Chisora-Klitschko: The slap, the wrap, the spit, the fury and who’s sorry?
By Joey Poulton: February in Germany and the weigh in between Dereck Chisora and Vitali Klitschko erupts when Chisora slaps his opponent with an open hand. Its clear security should be upped at this point and the skulduggery that is the norm in top level boxing on a big fight night is now clearly evident. This would be the first unsavoury incident in what would lead to a big time heavyweight boxing match and an infamous press conference brawl that could see either, the apparently flagging heavyweight division reignited or two of Britain’s biggest boxing stars banned from the sport..
The weeks build up in a cold Munich had been pretty low key in the weeks build up Britain’s Zimbabwean born heavyweight challenger Dereck Chisora seemingly in good spirits skiing with kids and playfully throwing snow balls at reporters “it’s just the way Dereck is” Steve Lilis playfully commented leaving fans to wonder whether he was really taking the daunting task of fighting the older of the towering Russians seriously or just having a free holiday. The bookies gave him little chance of the upset along with the critics who predicted an early stoppage but Dereck looked in great shape physically and seemed relaxed this early on, unfortunately this proved to be a false dawn and deep down “Del boy” was ready to explode.
A lot has been made of the Klitschkos since they shot to the top of boxing’s premier division they have been described as “robotic” and “boring” by other boxers and fans alike, more often than not they win there bouts easily Vitali it could be argued hadn’t lost a round in his last 3 fights. Although the opposition Ademek (a cruiserweight) Solis (accidental injury in 1st round) and Briggs (way past his best) were hand-picked opponents and again doubts about credibility to the WBC defences were always going to be raised. His next opponent, Chisora had previous history with Vitalis younger brother in 2011 when Wladimir pulled out of the fight between the two at the 11th hour using Chisora as leverage to boost the much hyped match with David Haye leaving him with no payment for his troubles and a potential row with Haye who at this stage was preparing to be a pundit for broadcaster Boxnation. Behind the scenes Haye and manager Adam Booth were trying to secure a match of their own against Vitali Klitschko should he as everyone thought beat Chisora.
So onto the weigh in Chisora 17 stone 3 pounds and Klitschko 17 stone 6 pounds came together after the scales with no valid security present and not even Chisoras promoter Frank Warren normally so adept at calming these flash point situations down leaving the stunned press and officials to witness what happened next. Klitschko clearly trying to rile up the volatile challenger put his head in the classic boxing face to face, as is the norm in most fights but quickly turned into a head to head which for even a second was going to cause big trouble. What happened next cannot be condoned but whether he did it to sell the fight, or growing nervousness or just to get his own back for the previous incident with Wladimir, Chisora (now sporting a very intimidating Union Jack bandanna more in common with a London looter than a boxer) in a blink of an eye slapped Klitschko with his right hand sparking the first melee in a weekend soon to be packed with incidents.
Saturday night in the packed stadium and controversy never far away Frank Warren is immediately called in to mediate the Klitschko shenanigans even before a punch is thrown. In future I would suggest that the commissioner be completely firm in the rulings on hand wrapping before a fight David Haye even comments to the cameras that on good authority from previous opponents he himself waited for the inevitable representative from the opponents camp (always the other non-fighting Klitschko brother) to turn up late and demand that the hand wraps be put on again even if the official WBC representative believes them to be done fairly. True to form this sends Chisora over the edge, moments before the biggest fight of his career and he’s left fuming at having seen his old adversary put a spanner in the works of his now disrupted preparations he shouts and screams and loses his cool leaving Wladimir to rub his hands with glee at upsetting him. Warren manages to calm the situation down just and a delay to fight time occurs on his insistence. Personally, I feel they could have pulled the plug on Christina Perris wailing at a piano completely out of character with the atmosphere building at ringside but that’s another story and Chisora is finally ready to take centre stage in what already seems like it’s going to be a long night.
Finally, the ring walks take place and a lot of thought has been put into both fighters entrances much more impressive than David Hayes embarrassing London themed circus of last year, Chisora’s (28) VT on the huge screens has a large clock ticking away on Vitali (40) which could well prove to be prophetic on the strength of the performances we were about to witness. Chisora, dressed in what can only be described as medieval Knight of the realm robe is first to the ring followed by Vitali with predictably brother Wladimir in tow. Next in what can only then be described as another black eye in the annuls of British boxing or a wet eye in this case, Chisora clearly walks up to Wladimir and spits a full mouthful of water in his face, it says a lot for the temper and standing of Wladimir that no blows were thrown even before the first bell and that the atmosphere didn’t explode completely at this point, maybe he thought he would ruin his older brothers chances of teaching the challenger a serious lesson as the match is just about to start and the charged atmosphere is at fever pitch.
Lots has been said of the fight but in actual fact the main points to the bout were it showed Chisora to have an excellent chin dealing well with the Klitschko assault in the early rounds, Klitschko maybe as the VT stated could have father time catching up with him particularly in the later rounds and although he looked slow he is still able to just dodge the big bombs but only by a whisker. End of round 12 and clear points win for Klitschko although maybe a more experienced Chisora would have economised his punches more in the early rounds and used his jab to greater effect to reverse the outcome. The judges’ score cards read 119-111,118-110,118-110 for a unanimous verdict although I had the fight closer it was still a clear win for Klitschko but surely maybe his time could be up and he definitely looked partial to a body shot.
As the fight came to a tiring but satisfactory close the animosity between the two (complete with ever growing entourages) continued another head to head followed although this confrontation didn’t lead to much and could just be described as macho posturing after a fight where Chisora lost but Klitschko had to work for every second of every round. What we didn’t know as spectators at this point was the ever growing resentment between the Klitschko manager Bernd Boente, Adam Booth and David Haye who was apparently licking his lips at a match with the ageing Vitali, but was it ever going to happen and was Haye going to take no for an answer? We would soon see.
“He showed heart you showed your toe” quipped Boente from the Table next to all the usual suspects Chisora being honest in defeat in what was a courageous performance, blaming experience on his loss, David Haye may have taken heed when he blamed a broken toe for a lacklustre “stumble in the jungle” performance to his loss to the younger brother Wladimir last June. Security were few and far between and with Colin Hart ludicrously claiming that security may not be able to speak English too well and could not have not have known what was going on, they might have not been any use anyway to what followed . Either way it was obvious Haye standing in the middle of the Media scrum shouting and screaming “you’re a loser you have lost your last 3 fights why won’t Vitali fight me” Chisora shouting back “you’re a salesman” Frank Warren smiling in the middle trying to organise the next match right there on the spot “how about you fight Chisora and the winner faces Vitali” there was always going to be trouble and when Chisora finally left his seat to find out whether David would “say that to my face” there was, big trouble.
One of the many unanswered questions is why did David Haye have a media pass in the first place? He was working as a pundit but apparently he should have been in a cab thirty minutes before the conference, was he there to promote himself and his future opponents? Wasn’t it a bit rich coming from a man who had already retired after his last bout to be there spoiling Chisora’s moment but maybe he thought he was living out his fantasy of being his trash talk idol Muhammed Ali. It could be that both men have been manipulated by the system this theory is backed up by Klitschko clearly laughing at the strings him his brother and manager have pulled to create this situation. What followed was shocking, disgraceful and entertaining in equal doses but the bottom line is, it will sell tickets and perhaps it’s fair now to keep the Russian puppet masters out of it.
The Press conference brawl is well documented you only have to look at the countless camera angles from different sources of the world’s press and camera phones dumped unceremoniously on the internet by anyone and everyone on the scene to witness the fracas. The real question is who’s sorry? Chisora for his part after being arrested by the German authorities issued in his statement that he made a mistake and has embarrassed the sport, Haye shamelessly had the cheek to blame Chisora for getting off his seat and and coming at him with an entourage. Klitschko said they were both to blame and many critics would agree.
What’s worse slapping or spitting at someone, coming at them with an entourage hitting someone with a bottle or camera tripod threatening to shoot someone or merely pulling the strings? The press and the usual inevitable questions and hypocritical contradictions of it’s a “gentleman’s sport” and how “they should be banned” were screamed from the roof tops at a high level. Even the old chestnut was rolled out again of “we teach kids from disadvantaged backgrounds and these bad role models are ruining the sport” were inevitable but still the questions remain. Surely the incidents and the consequences of what happened are a victim of a situation that got out of hand and one you may see in any pub or club across the land on a bad night out. Boxing is a sport that is still only just above the law and love it or hate does deal in specific pugilistic violence that will of course blow over once in a while Lewis, Tyson and Holmes to name but a few can testify to this and they are still considered legends.
The fall out remains, I now fully expect the potential bans to not be really enforced a Haye vs Chisora fight will surely go ahead after a kangaroo court hearing in March where Warren will surely prove to the board that the pound signs remain and that the dust has now settled. Hypocritical fans and journalists alike who were once calling for punishments and bans will all be front row in the Arena or glued to their TV sets to witness what now may be more interesting than the title defences of the so called “gentleman” Klitschkos. All parties involved are sorry about the slap the wrap and the spit and the fury at the present moment, but in reality for what the future holds maybe no one will be sorry at all.