“Unfortunately it appears that the current crop of UK heavyweights, who don’t hold a world title, believe that loose tongues, rather than fists, will secure them their ticket to the big time.”

There’s nothing new about British heavyweights talking their way into a big fight. Audley Harrison famously managed to convince many that he was worthy of a shot at David Haye by doing nothing more than spouting proverbial garbage, and who can forget the Hayemaker’s own shouting match with Derek Chisora that descended quickly into a circus performance punctuated by the violating of a camera tripod. However, the current situation in the heavyweight division is reaching new heights of farce. If it’s not David Price dredging up an ancient sparring session, it’s Dave Allen calling out all and sundry, and it’s only a matter of time before Chisora gets up to some more antics.

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But what’s the problem, people will ask? What’s wrong with a bit of self-promotion and the building of a fight?

The issue at hand here is that the boxers doing all the trash talking are forgetting that it’s the winning of bouts that should earn them big paydays and not amateurish attempts at marketing. The most recent case-in-point is the aforementioned Dave Allen. Prior to facing Dillian Whyte his most noted win was against the flamboyant, yet undeniably useless, Jason Gavern. Puzzlingly, that outing, some trash talk, and a draw against a fighter with a 1-1-1 record earned him a shot at Whyte who months earlier had given Anthony Joshua all he could handle. The fight turned out to be a pointless bore, brought about by the belief that ‘banter’ and domestic rivalry is enough on its own to produce a genuinely worthwhile fight.

However, perhaps Allen can be excused from taking a break from being a sparing partner to earn some proper money. David Price and David Haye on the other hand seriously need to consider if their recent comeback victories against opponents ranked as high as 162 in the world (Price’s latest victim Vaclav Pejsar) really puts them in a position where they can be calling out the likes of Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

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In the case of Price it must be noted that his only defeats have come against drug cheats, but anyone who watched either of those three knockouts will know that drugs likely had little to do with the Liverpudlian being halted, especially in the case of the two Thompson fights. His hiring of a managerial outfit, MGM, would be fine except that Price has obviously instructed them to immediately facilitate a big payday rather than allow them to guide his career correctly. Price’s unwillingness to firstly test himself against a genuine world ranked contender just proves that he would rather pocket a big pay-per-view paycheque for losing, rather than earn a shot that he would be confident of winning. Haye, on the other hand, just appears unwilling to fight unless his purse is the size of a small nation’s annual GDP but that won’t stop him calling out AJ on Sky Sports at every opportunity.

Promoters often talk about the importance of a fighter making himself saleable but that shouldn’t be confused with an athlete making it his priority. Unfortunately it appears that the current crop of UK heavyweights, who don’t hold a world title, believe that loose tongues, rather than fists, will secure them their ticket to the big time. Hopefully after the Audley Harrison debacle UK boxing has learnt its lesson and will force fighters to earn their stripes the hard way, or maybe history will repeat itself and we will all have to pay to witness another one-sided beat down.

By Nick Owen – @Nick Owen27

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