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To be Frank

I’ve followed boxing all my life, and when it comes to its doings I reckon that I know shit from Shinola, as the very old saying went. A boxer acting crazy is nothing new; half a century ago, Cassius Clay, as he was, invaded Sonny Liston’s training camp and behaved so bizarrely that he planted the first seed of doubt in his fearsome opponent’s mind. More recently, we had Mike Tyson’s famous threat to eat Lennox Lewis’s children, (LL didn’t have any at the time, but it was a great line) and his use of  his teeth as weapons, but Iron Mike sold tickets and pay-per-views by the million so nobody every threatened to ban him. But the guy Dereck Chisora, in Germany last week? I’m not so sure about him.

I am sure that if he’d issued such specific threats in a British gathering he’d either have been arrested or sectioned, maybe even both. If that doesn’t happen, as it still could, it seems to me that the boxing authorities shouldn’t allow the guy anywhere near a gym, far less allow him to fight, before he’s had a psychiatric examination. That won’t happen though, since clearly the dear old British Boxing Board of Control doesn’t have any, not any more. It allowed Mr Chisora to take a world championship fight even though he’d lost two of his three previous contests. When I was a boy a guy called Brian London was forbidden from taking such a fight on those grounds, and suspended when he did. Also, the BBBC seems to have turned a blind eye to the fact that Chisora has a recent conviction for assaulting his girl-friend,  for which he is under a suspended prison sentence. There was a time when an assault conviction ended a professional boxing career, but this one, on a woman, didn’t even draw a reprimand. Nor did his previous, for police assault and possessing an offensive weapon. Normally, seasoned observers would say Saturday’s brawl was a stunt, gone too far, to pump up interest in a fight between Chisora and David Haye, but given the evidence of the former’s erratic and provocative behaviour during the week, and his criminal record, that may not have been the case.

As for Haye, what of him? First of all, why was he there? Answer, he had been working as a TV analyst during the official fight, (Yes, there was one, in which Mr Chisora, who’s a bully, not a boxer, and tends to come unstuck against bigger men, was severely thumped.) for a station called Boxnation. That is owned by one Frank Warren. He is Chisora’s manager and promoter, and who has been condemning everyone involved ever since, loud and long. Yet the fact, as yet unexamined, is that Haye was in Munich at Mr Warren’s invitation and on his dime. And this is fact too; if a proper, legitimate fight between Chisora and Haye ever does take place, Mr Warren will make more money out of it than either of the combatants.

Cynic, QJ? Too bloody right I am.

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