Frank Warren, who will promote and televise the grudge match between Dereck Chisora and David Haye in July, insists that he is morally in the right.

So it took just three months, and the intervention of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation (nope, no idea), but the Dereck Chisora – David Haye showdown will go ahead. The fight is tentatively scheduled for July 14, at Upton Park.

Is anyone surprised? When we think about it objectively, knowing the nature of this often morally decrepit sport, was there really any other likely outcome? Not in my mind.

The man pulling the strings behind the super-fight is, obviously, boxing’s most controversial and well-known promoter of the last 10-20 years, Frank Warren. That’s right, the same Frank Warren who said following the Haye-Chisora brawl in February that he would never promote a fight between the two because it would be bad for boxing.

Warren, almost comically, has attempted to take some form of moral high ground over helping to organise this clash by claiming that he feels Chisora has been treated unfairly. The Zimbabwe-born fighter’s appeal against his ban was recently pushed back to July, and now Warren claims the man he represents will “lose money” because of his stupidity.

“What [Chisora] did was stupid and there should be some sort of punishment,” Warren was quoted as saying in this BBC story this morning. “But he will be out of action for six months and will lose money. Why should he not make a living?”

I’d question whether anyone needs to spell it out to Warren, who given the millions he has made in boxing must possess some form of intelligence, but clearly somebody does. Chisora should lose, and has lost earnings because he fundamentally tarnished the image of boxing, and British boxers, in his showdown with Vitali Klitschko in Munich. This disgrace doesn’t even solely derive from the shameless scrap with Haye in the press room: it extends to Chisora slapping Klitschko in the weigh-in and then spitting water on his brother Wladimir on the way into the ring. Not only did he brawl with Haye following the fight, he threatened to shoot the 34-year-old multiple times and warned Haye’s trainer, Adam Booth, that he would “physically burn” Haye. The man is a joke, an embarrassment, to this country and that is why his license was revoked.

Haye, already retired and as I’ve admitted before, one of my favourite boxers of all time, escaped no better off from the mess. His baiting of Chisora was petty; his inventive use of tripods and beer bottles was through-the-floor low. Already retired by the time of Munich, Haye was probably not spoiling for a fight of his own; now, he has one, and the pressure will be on him to live up to his talk.

While we’re at it, does this really surprise anyone either?

On the LBF’s involvement in sanctioning the fight, Warren insists that there is some legitimacy in the organisation’s involvement purely because of its age. “Before anyone starts screaming let me point out the Luxembourg Boxing Federation was formed in 1922, seven years before the British Board,” he told The Sun. “They have given their approval for the bout and it will go on at Upton Park under their jurisdiction. As fully fledged members of the European Boxing Union, that is what they are entitled to do.”

This entire story, from start to finish, leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of all honest sports fans. But, as BBC commentator Mike Costello points out, this is the ugly truth of boxing:

“Dereck Chisora’s appeal against the removal of his licence has been delayed and Frank Warren is furious at how the Board of Control have dealt with the whole matter. That Chisora and David Haye should ultimately benefit from the shame in Munich is difficult to stomach for many but it’s the nature of boxing that such controversy will build the fight into the biggest of the year in this country – and by some margin.”

That sad truth undermines the many positive and uplifting stories happening in the world of British boxing right now, and Chisora/Haye’s unabashed profiteering – not to mention that of Warren, who screams from the rooftops that he will take no commision from the bout, but who owns shares in the Box Nation subscription channel that will air the contest – will now likely overshadow any success Amir Khan achieves in his redemption fight against Lamont Peterson in May, not to mention the seven Brits who have qualified to box at the Olympics.

But never mind. At least poor Dereck won’t lose any more money. Eh, Frank?

Back to Boxing

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Update (14.21):

Apparently I’m not the only one with a view on this story.

Watching Twitter this afternoon, I saw this pop up from TAP’s best friend (sort of), philosopher and footballer Joey Barton (@Joey7Barton):

“Just heard on the radio that the showdown of the century! The heavyweight knobhead of the world fight is on at Upton Park….. I wouldn’t open the curtains if those two nuggets were scrapping in my back garden…”

Just for once, Joey, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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