi­nor. It also had a clas­sic Chisora buildup: ver­bals, shov­ing, a hurled ta­ble, and some last minute fears that the Bri­tish Box­ing Board of Con­trol would nix the con­test due to the car­nage caused by Chisora in the fi­nal press con­fer­ence.

All that was miss­ing was the be­mus­ing sight of a poor press of­fi­cer hav­ing to look af­ter his fi­ancée’s pet Pomera­nian, Chewy — a task that Frank War­ren’s for­mer PR man Richard May­nard used to be given on a reg­u­lar ba­sis prior to Chewy’s death in Septem­ber 2016.

In what Tony Bellew re­ferred to as a re­turn to the days when the likes of Ali and Joe Fra­zier went to war, Chisora put it all on the line in what seemed like his last big state­ment. It was sim­i­lar to a can­dle pro­duc­ing one last flare of light be­fore go­ing out.

In­stead, and true to form, Chisora car­ried on. He beat Robert Filipovic (rsf 5) in his next one, lost to EBU holder Agit Kabayel (pts 12) then posted back-to-back wins against Zakaria Az­zouzi (rsf 2) and Car­los Takam (rsf 8) to earn a sec­ond bat­tle with Whyte.

It is no more than the 34-year-old de­serves. How­ever, is it what he needs? The man him­self tells us that he is a fighter re­born. That the rolling thun­der style he al­ways em­ployed to great ef­fect is back and he is bad­der than ever. He even claims to have calmed down, al­though there is still an edge there. Watch­ing Chisora in full flow al­ways makes me re­call a line from one of my favourite books: ‘There’s a hard streak in you. Some­thing in you that’s like bit­ing on tin­foil,’ (Stephen King, The Stand).

The prob­lem with Chisora is that even at his best he was open to tak­ing a shot or three to land his own and his ap­proach to train­ing is as fit­ful as his tem­per­a­ment. He was hit hard and of­ten by then-wbc holder Vi­tali Kl­itschko in 2012 (l pts 12). David Haye cracked his chin and wiped him out in five later that year.

Then he was pulled out for his own good af­ter 10 rounds in the 2014 re­turn against Tyson Fury and took some tor­rid stick against Takam. Bar­ring a truly in­cred­i­ble turn­around in form and fight­ing style he is also likely to give and take a lot of leather against Whyte, too.

Do not worry, this isn’t the open­ing gam­bit of a “I’m moral­is­ing here, I’M MORAL­IS­ING HERE” tan­gent about how, why, and when Chisora should re­tire. Fight­ers ac­crue dam­age through­out their ca­reers. They make a con­scious choice to do so and that de­ci­sion pro­vides lots of en­ter­tain­ment for me so I never de­mand that they re­tire, es­pe­cially if there is still money to be made.

That isn’t to say that I don’t think about it oc­ca­sion­ally. In fact, the is­sue of the harm ac­crued in


box­ing is like that old rid­dle. A group of chil­dren are killing lice on a tem­ple’s steps. When ap­proached and asked what will hap­pen to the rest of the lice, one of the chil­dren says: “We kill the ones we see, the ones we don’t see we take away with us”.

In box­ing terms, the lice that are seen is the dam­age that we bear wit­ness to: the knockouts, failed brain scans, head in­juries, mus­cle tears, and what­not. The un­seen par­a­sites in the rid­dle are the equiv­a­lent of the de­struc­tion we do not see, the many mini­con­cus­sions that ev­ery sin­gle fighter picks up due to blunt force trauma. The brain cells that are lost when their heads are be­ing rat­tled around.

These days, the is­sue of con­cus­sion, de­pres­sion, and all the stuff that used to sit un­der the sport’s fin­ger­nails has been scraped into a Petri dish and placed un­der the mi­cro­scope. We can­not hide from it so have to ac­knowl­edge and ac­cept it. We know that both Whyte and Chisora are go­ing to sus­tain dam­age on Satur­day night: small or big, seen or un­seen.

At some point in ev­ery ca­reer there comes an ‘Enough is enough’ mo­ment, usu­ally af­ter a beat­ing. Chisora has pow­ered through that mo­ment on more than one oc­ca­sion, which is a good thing — he is fun to watch, fun to lis­ten to, and adds a much-needed edge to the sport. On the few oc­ca­sions that I’ve met him he has al­ways lived up to his sta­tus.

One of our en­coun­ters was at Paul Smith’s un­suc­cess­ful Bri­tish su­per-mid­dleweight ti­tle de­fence against James De­gale. A pro­posed fight with Wladimir Kl­itscko had fallen through so chanc­ing my arm some­what, and know­ing it would be a bit of a coup if I could get it, I walked over to Chisora and asked for an in­ter­view. He looked up, said “I recog­nise your face,” and then added, “No”.

The seat­ing plan meant that we were sat di­rectly across the ring from each other. Chisora glared at me for a few very un­com­fort­able min­utes be­fore stand­ing up and mak­ing his way over to press row. The hulk­ing heavy­weight sat down next to me. He slapped me on the knee and said “You are one of those pa­tient peo­ple, aren’t you?” then agreed to do an in­ter­view.

At its con­clu­sion he re­mained in some­one else’s seat, af­ter all, who was go­ing to ask him to move? We watched Joe Selkirk against Steve O’meara for a few rounds, Chisora of­fer­ing his read­ing of the fight in his lilt­ing drawl.

As abruptly as it had be­gun our mini meet­ing of minds came to an end. Chisora got up, said “Right, I’ve had enough,” and walked away. He did not even say “Good­bye”.

If Satur­day’s fight is as tough as we ex­pect it to be, and if he loses, then maybe he will take stock of his ca­reer and de­cide to walk away. It would be a wise de­ci­sion: a sound, sen­si­ble, and a pre­dictable one — there­fore it is prob­a­bly the ex­act op­po­site of what will hap­pen. You never know what to ex­pect when Del Boy’s about, ex­cept of course the un­ex­pected — that is why we love him so. Chisora is a throw­back to the bonkers heavy­weights of yes­ter­year, but, and I think I will moralise for a sec­ond here, I hope he doesn’t end up like most of those guys did: sad-eyed can­non fod­der for the up-and-com­ers.

“Chisel”, to give him his fo­rum nick­name, de­serves much more.


HARD AS THEY COME: Chisora ships some punches from Whyte and pre­pares to land his own


BRUIS­ING: Haye mea­sures up his one-time en­emy


COURA­GEOUS: Chisora goes 12 against Kl­itschko


STEADY BEAT­ING: Fury hurls pun­ish­ment dur­ing their re­match


BOMBS AWAY: Filipovic braces him­self for a wild at­tack


IM­PRES­SIVE: Chisora takes away Ma­lik Scott’s un­beaten record


BINGO! Chisora scores a ca­reer-best win over Takam

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