Kit Bag

Roll up, roll up - come watch the clowns at boxing's latest unnecessary circus


This weekend's scrap between David Haye and Dereck Chisora has all the makings of a circus.  It's taking place in a field, has a ringmaster and - going by the build-up - features a pair of clowns.This weekend's scrap between David Haye and Dereck Chisora has all the makings of a circus.  It's taking place in a field, has a ringmaster and - going by the build-up - features a pair of clowns.

The heavyweight division's never been shy of shooting itself in the foot, and with the dominance of the Klitschko brothers has devolved into a succession of nearly-were's and might-have-beens slugging it out in the vain hope of landing a payday in Germany against one or other of the Ukrainian monsters.

Outwith that it's just a blur of mediocrity.  Forget calling it a freak show - even that managed to offer some level of grim entertainment for the Victorian gawkers crowded around the exhibits.

 Chisora and Haye's farce of a fight in East London continued its laughable build-up with a media event yesterday when Haye failed to turn up, claiming on Twitter that he'd slept through the conference call. Meanwhile Chisora branded his opponent a drama queen, and insisted the bout is about "knocking this fool out because I don't like him".Yes boys and girls, panto season has come early to London, with both Chisora and Haye vying to claim the lead villain's role.Amusingly, Chisora claimed during the media event that the fight between the two men was about pride.Rubbish.It's about money, pure and simple.  If either of these two had any pride to speak of, they'd not be indulging the worst excesses of the boxing fraternity with this nonsense in the first place.This is a fight, let us not forget, which is only taking place because the little-known boxing federation of Luxembourg had to step in to licence it, after the British Boxing Board of Control suspended Chisora for his antics around his loss to Vitali Klitschko earlier this year.Chisora slapped his opponent at the weight-in, spat water over his brother at the fight and then brawled with Haye in the aftermath.  The only pride on display here is that which can be measured by bank balances.Meanwhile Haye's boxing licence lapsed after his proclamation he would retire following his one-sided unification defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in last summer, and his behavior at the brawl in Munich rivaled Chisora's in undermining the sport.That the pair should ultimately not just benefit, but profit, from their bad behavior speaks volumes.  That 30,000-plus people will pitch up to the Boleyn Ground on Saturday night to feed this nonsense speaks even louder.That the winner is likely to get a title bout against one of the Klitschko brothers?  Frankly, boxing deserves better.

Once upon a time David Haye was an exciting figure, a part of the 00s boxing revival that saw the likes of Ricky Hatton, Danny Williams, Joe Calzaghe, and Enzo Maccarinelli becoming household names.  Somewhere around the Valuev win he stopped being about the boxing and started being about the hype.

About the only thing that can salvage this mess is if the fight is perfect.  An exciting, skillful, controversy-free example of boxing at its finest.  Haye and Chisora go into this fight with their reputations tainted.  Swerving controversy is about the only thing that will let either man emerge with credibility.  And given the build-up to this bout, you'd be hard-pressed to have faith in that as an outcome.

All this, of course, threatens to overshadow what could be a great British boxing event on Saturday night.  Amir Khan takes on unbeaten Danny Garcia in Las Vegas in a unification bout for the WBC light-welterweight title.

Victory for Khan would cement his credentials as a serious contender and would likely be the signal for him to step up to welterweight, with the tantalizing prospect of fights with Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather down the line.

Yet whatever the outcome, it's likely to remain a footnote this weekend, a sidebar to the tedious bad guy nonsense taking place at Upton Park.