David Haye has experience in the cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions, winning titles in both weight classes in his boxing career. Now, he manages former rival Derek Chisora, and he sees Chisora as extremely dangerous for former cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk when the two meet on May 23 in London.
Usyk (17-0, 13 KO) has just one fight at heavyweight, a relatively easy if not exactly head-turning win over Chazz Witherspoon last October. Chisora (32-9, 23 KO) will certainly be an underdog, as he’s lost to all of his best opponents, including Haye back in 2012, but Haye feels that style-wise, Chisora is a real threat to Usyk.
“I don’t believe Usyk will see Derek Chisora any more dangerously than Anthony Joshua saw Andy Ruiz Jr the first time around, and when that’s the case, you get upsets,” Haye told Sky Sports. “When someone’s an 8-to-1 underdog, the champion — particularly if he’s never lost before — will look at someone who may have lost nine fights and think, ‘OK, a tune-up, stay busy...’
“I don’t believe Usyk will be mentally or physically prepared for the onslaught that Derek Chisora’s gonna bring to him. And even if he is ready, he’s not a heavyweight. He doesn’t have the firepower to really stop Derek in his tracks as he’s coming forward. I think the only way to beat Derek, for someone his size, is to hit him and hit him hard. If he doesn’t get Derek’s respect very, very soon, it will be like getting caught in a mud slide.”
There is a chance that Haye is dead-on here, I think. Usyk is a classy boxer, no question about that, and he may be able to move and poke past some solid heavyweights, including the battle-tested Chisora. But does he have the power to really deter those guys? Can he hold them off for 12 rounds if not? How will his own beard fare when he’s hit by the bigger opponents?
That’s the intrigue of Usyk-Chisora. It’s the first real heavyweight test for the outstanding Ukrainian, and is a test he absolutely must pass if he’s going to be a real player in the division.