Stupefying For Chisora To Get Third Fury Fight
(This commentary item originally appeared on David Payne’s boxingwriter.co.uk site. Please continue to checkout his perspective, historical background and wit on all things boxing and in the U.K., there!)
At the time of writing British heavyweight chugger Derek Chisora is 8-weeks short of his 39th birthday. By the time he walks toward the empty ring on December 3rd to fight the Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury, he will be closer still. Among the dissent the match up has drawn, for the things it isn’t; competitive, necessary or requested, boxing fans, writers and observers are only paying peripheral attention to yet another example of a middle age man punching for pay.
Aesthetics can deceive.
Beyond the superficial of weigh-ins, face offs and PR soundbytes, in the haste to point to those who Fury should be fighting and just how unworthy Chisora is, the challenger’s age is but a sideline.
Lest we forget. Old is still old.
It is unfathomable that a veteran fighter with a record against top 20 heavyweights of 2-10, and the pair of wins generously includes Carlos Takam and Kubret Pulev, is extended another shot at the title. But then much is remarkable about the career of Derek Chisora. A man who has wrung every ounce of possibility from the heft and durability nature blessed him with. And boxing, with its diverse ecosystem of parasites, chancers, gamblers and barons, permits and indulges the unfathomable more than any other sporting pursuit.
It is both boxing’s great lament and its absurd attraction.
The current version of Chisora is a tired one. Shop-worn was once the phrase. Has-been another. In a 15-year career he fought and lost to good men. David Haye, Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte and Oleksander Usyk to conjure four. Defeats and damage have been accumulated as quickly as victories, he is just 6-5 in the past five years. Triumphs over peripheral veterans; Danny Williams (2010) and David Price (2019) two of the most conspicuous, earned him disproportionate reward for the merit the wins ought to have garnered but were progressive performances when they were secured.
His loss to Robert Helenius in 2011 was sufficiently controversial that the giant Fin was demoted in some rankings despite the verdict in his favour. A loss to Dillian Whyte also drew contention. This is the nuance of his record. But they don’t alter the narrative of his age, and his failures at the highest level.
The most recent win, versus a 40-year-old Pulev, who he had lost to previously, himself faded and knocked out in an unwarranted shot at Anthony Joshua the year before, has proven sufficient ‘form’ to land the biggest fish of all. It is an ugly outcome for a heavyweight title once illuminated by the greats of the past. It may yet be an uglier evening for Chisora, who has already lost twice, decisively, to Fury and now encounters a stronger, heavier, more aggressive iteration than the skitty, modestly prepared Fury of 2011 and 2014. And Chisora is fading fast.
Chisora is now 33-12. He is older than Joe Louis when trounced by a rampant Rocky Marciano and the last vestiges of Muhammad Ali were reluctantly dismantled by his student, Larry Holmes. Which isn’t to put Chisora, gallant as he has been at different points of his career, in a bracket with any of those illustrious foursome but it serves to remind the forgetful that 39 remains, as it always has been, old.
The story of how Chisora arrives at this opportunity is a wandering tale of success, failure and a flair for self-promotion many of his contemporaries would be well served to study. Though retiring earlier would be advisable. Temper and notoriety drew suspension and distaste from those keen to preserve boxing as the sport to which others aspire, as George Foreman famously said.
Watch Dan Rafael and T.J. Rives give some early analysis/betting advice on the BetUS TV weekly boxing show seen Fridays at 1 p.m. Eastern,
Remaining relevant, loved, criticised, reviled, Chisora has earned for himself significant wealth and a cozy place in British Boxing history. As with all pugilists, there is a price. Some paid, some repayments still to come. It is to be hoped, this is a swan song, whether deserved or not. His one time rival, Danny Williams offers a warning to those unable to walk away sooner, rather than later.
Fury Demeaning His Reign?
Fury? He arrives at Chisora as fights with Usyk, and then Joshua, vanished, as they too often do, into the ether. His story is better documented, more abundant with success and just as complicated.
The heavyweight champion really shouldn’t be fighting Derek Chisora, but then, he shouldn’t be fighting outdoors in December either, nor was he expected to give up his Nevada and Saudi residencies. There is a thread to be tugged. For now, observers will have to find their own reasons for tuning in because form, history and respective ability offers precious little to suggest thrills or competitiveness will ensue when they meet for the third time.
But there was that James J. Braddock fella.