14th July 2012

Haye-Chisora

By John Hargate

David Haye vs. Dereck Chisora came about as a result
of the fighters’ antics outside the ring, as opposed to their performances
inside it. When it was first announced, I, like many hardcore fans, wrote it
off as a mismatch – a joke fight for the general public with which to make a
pound note for the fighters and for the promoter, rather than a serious
and intriguing spectacle for the boxing fan.

Yesterday, however, I had a bit of an epiphany. First, I rwatched
Michael Moorer vs. Smokin’ Bert Cooper. Moorer was obviously a southpaw, but
other than that there are quite a few similarities between that fight and this
one.

Moorer was a big puncher with a deadly back hand; he liked
to fight at medium to long range, initiating opportunities to counter rather
than waiting for them; he couldn’t really fight on the inside all that well;
and he always had a fragile look to him.
Cooper, for his part, didn’t have the best record but was
always capable of pulling off an upset. He wasn’t a huge hitter, rather relying
on volume punching and excellent head and upper body movement to swarm his
opponent, drive them to the ropes and unload with hooks.
It was a great fight and it made me realise that this one
does have the potential to explode. Haye is no Michael Moorer, but then Chisora
is no Bert Cooper!
To complete my swing from apathy to intrigue, I
spoke to both Don Charles and Adam Booth, Chisora’s and Haye’s trainers
respectively. They each added an extra element to the fight that helped to
pique my interest.
In terms of preparation for this fight, both trainers have
markedly different core philosophies. Booth believes in adapting his fighter’s
training to counter their opponent’s style. “If you’re fighting a guy who’s
6’7” or 7’2”, of course you’re going to train differently with a guy who
rolls under shots and tries to get low on you,” explained Booth.
“So you have to adjust what you do. David has the ability
to adjust and he’s going to surprise people. All of a sudden everyone thinks
he’s a back-foot fighter, because of the way he fought a 6’7” Wlad, and a 7’2”
Valuev. Our way to deal with big guys isn’t to chase them – it’s to make them
come to you. Big guys are used to guys chasing them. This fight is a whole
different kettle of fish.”
Don Charles takes a different approach. “What my beliefs
are is not down to ignorance –  we
recognise and acknowledge what David Haye possesses – but the trick to win in
any game, whether it’s a football match or tennis, is for you to make your
opponent dance to your tune. The opponent must play how you want to play – not
you play how they want to play. That is the trick.
“We focus on what we do. Let Haye try and adjust to what
we’re going to do to him. He’s going to find it very difficult to do so. I’ll
put it in simple terms: We’re going to have David Haye on remote control.”
The fight’s promoter Frank Warren has said that, in his
view, Helenius and Vitali Klitschko both hit as hard – if not harder – than
Haye. Booth ridiculed such comparisons. “Robert Helenius is not heavy handed
and Vitali is shot, he’s an old man,” said Booth. “That’s been proved, look at
the speed he’s got left.
“The way David punches is totally different to anything
Dereck has fought before. Dereck’s an improving fighter. We know that. We’re
not foolish enough [to think otherwise], and you’ll see that in David’s
conditioning – he’s prepared for someone that is going to try and stand up [to
him]. David has just got this desire to hurt him, and that’s just been giving
him that extra edge in every session.”
I mentioned to Don Charles that of all Haye’s opponents,
Jean-Marc Mormeck is the fighter Chisora most closely resembles style-wise. “No
disrespect to Mormeck, but he is actually a poor version of what Chisora does,”
countered Charles.
“[That sort of style] is actually going to cause David
Haye massive headaches. I know they’re not sitting pretty where they are. I
would rather be in our shoes than in their shoes, because Dereck’s style is
almost un-fightable. Talk to Vitali Klitschko, talk to Helenius. They had a
gameplan when they got in that ring, but Dereck is very deceitful in that when
you are looking at him from an outside point of view, and don’t really study
him, he looks like a big, flubby guy just coming forwards.”
He added: “Adam Booth and David Haye, they’ve always
ridiculed Dereck Chisora, they don’t rate him. But when Haye gets in that ring
and tries to land a clean shot on Dereck Chisora, that’s what is going to mess
him up. It’s common knowledge that Dereck can’t give David Haye room to operate
and do the 101 feints that he does. He feints, feints, feints before he throws
punches. We’re not into the feinting game, we’re into the letting arms go game.
We’ve worked on everything, and you will see a tighter Dereck Chisora on the
night.”
Many of those who love boxing are wary of a similar
debacle to the Audley Harrison fight, which harmed the sport’s image. Adam
Booth laughed off comparisons between that fight and this one when I asked him
if Haye vs Chisora might flop too.
“Not a chance in hell,” he said. “David was standing
there, and Audley kept staying away from him. Audley is not in the ring on
Saturday, so it can’t possibly be like that. Whether this fight goes five
seconds or the full distance, it’s going to be entertaining. I don’t think
you’ll find anyone that feels differently. The reason why there’s a cliché,
‘styles make fights’, is because styles do make fights! And Audley’s style
always makes for certain types of fights, but these two gel big-time.”
One hopes Booth is right, and fans get Moorer vs. Cooper
rather than Moorer vs. Couser. Away from gimmicks concocted to grab the
attention of those who think Mike Tyson was the greatest fighter ever, like the
ridiculous metal barrier propped up limply between the pair at photo
opportunities and press-conferences, the reality is that this fight could
actually catch fire. We might even get a modern day version of Brian London vs.
Dick Richardson, although after the pre-fight controversy it’s far more likely
that these two will just hug and make-up. Despite my optimism,
realistically Haye ought to stop Chisora around the fourth of this scheduled
ten-rounder.
 
On the undercard, Liam Walsh meets Italian veteran Domenico
Urbano over twelve for the vacant WBO European bauble. “Liam is doing well,
he’s had a bit of time out, but he’s back in there now,” said Frank Warren when
discussing Walsh’s bout. “Urbano is a durable fighter and I’ll bet he gives
Liam a really good fight. It gives Liam an opportunity to break into the WBO
rankings, which is the direction we’re going with him.”
Matthew Hall and Gary O’Sullivan cross paths in another
twelve rounder, with Hall knowing a loss will put an end to his career. “Hall’s
got to win it,” stated Warren. “Gary O’Sullivan has a good record, 14-0 (9),
and he comes to fight. You know how Matthew fights, he walks forward, he throws
shots, lets them go all the time. Gary O’Sullivan fancies it, so we’ll see a
decent fight there.”
An interesting eight round welterweight contest sees
unbeaten prospect Ronnie Heffron, 9-0 (5), matched with the ever dangerous
Connemara Kid, Peter McDonagh. The traveller’s last big upset win came two
years ago against Curtis Woodhouse, and one has to go back two years before
that for his victory over Lee Purdy.
On his night, however, McDonagh can be a nightmare
for anyone. “I have a lot of belief in Ronnie,” Warren intoned. “He’s a good
young fighter who’s going places, and Peter McDonagh will be a good, stiff test
for him. There’s no doubt about that.”
By John Hargate
 
Courtesy of Rick Reeno and www.boxingscene.com
• SEE Haye v Chisora live
on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) from 7pm. Join at
boxnation.com Haye and Chisora will be in the ring at 10pm.