Just a week remains until one of the most anticipated British heavyweight boxing showdowns in some time, as David Haye and Tyson Fury finally let their fists do the talking after what seems like an eternity of having their mouths do the punching, instead.
I understand why people want to see that fight. I want to see it too. But if someone asked me right here and right now which British heavy I find the most watchable, the answer would not be either of those two – and it wouldn’t sit well with many.
The heavyweight I’m referring to, funnily enough, fights next on Saturday – one week before the Manchester meeting of the motormouths.
That’s right: if I had to choose between three fights to attend on any given Saturday with Tyson Fury in one, David Haye in another and Dereck Chisora in the other, I’d buy a ticket for ‘Del Boy’ all day long.
Chisora has been beaten not only by Haye but by Fury too. That doesn’t change my mind.
Watching winners is great – as the record figures for Floyd Mayweather’s 45th win without defeat last week show – but for guaranteed action, give me an old-fashioned slugger any day of the week.
In fact, as I think back over Haye and Fury’s last few fights, I can honestly say that none of them have particularly inspired me over recent years, with the exception of one bout apiece.
And guess who the opponent was for both?
Chisora is far from a fantastic boxer. He isn’t in superb physical condition. And, to be completely honest, he doesn’t care much for boxing, either.
When his promoter Frank Warren initially announced the ill-fated ‘Rule Britannia’ card back in January, an offering initially set for March when Chisora was hopeful of returning to the ring with a reinstated boxing licence, Warren struggled to recall a particular detail with regards to a piece of Chisora’s professional history.
“Who was it you were fighting that time again?” Warren gently asked his bruiser.
“I’unno,” Chisora grunted with a shrug, without even moving his eyes.
That most fans respect boxers who are students of the game and who break their backs to reach maximum shape doesn’t help Dereck’s public perception as it is. His antics on the weekend of his one and only world title fight against Vitali Klitschko last February and his run-ins with the law only add to them in ensuring he is almost universally disliked.
But I don’t ‘like’ boxing because of boxers I ‘like’. I get my kicks from compelling action and big finishes. Chisora provides both.
In fact, those incidents in and out of the ring, while definitely deplorable, have no doubt made him a bigger name in Britain than he would be if he were completely clean-cut.
Inside the ring, his tactical approach barely deserves its association to the word ‘tactical’. He hunts and stalks his opponent, only throwing the occasional softener, always looking for that one big shot. If he’s down on the scorecards, who cares!? He certainly doesn’t.
His last fight against American Malik Scott in July was a great example. Scott had the range and he was taking almost all of the six rounds the fight went to. Chisora wasn’t going to let the bout sleepwalk through 45 minutes, though. He was biding his time, and it paid off.
Scott disputed the nature of the stoppage, but had he spent those nine seconds convincing the referee that he wasn’t hurt by Dereck’s overhand bomb, rather than his corner, perhaps he would have been allowed to continue – but Chisora likely would have connected again, at some stage.
Even when he fought Haye last summer, he was perpetually looking for the big finish. The Hayemaker does not possess a very good poker face, and in rounds three and four his cartoonish grin turned into an uncomfortable grimace more than once.
Of course, he couldn’t find that finish, and was soon finished himself by Haye. That’s another obstacle in Chisora’s way: he just isn’t world championship material.
He lost to Vitali quite comfortably, and as mentioned above has been beaten by two fighters who mess around with stiffs like Nikolai Valuev and Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson.
When he battles Edmund Gerber for the European heavyweight title at the Olympic Park’s Copper Box on Saturday, Chisora is fighting at his level.
To that I say: good. Save me a seat.
Yes, he’ll harbour ambitions for fighting for a world title again one day, but even though I don’t see the result being any different if he ever does, at least that fight – like every other fight he is in – will provide value for money.
So, love him or hate him – and yes, the majority hate Dereck Chisora – just sit back, relax and enjoy his fight against Gerber.
And the first ever boxing card to be staged at the Copper Box – which has been likened to the famous York Hall venue, only with a bigger capacity – should be enjoyable all round, with the main event of Billy Joe Saunders v John Ryder pitting against each other two unbeaten domestic middleweights in a Frank Warren v Eddie Hearn contest which should see the winner move on to the same level as the likes of Martin Murray and Britain’s middleweight world champion Darren Barker.
On the undercard, be sure to keep an eye out for Liam Walsh v Joe Murray as well as Frankie Gavin and Frank Buglioni's latest exploits.
Liam Happe | Follow on Twitter