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Haye: ‘Let fans decide on Chisora headlining Oct.26 card or not’

David Haye, Derek Chisora, Joseph Parker boxing photo

By Charles Brun: David Haye wants Sky Sports to conduct a poll so that the boxing fans can pick the headliner act for the October 26th card currently headlined by Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor. British heavyweight Dereck Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) created problems this week during the kickoff news conference on Monday when he confronted Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, and asked whether he’ll move his undercard fight against Joseph Parker to the main event next month on October 26 at the O2 Arena in London, England. The fight card will be shown on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, and streamed on DAZN in the U.S.

Dereck Chisora angry at not being in main event

Chisora was in a mood where he wasn’t taking any prisoners. No one dared confront Chisora aside from Prograis, who quickly clammed up after Dereck warned him that he would “squash” him if he kept talking. According to Haye, Chisora didn’t know he wasn’t going to be in the headliner fight until it was revealed by Hearn. Haye says Chisora knows this is his last to put himself in position for a world title shot against one of the heavyweight champions. Chisora must beat Joseph Parker, and look good doing so. Being stuck on an undercard doesn’t help Chisora. It makes him easier to ignore by the world champions.

Hearn has since said that he’s committed to having the light welterweight unification fight between WBA champion Prograis (24-0, 20 KOs) and IBF belt holder Taylor (15-0, 12 KOs) in the main event.

This the fight that DAZN wants, so Hearn isn’t in the position to move the fight to the undercard. U.S boxing fans arguably care more about seeing Prograis and Taylor fight each other rather than Chisora (31-9, 22 KOs) and Parker (26-2, 20 KOs). Those two aren’t relevant right now among the elite heavyweights. In contrast, Prograis and Taylor are #1 and #2 in the 140-lb weight class. Those two are the very best at light welterweight. Chisora and Parker are arguably no better than bottom 10, possibly even lower than that at heavyweight.

Haye suggests fans should choose the headliner for October 26 card

“It didn’t go down great,” said Haye to IFL TV about Chisora being told that he’ll be co-main event on the October 26 card. “What I think is the best way to decide which is the last fight on the show [headliner act] is to have a poll on Sky Sports’ website. Let the fans [decide].

The fans are the ones that pay for pay-per-view. So if they turn up, and they can only watch one fight, let the fans say. If the fans say they want to see the unification fight [Prograis vs. Taylor], then so be it. Let the fans decide who they want to see in the main event. I think the best and fairest thing to do is to let the fans decide [on main event for October 26 card],” said Haye.

The problem with Matchroom letting the boxing public decide who should be the headliner card for the October 26 card is one of the fighters could encourage his fans to vote for them. It’s unclear whether Chisora has a big enough following on social media to encourage his fans to storm a Sky Sports poll to vote for him. Having the fans choose who fights in the main event on the October 26 card might not work out. Sky is a UK site, and that means that a lot of American boxing fans likely wouldn’t bother going there to vote. It would give Chisora, a British fighter, a hug advantage in a pol on the Sky website.

Chisora wasn’t happy with the fight poster

“He felt a little short-changed. Eddie Hearn and myself agreed that he’d be the co-main event,” said Haye to Boxing Social about Chisora. “He didn’t like the fight poster, because he felt like his head was a little smaller than the two champions [Prograis and Taylor]. I knew that raised a few eyebrows. When he was told up there that he was on the undercard, he really took it badly,” said Haye about Chisora. “I’ve said in several interviews if there’s any question marks about who should be in the main event on October 26th, let the fans decide.

Let Sky Sports do a poll. Let the people who are buying the fight. They’re the people who decide. If fans can only see one fight, which fight is the one they want to see? Is it going to be the unification fight of the finals of the [World Boxing] Super Series, Muhammad Ali Trophy, or is it going to be the good old fashioned ding dong where they know they’re going to see some heavyweight action? I say leave it up to the fans,” said Haye.

On the fight poster, Chisora’s head is smaller than that of the main event fighters Prograis and Taylor. Obviously, Chisora feels that with all the big fights he’s been involved in during his career, he should have a bigger placement on the fight poster.

Haye says he thinks he could have “stopped” Chisora if he got physical at the press conference

“Yeah, definitely, 100 percent,” said Haye when asked if he thinks Chisora was disrespectful to Prograis and Taylor while on stage at last Monday’s press conference. “Chisora is a disrespectful guy at times. He hasn’t made his career on being respectful to people, and he says it how it is. And, he says it how he feels…but that’s why people love Dereck Chisora. He wanted to go to war up there on stage. I could feel the energy.

I could see his leg twitching under the table. When the champion [Prograis] piped off, I thought, ‘Oh, don’t do it.’ I was thinking, ‘I can stop him [Chisora].’ I still have some size left. I could have stopped him, I think, but it would have been hard work, but I’m glad he simmered down. But at one stage when they [Chisora and Prograis] where going back and forth, I was like, ‘you guys aren’t fighting each other. It’s not about you guys.’ But when Dereck goes, he goes, but he’s in the right zone,” said Haye.

It would have been bad if the retired Haye was the only guy standing between him and the much smaller Prograis. Although knocked Chisora out in five rounds in 2012, that was seven years ago. Haye isn’t the same fighter now compared to then. Chisora looks like he’s improved, and isn’t showing signs of age. He’s aged really well, and learned from each fight. One can argue that the 2019 version of Chisora would beat the 2012 version quite easily.

Chisora knows this is his last chance says Haye

“He usually clicks in a couple of weeks before his fights,” said Haye. “This time, he’s in shape. Look at him…He missed some sleep, and he came to the press conference and was told he was on the undercard when he expected to be at least co-main event. I understand why he bubbled over. He’s looking strong, he’s looking fast, and he’s looking to do some damage to Joseph Parker. He’s [Chisora] looking wider and wider, and I’m looking skinnier and skinnier. I’m thinking it might be a little hard to stop him.

Dereck pushed it to the line, and then simmered down and walked off the stage. No tripods. Dereck knows this is his last chance. He knows he’s never going to get another opportunity like this. If he can beat Joseph Parker by points or knockout, he’s the top. He’s the number #1 contender to fight for these big, lucrative world title fights. It’s the only belt he’s not won. He’s won all the belts. He just wants the world title belt, and this is his world title belt.  This is his road to do it, and if he can do it in good style to get a world title shot,” said Haye.

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