British Fans Anti-Hero Derek Chisora Returns
(This commentary item originally appeared on David’s site www.boxingwriter.co.uk, and make sure to follow him on social media @theboxingwriter as well)
One of the staple attractions of British boxing’s wandering circus will dance for the public again this weekend. His name is Derek Chisora and though gallant, he is now a depleted fighter. Weary from a decade of tugging at the tether boxing, with her beguiling promise of riches and adulation, ties to its most daring sons. The incessant blows, the sparring, the wins, the losses, the wear and tear of life as a professional athlete has worn away Chisora’s vibrancy, as those punishments always do.
Eventually, there will be a reckoning. Repayment on the debt will be necessary. Passage to retirement never tempts ageing fighters as much as the whisper to carry on. There is always another pay day, another town, another spotlight. A fighter’s diminishing returns, the missed cues, the forgotten lines, are inconvenient truths all vested parties routinely ignore.
Chisora will come to punch and take them
Although the soon to be 39-year-old boxing out of choice not economic necessity is a reassurance, his continuance remains troubling and poses a elevated risk for him and the sport he has excelled in. He gambles the quantity and quality of his tomorrows for the bounty of today, the roar of the crowd and the glory of a title that has been beyond his reach when younger and fresher.
Nevertheless, a man handsomely rewarded for years of durability should not still be chasing giants at his advanced age and with twelve painful defeats to his name. And in a more organised meritocracy, champions as capable as Tyson Fury should not be sending him contracts. Particularly in an era in which two fights a year is a busy calendar. But boxing isn’t that utopia.
Watch Dan Rafael and T.J. Rives preview Fury-Chsisora by clicking below,
And so, at some late hour on Saturday, with the warm breath of tens of thousands spiralling into the cold London night, he will do just that.
Tyson Fury, the biggest and perhaps most talented of the giants Chisora could tangled with, awaits.
This fight will be their third meeting. A fact promoters have wisely chosen to omit from most of the materials published. Chisora has two comprehensive defeats to show for the previous encounters in 2011 and 2014, from the latter of which he was withdrawn by trainer Don Charles, eyes swollen shut and barely a round won. It is a comfort that Charles will be there on Saturday too.
Supposed reinventions, propaganda puff pieces, the latest about the renewal offered by Pilates, are familiar tropes. The perennial return to Charles, the trainer with whom most of the many miles on Chisora’s clock have been travelled and a man who cares about Chisora should not distract the observant to the veteran’s decline and the absurdity of the match.
Fans want Fury and Chisora made sense for opponent
Reports of 60,000 tickets sold suggests the circus tent will boast a healthy audience come fight night and that many care not as to the reasons for the match. It is a promotion motivated by convenience. In the vacuum left by Usyk’s rest period and the inevitable collapse of discussions with Anthony Joshua’s advisors. Negotiations with Chisora were simpler for Fury, the challenger grateful for the opportunity and the risk to the champion minimal.
The initial backlash the match caused, given the preference for Fury and Joshua to meet, despite the latter’s back-to-back defeats to Usyk, subsided. As storms in the tea cup that is left of boxing’s media often do. The wider public don’t care for legacy, the shoulds and coulds. Those who buy tickets to stadiums, despite the wintery temperatures, the threat of rain and an undercard of modest attraction just want familiarity and entertainment. And Chisora provides that.
It is hard to fathom a route to victory for Chisora. He will be outweighed, outgunned and forfeit advantages of height, reach and skill when the two begin to tangle. And he’s old. Should Chisora perform the miracle, the scale of the upset will exceed that of James J. Braddock’s victory over Max Baer, who had a dozen losses too when he won the title, will nestle alongside Corrie Sanders destroying Wladimir Klitschko and be within reach of Buster Douglas’ demolition of Mike Tyson in 1990.
For Fury, fights like this are palatable, for the sour faced hard core fan firing up their Firestick this Saturday, providing it is merely a fun interval before fights with Usyk and Joshua in 2023.