An absence of class precipitated the heavyweight tilt staged between David Haye and Dereck Chisora in Upton Park, London, yesterday; a stark difference in class settled it. Haye, with perhaps his most impressive display of speed and power as a heavyweight, dispatched of Chisora via fifth-round TKO.
Their infamous press conference row in February convinced the 30,000 or so in attendance that there was genuine animosity between these two belligerents, and that sanguinary expectations would be satisfied between the ropes. Indeed, even the suspension of Chisora by the British Boxing Board of Control couldn’t prevent this so-called “grudge match” from finding an audience. What this audience witnessed was a convincing display of Haye’s superiority.
With the opening bell, Haye, who in his last fight spent much of his time trying to win by disqualification, let fly with an arsenal perhaps not seen since his concussive reign at cruiserweight. The reticence that shamed his performance against Wladimir Klitschko last July was thankfully discarded (this aggression perhaps indicative not so much of Haye’s contempt for Chisora, but his disregard for “Del Boy’s” fistic repertoire.) Though Chisora outweighed Haye by 37 pounds, the smaller man set his feet long enough to deliver purposeful jabs, straight right hands and left hooks, mixing in body shots to expand the striking surface. That Haye managed to uncork 64 punches in the first round was an auspicious start for a fighter who’s developed the unbecoming habit of letting his mouth do all the talking.
The second round saw Chisora land a few malevolent rabbit punches. He paid a price for his crude attack, which is usually what happens when a fighter tries to close the distance without punching his way into range. Elusive without being evasive, Haye got off with his offense, moved and reset, then caught Chisora as the bigger man trudged forward. Speed of hand and foot were telling the story, as Haye scored while avoiding both the physicality and the cricket bowler right hands of Chisora.
This pattern continued into the third, with Haye adding a lead right-uppercut that caught Chisora when he charged in. Haye was becoming easier to find, easier to maneuver to the ropes, but while Chisora landed a few looping shots, they were mostly ineffective. Chisora’s best punch of the fight was a left hook at the bell that produced both a smile and shuffle-step from Haye.
The power of Haye came to bear for the first time early in the fourth round, as he landed a right hand that had Chisora backing into the corner, betraying his pain by feigning imperviousness. Haye continued his commitment to abuse throughout the round, landing clean, hurtful blows, while Chisora’s wack-a-mole aggression failed to win him a prize.
The end came late in the fifth. As Chisora pawed with a right hand, Haye bounced a counter left-right combination off his head, dropping him hard. Up on drunken legs at the count of eight, Chisora tried a mixture of holding and defensive punching to survive the round, but Haye found space to land a brutal four-punch combination to the head, punctuated by a left hook evil enough to stall Chisora’s fall to the canvas. To his credit, Chisora managed to beat the count, but referee Luis Pabon wisely waved off the contest. Haye had ramped up his offense, and Chisora had provided little evidence that a change in fortune was wrapped in his gloves. The time of the official stoppage was 2:57 of the fifth round. That Haye was awarded two peanut titles—despite this being his first fight out of retirement, and both him and Chisora coming off losses—is worth mentioning if only for comedic purposes.
In the aftermath of his victory, Haye, 26-2 (24), expressed an interest in fighting Vitali Klitschko, perhaps earning that opportunity the same way he did this one: on the weight of a weak division and some well-fabricated bad blood. What the future holds for Chisora 15-4 (9) is surely less glamorous, though he stands to figure in the division for some time. The shenanigans that produced this fight aside, all in attendance seemed to enjoy themselves, and the violent but one-sided affair helped inject life into the division much like a wooden post enlivens a scarecrow.