NO, it probably wasn’t the time or place, but Dereck Chisora’s rant at a press conference yesterday – one meant to celebrate (not denigrate) the October 26 world super-lightweight title unification between Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis – did at least achieve two things.
Firstly, it allowed Chisora to steal the show and direct the attention towards him rather than towards two fantastic super-lightweights. Presumably the plan going in.
Secondly, and more importantly, the tirade allowed Chisora to vent and, in venting, explore a few salient points regarding what it means to be a so-called pay-per-view star in this day and age.
Though ugly and unorthodox, in terms of its delivery, there was truth to a lot of what Chisora was saying and what you saw, as a result, wasn’t so much the spotlight shifting as a minor lightbulb moment.
“Maybe he’s right.”
Consider this: last week we were informed YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul were turning pro in Los Angeles on November 9 and that professional boxers Billy Joe Saunders and Devin Haney would appear on the undercard. It first sparked confusion, then widespread outrage.
Why? Well, aside from the fact the main event is a fight between debutants, neither of whom possess any real boxing experience, the thing that irked purists was that Saunders and Haney, and whoever else, have ended up being relegated to the supporting cast.
The logic, however, is this: Saunders and Haney aren’t big names or big sellers in their own right – at least not at this point – whereas KSI and Paul bring in the audience and therefore the money.
If this makes no sense, at least appreciate the fact it makes business sense.
Appreciate, too, that someone like Dereck Chisora might look at this and similar examples and wonder how Josh Taylor and Regis Prograis can expect to shift more tickets and pay-per-view buys on October 26 than he can.
Granted, their World Boxing Super Series final is superior to Chisora vs. Parker, but, equally, it is hard to argue with the Londoner when he says he carries more star power than the pair, especially boxing at home in the capital, and implies he is the better salesman.
He’s not operating alone, either. Parker, his opponent, is a man familiar with UK fans following pay-per-view main events against Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte and he also brings the added carrot of being the only man to have beaten – albeit controversially – current WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jnr.
“Yeah, I agree (with Chisora),” Higgins told Sky Sports. “Parker-Chisora, or Chisora-Parker as the Brits like to call it, is a bigger attraction commercially, in terms of tickets sold at The O2 and viewing figures. It depends on how you are making the decision.
“Technically it (Prograis vs. Taylor) is more elite in terms of titles, but, in terms of fan favourites and exciting boxing matches, Parker-Chisora is the bigger event. So, I agree with Chisora.
“That being said, our side don’t really care as much. Joseph has never been one to have ego issues or worry about stuff like that. He knows what the job is, and it will be to punch Chisora in the face and shut him up.”
You can attribute it to ego issues, sure, but, in the case of Dereck Chisora, one suspects it’s more a case of this: be careful what you wish for.
Because, in recycling the old Finchley warhorse, rebranding him as WAR and pitching him as some all-action hero fit for saving every pay-per-view from here to eternity, the powers that be have made him an important piece of their pay-per-view puzzle and will now have to deal with the fallout when that piece is no longer happy being a tiny part of a bigger picture.
They created the rules, not him.
What’s more, in the current climate, when seemingly all that’s required of a fighter is for them to be famous and popular, it’s hard to disagree with Chisora. In comparison to Taylor and Prograis, he is famous. He is popular. He has played the game, according to the rules of the business, and has held up his end of the bargain.
Now, he is simply behaving the way they have always wanted him to behave – the way that sells – and saying the sort of things that actually make a lot of sense in the context of what is going on elsewhere.
It’s a phoney war, I’m sure, but one worth fighting all the same.
Momentum is building ahead of a possible fight between Manny Pacquiao and Mikey Garcia.
According to a member of Garcia’s team, the pair are in negotiations for a fight at welterweight and it could very well happen early next year.
The last time we saw Garcia was as a welterweight in March, the night he struggled getting to grips with IBF champion Errol Spence, someone too big, too rangy and too good. Pacquiao, meanwhile, has already this year claimed the scalps of Adrien Broner and Keith Thurman, widely outpointing them both, and is currently the WBA welterweight champion.
That, by all accounts, is a belt Garcia wants. More importantly, Manny Pacquiao is an opponent he wants.
“Whenever he doesn’t have a fight, he spars two times a week. But since two weeks ago, he’s been coming five times a week,” Mikey’s nephew, Peter, told FightHype.
“My grandpa said, “He’s going to get a date soon. He doesn’t come on Tuesdays when he doesn’t have a fight coming up.’
“It’s still in negotiations. It’s a fight that me, my dad and my grandpa like at welterweight.”
Although, on the face of it, the prospect of Garcia sticking around at welterweight isn’t one anybody should be encouraging, the rules are slightly skewed when it comes to facing Pacquiao at 147 pounds.
Pacquiao, after all, began his career as a 106-pound flyweight, so is far from a natural welterweight, and is often smaller than opponents. It’s fair to say, too, that even though he continues to be successful as he moves through the weight classes, his extreme punch power, a feature of his earlier fights, hasn’t quite travelled up with him.
But, regardless of weight class, Pacquiao is the pot of gold at the end of every boxer’s rainbow and Garcia, like the rest, would be a fool to turn down the kind of money a fight against ‘Pac Man’ can generate.
If this means remaining at welterweight and giving it one more go, so be it. Frankly, who could blame him?