This coming Saturday, David Haye and Dereck Chisora will take to the ring at Upton Park, and whether or not anyone recognizes it as a sanctioned boxing bout is now secondary. They're going to fight, and if they live up to their own hype -- as unlikely as that may be -- it's going to be a special fight.
The two fighters are taking different paths to hyping at the moment. Let's start with Haye, the 31-year-old former cruiserweight champion and heavyweight titlist who hasn't fought since last July's limp display against Wladimir Klitschko. Haye says he will shoot for the knockout, and early at that:
"People are going to be quite surprised from the opening bell. They’re going to be pleasantly surprised. If he’s lucky enough to hear the bell for the end of the first round he will realise, ‘I’ve never been hit this hard before’. The same as when he got buzzed in the first round against Robert Helenius in December, he will get it 15 times against me. I will knock him out whatever round he wants. I will have to check the odds first."
Haye (25-2, 23 KO) is now notorious for not backing up big claims, but really outside of the Wladimir debacle, he hasn't really been totally overboard with predictions in the past. He did stop Audley Harrison, did stop John Ruiz, did stop Monte Barrett, and so on. It's not exactly murderer's row or anything, but hey, he backed those up.
Chisora (15-3, 9 KO) is content to accept that many see the fight as a "freak show" bout:
"People like freak shows. We're selling a freak show and if people want to watch, they want to watch, we don't care. ... The moment the bell rings I'm going to be all over David Haye."
Chisora will be looking to win for the first time in his last three bouts, and really get the first credible win since he beat Sam Sexton in September 2010. Of course he deserved to get the win over Robert Helenius in December, but that's another story.
What do you figure the odds are that this is a good fight? It's going to have major atmosphere, I have no doubt about that, and that can carry a mediocre fight. But if these two actually come out swinging, and actually put on the fight they're talking about, I think this has a chance to be really special.
It could also be a piece of crap where Haye worries too much about letting his hands go because he doesn't want to get hit, or Chisora can't do much because Haye's too fast, or whatever. Odds are it doesn't come close to being what it could be, but I'm looking forward to seeing it, and crossing my fingers. Bring on the barbarism.