The time has finally arrived for all principals involved in fights taking place tomorrow night on opposite sides of the world to finally stop all of the threats, trash talking, complaining and insults, at least for as long as each bout lasts. The 10-round grudge match between British heavyweights David Haye and Dereck Chisora at West Ham United's Boleyn Ground at Upton Park in London (4:30 EST, Epix/EpixHD.com) should hopefully put an end to all of the media attention they have been getting. Newly reinstated WBA Super World light welterweight champion Amir Khan will face WBC beltholder Danny Garcia in an HBO televised unification fight at the Mandalay Bay starting at 11:00 p.m. EST.
The Haye vs. Chisora fight is a direct result of their post-fight press conference brawl in Munich after Chisora, 28, lost a unanimous decision to Vitali Klitschko in February. Its very existence stems from violence and threats, including Chisora's threat to shoot Haye soon after the brawl. Chisora also slapped Vitali at the weigh-in and spat water in the face of brother Wladimir on fight night.
Since that time, both Chisora and Haye have done a countless amount of trash talking. Chisora, who has a conviction for assaulting a former girlfriend and has bitten an opponent during a fight, said of Haye earlier this week:
"My opinion of him? As a fighter he stinks, as a man he’s a goat."
The 31-year old Haye, who failed to attend an international media conference call on Monday, openly shared his professional and personal opinion of Chisora, as well.
"Dereck is a perennial loser, both inside and outside the ring, whereas I have proven myself at a world-class level and have titles as evidence," Haye said in a statement posted on his website.
In an examination of Haye by MirrorSport's boxing blogger George Ogier, the brash fighter more often than not has failed to deliver on his pre-fight claims and has turned off fans. Haye further damaged his reputation after making excuses for his dreadful performance against Wladimir Klitschko in a unanimous decision loss last July.
Both heavyweights are so convinced of a knockout victory, they have agreed the victim will donate $31,000 to charity. Let's hope this is not just more talk and that the loser will actually deliver on this particular pre-fight claim.
Chisora's (15-3 9 KO's) behavior following the Vitali fight in February overshadowed a respectable outing against the WBC Ukrainian champion in his first attempt at a world title. Although he lost by a wide margin on the scorecards and entered the fight losing two of his last three contests, Chisora showed a solid chin and did some good work to the body while giving up 5" in reach and almost 6" in height.
Haye (25-2, 23 KO's), a former undisputed cruiserweight champion and WBA heavyweight titleholder, has had more success at the 200 pound limit. Although he once held a piece of the heavyweight title, he blew an opportunity to demonstrate that he was a legitimate heavyweight in his fight against Wladimir.
After weeks of pre-fight hype, Haye was overly cautious with Klitschko and stayed on the outside, occasionally coming in with single shots. Haye has not fought (inside the ring) since.
Given the amount of time Haye has been out of the ring, the genuine dislike each man has for one another and the circumstances leading up to the fight, it is safe to assume that technique and strategy will not be a factor in this fight. It should be an emotionally charged, action-packed brawl.
This is how the match has been set up from the beginning and is what fans are expecting. Anything short of that will be a disappointment.
Khan (26-2, 18 KO's) has been complaining and making accusations ever since he lost his WBA and IBF titles to Lamont Peterson last December by a controversial split decision in Washington, D.C., whining to anyone who would listen that he was the victim of hometown favoritism.
As highly unusual the circumstances actually were in that fight, including a costly deduction of two points levied against Khan for pushing and an unauthorized individual involved with the scoring at ringside, the fight was very close. Khan won rounds with his jab and boxing skills, while Peterson was more effective when he pinned Khan against the ropes and landed body shots. Several rounds could have gone either way.
Khan's complaints intensified after Peterson subsequently failed a pre-fight drug test administered by VADA for their rematch in May and admitted that he was treated with the banned testosterone pellets prior to the first fight in December.
The subsequent cries from Khan for the titles to be stripped from Peterson and returned to him have been answered, in part. The WBA recently released a statement that Peterson has been stripped of the title in accordance with their rules and Khan has been reinstated as champion.
This should keep Khan quiet on that front – for now.
Khan can capture the WBC belt with a victory over Garcia (23-0, 14 KO's) tomorrow night. Garcia's father and trainer, Angel, has been hurling insults at Khan with respect to his abilities, religion and race. This is the same man who, in a very touching moment, shed tears with his son during the post-fight interview after Danny won his first world title in a unanimous decision over Erik Morales in March.
Mr. Garcia may quickly come to learn that championship reigns are fleeting moments for the most part. Therefore, it's best that the time in the sun be used constructively instead of vocalizing personal and irrelevant opinions about an opponent that don't do anything to help win a fight at this level of competition.
Although undefeated, Garcia has not exactly faced the stiffest of opposition. The three best opponents he has faced thus far, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Morales, were past their prime and he went the distance with all of them. The 35-year old Morales failed to make weight for their March fight, losing the title on the scale without even attempting to shed the two extra pounds.
The 24-year old Garcia was outboxed in the early rounds by Morales (even though the judges failed to acknowledge that in the scores) but found his range as the fight progressed, landing clean shots through Morales' defense and keeping the Mexican legend off balance. However, Morales was also finding his holes, injuring Garcia's nose in the eleventh round.
Khan, 25, does his best work from a distance using the jab and throwing fast combinations from the outside, getting in and out quickly. Garcia should attempt to engage Khan in close, toe-to-toe exchanges and test Khan's questionable chin. The greater pressure Garcia can apply, especially to the body, the greater chance he has to wear Khan down.
"I let my fists do the talking in the ring because the only people that are going to be in the ring are me and Danny so we can sort out things out in the ring", Khan said in this week's press conference.
Khan, Angel Garcia, Chisora and Haye will no doubt do more talking outside of the ring after their respective fights are over. Let's embrace the moments we get tomorrow night when the fighters will only be talking with their fists.
That is, after all, the universal language in boxing.
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