THE last time Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora met in a boxing ring the year was 2014 and the night was long. Too long. It was a night so long, in fact, that the fight at London’s ExCel Arena didn’t end until gone two o’clock in the morning, at which point hundreds of fans, having been told at midnight by the MC Mark Burdiss that they were in danger of missing the last train home, attacked the exits like a pack of fathers in a department store on Christmas Eve. Caught short, some then made sure they pissed on floors and walls on their way out, while others simply made do with shoving substances up their noses to enhance their capacity to stay awake, the impact of both the late hour and a soporific main event too much for a few.
Outside, in the car park, the ones lucky enough to make it would walk into fog. It guaranteed cars were impossible to locate. It made already frazzled minds all the more confused. Inside, meanwhile, the boxing continued, seemingly on an endless loop, with Steve Collins Jnr now performing to an empty arena in a four-rounder.
All in all, it was, as far as nights at the boxing go, up there with one of the worst. The atmosphere was off from the very beginning (on account of many fans jumping barriers and sitting in seats not assigned to them) and the action inside the ring, whether that was Bradley Skeete vs Frankie Gavin, or Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr, or, indeed the “main event” between Fury and Chisora, never really caught fire.
Still haunted by that night, it is perhaps understandable, then, that I would be triggered and somewhat traumatised by the idea of Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora now reuniting in 2022. For as well as this being a heavyweight fight nobody wants, needs, or is even ironically calling for, a potential fight between Fury and Chisora is a reminder of where they have both been, what they have previously done (together and separately), and how far the disparity between them has stretched in the intervening years. It is a reminder, too, that when it comes to making money in this sport any notion of competition or even demand is deemed irrelevant in the eyes of those with the power to call the shots.
Because, let’s face it, whether you were unfortunate enough to be at the ExCel that foggy November night, or whether you attended the pair’s first fight all the way back in 2011, you know for certain that Fury, 32-0-1 (23), and Chisora, 33-12 (23), are a couple not meant to be together. They have fun together, sure, that cannot be denied, but this fun tends to begin and end at the press conference.
Never, through the 22 rounds they have shared, has the fun ever extended to the ring, at least not from Chisora’s point of view. As always, he bravely gave it a go first time around, making the fight competitive for a while, but by fight two, the one held at the ExCel, Chisora cut the forlorn figure of a man both waiting and hoping to be stopped from the second round onwards. (He was, for the record, put out of his misery after the 10th.)
Since then, Fury has beaten Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder (twice), and Dillian Whyte. He has also retired, unretired, retired, and unretired, and said lots of things, only some of which were true. Chisora, meanwhile, has beaten Carlos Takam, Artur Szpilka, David Price and Kubrat Pulev, but has been beaten by Kubrat Pulev, Dillian Whyte (twice), Joseph Parker (twice), Agit Kabayel, and Oleksandr Usyk. He, too, has said a lot of things, only some of which were true.
Crucially, the pair, despite their mixed fortunes, are considerably bigger names and draws than they were back in 2014, and it’s for this reason – and only this reason – the fight is being discussed – by them and only them – in 2022. Together, after all, there is money to be made, even if their roles will this time be those of business partners rather than opponents. Together, with their names and personalities, there is hope they can entice a large enough portion of the casual audience to watch them first argue at a press conference, then partake in what would amount to little more than a sparring session on fight night. Maybe in the end, when you put it like that, they’re the clever ones; clever, that is, for capitalising on the ignorance of the masses.
Then again, the timing of their back-and-forth should not be ignored, either, coming as it does just days before Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua meet for a second time in Saudi Arabia. It’s those two heavyweights Fury should and hopefully is targeting and perhaps, with this in mind, he is merely choosing to use Chisora as bait (in much the same way a footballer’s agent might mention other clubs’ interest in his client in order to get the club they really want to finally make their move). Or at least one hopes that’s the case.
For if not, Fury will fight Chisora and will, whether we like it or not, engage in the second trilogy of his 33-fight pro career. To make matters worse, he will then proceed to sell it as a trilogy in the traditional sense – you know, one people actually care about and demand – and will talk about how very few heavyweights engage in one trilogy in their career, let alone two. Etcetera, etcetera.
Yet, as true as that may be, given the fact Fury never even lost a fight against Wilder during their trilogy, and wouldn’t have lost a fight against Chisora should theirs also happen, at what point does a fetish for trilogies go from being something on which a legacy is built to being a complete waste of everyone’s time?