Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boxing Needs More Like Dereck Chisora

Heavyweight Dereck Chisora is a colorful character and over the past week or so he has made headlines with some outrageous antics.

Back in the day (which for me was the decade of the 1980s) boxing had a whole cast of colorful characters like Dereck Chisora that helped the boxing world go 'round.

Rastafarian Livingstone Bramble owned snakes, pit bull dogs and smoked marijuana before that was en vogue. Then there was Jamaica's Trevor Berbick via Halifax, Nova Scotia, who once told a Candian immigration judge that wanted to deport him that he "was a citizen of the world" and thus was not subject to border laws. Then of course you had Mitch "Blood" Green who once took over the gas pumps in Brooklyn and filled up everyone for free. Hector "Macho" Camacho once chased a couple fellows down a Harlem street with a sawed-off shotgun. Oliver McCall kept his million dollar check in his sock.

So, as Dereck Chisora continues to make headlines for his antics - it feels like old times.

In the past 72 hours, Chisora, as you know, slapped Vitali Klitscko across the face at Friday's official weigh-in ahead of their WBC heavyweight title fight. During the referee's instructions the next day, Chisora spat water in Klitschko's face. Chisora would go on to lose a twelve-round decision to Klitschko, but he put up a relatively honest effort along the way. Late Saturday at the post fight press conference, he got into a brawl with former heavyweight belt-holder David Haye and his entourage.

Before being allowed to leave Germany, Chisora was questioned for seven hours by German authorities as to exactly what transpired in the dust-up with Haye. The WBC has fined Chisora $50,000 for the slap and there are grumblings now that he may lose his British Boxing Board of Control license for besmirching the "good name" and morals of boxing.

Chisora (left) and former heavyweight titlist David Haye came face-to-face and exchanged blows at the post fight press concerence in Munich, Germany.

Chisora is now facing an assault charge in Germany. His trainer, Don Charles, also faces a charge of assault for his involvement in the big bust up.

Give me a break. Many have done much worse with no such slaps on the wrist. The outrage, as it is, against Chisora seems overdone to the point of absurdity. Everybody asks me and I tell them this is boxing and these sorts of antics and personalities only add to the flavor.

Over the past decade, boxing has sterilized itself to the point of boredom and it has made people turn away in droves from what used to be the "wild west" of all sports. The fights now take place in antiseptic casinos where you can't even smoke a cigar at ringside. Count me as blessed for having the opportunity to sit next to George Kimball a couple times while he chain-smoked his filterless Lucky Strikes while blowing the ashes away from his keyboard. Today, if the fighters curse, swear or otherwise carry on foolishly - then somebody gets fined or suspended.

Somebody at some point somewhere all of a sudden began taking themselves and their roles in things way too serious. It has destroyed what was once an anything goes atmosphere where there was all sorts of laughs and all sorts of fun.

Perhaps nobody takes themselves more seriously than the two-headed heavyweight champion monster known as the Klitshcko brothers. Neither brother is exactly "Mr. Personality" and their studious methods and programmed, Frankenstein-like ways are just plain boring. It's one of the major reasons the television networks in the United States want nothing to do with broadcasting their bouts.

Mitch "Blood" Green faces the media the day after he and Mike Tyson got into a street fight in front of Dapper Dan's clothing store in Harlem. Green got punched, but he ripped the mirror from Tyson's Rolls Royce. "Blood" was one of boxing's most colorful characters.

Vitali's brother, Wladimir decided to release a statement regarding his thoughts on Chisora's actions. Here's another guy who takes his role in things way too seriously and he really needs to just lighten up a bit and smile once in a while.

"I am shocked and deeply embarrassed by the actions of Dereck Chisora and his team over this past week," wrote Wladimir. It saddens me how he represented the sport of boxing and disrespected the Champion of the World Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in and fight night...there has to be consequences for these kinds of actions and must never be tolerated by the boxing organizations, the media, fellow boxers and boxing fans. It must be stopped, otherwise the sport of boxing is going to go down the hill fast!"

Got news for you Wlad, you and your brother's "wild ways" have already ridden the sport into the bowels of a hole from which it will never recover.

Give me a barrel-full of guys like Dereck Chisora - and you just watch the sport of boxing thrive and prosper.

February 2012

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