David Haye (26-2, 24 KO) has stopped bitter rival Dereck Chisora (15-4, 9 KO) in five rounds at Upton Park in London. Fortunately, the bout lived up to the pre-fight hype and tension that had begun at the infamous post-fight press conference where Haye confronted—to put it nicely—Chisora after “Del Boy” had lost to WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
A raucous crowd braved the rain and provided an absolutely stunning backdrop for the open-air fight at Upton Park, and their patience and commitment was rewarded as Haye and Chisora engaged in a compelling fight with extended stretches of toe-to-toe action.
As the more skilled and dynamic boxer, Haye maneuvered off of his back foot and found success boxing in retreat and from the outside. Still, as Haye was putting rounds in the bank, Chisora’s relentless pressure and high guard put the former cruiserweight champion and heavyweight titlist into some uncomfortable spots.
The first round obviously involved a feeling-out process, but Haye soon started to find a home for his straight right hand. Haye landed the first truly eye-catching blow of the fight in the second round, and he was able to use his jab and box effectively in retreat.
Undeterred, Chisora continued to apply steady pressure and landed a flush left hook at the end of the Round 3. The intense atmosphere in the stadium muffled the bell attempting to sound the end of the round, and Chisora’s series of hooks staggered Haye. On his way back to his corner, Chisora got in a grinning Haye’s face, and trash talk ensued after an aggressive chest bump.
Despite Chisora’s tactics and mind games at the end of Round 3, Haye maintained his composure to box well in the fourth. The first half of the round had excellent back-and-forth action, but Haye began to assert himself and find a consistent target for his right hand and a variety of hooks.
With Chisora winging shots and lumbering off his stool to start Round 5, Haye’s precision ended up being the deciding factor in what amounted to a spectacular finish. With Chisora stalking intently but failing to truly trap Haye, a furious exchange resulted in the fight’s first knockdown as Haye landed a monstrous left hook-right hand combination.
Chisora was in bad shape but beat the count. Haye, who has always been a clinical finisher, wasted no time in applying intelligent pressure. Haye was able to prevent Chisora from clinching, and another flurry ended dramatically as Haye landed his straighter shots inside the wide arcs of Chisora’s looping hooks, sending “Del Boy” crashing to the canvas for a second time.
Chrisora again rose before the 10-count, but the referee deemed him unfit to continue. Despite all the animosity between Haye and Chisora, the two men embraced after the fight in a surprising show of mutual respect.
While Chisora said in his post-fight interview that he will be back, the more pressing concern is what Haye’s next move will be.
Firstly, Haye-Chisora ended up providing heavyweight boxing with a much-needed dose of excitement and flair. Had the bout failed to live up to its hype, it would have become another punch line to lambaste an already fledgling division with. Given the quality of his performance and the excitement generated throughout the fight’s promotion, Haye has set himself up for immediate big-business.
In his post fight interview, Haye agreed that by stopping Chisora—a man Vitali Klitschko was forced to decision—he sent a frightening message to everyone in the heavyweight division. At this point, a fight against the elder Klitschko makes sense, though Haye suggested that Vitali would avoid him and settle for fighting lesser opposition before a full-time move to politics.
Should the prospect of a Klitschko fight not materialize, it would behoove Haye to take on the likes of Alexander Povetkin. A Haye-Povetkin matchup—skill-wise—makes sense given the heavyweight landscape, and a win would allow Haye to reclaim a belt (however dubious), which might give him more leverage moving forward.
Love him or hate him, David Haye is back. While we might be attracted to his persona against our better judgment, the fact remains that in a mere five rounds he has spiked interest in heavyweight boxing, and his return infuses the division with much needed dose of in-ring credibility.