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The Worst of Dereck Chisora: ‘Del Boy’ Proves that Sleaze Sells in Boxing

Saturday's Bout with American Malik Scott Proves That, in Boxing, You Can't Keep a Bad Man Down

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COMMENTARY | Morbid curiosity is heavyweight Dereck Chisora's best friend. Why else would a UK-based heavyweight with three losses in his last four bouts and no significant wins since 2010 still be able to generate headlines?

Over the course of six years as a pro, the abrasive 6' 2" battler has gone well beyond testing the boundaries of good taste as a public figure and now treads on ground reserved for social misfits and soccer hooligans. With a history full of bites, fouls, weigh-in scuffles, and out-of-ring violence, "Del Boy" is the loosest of all possible cannons and, because of that, one of the division's most compelling characters.

Born in Zimbabwe, Chisora moved to the UK with his family in 1999 at the age of sixteen and quickly fell in with the wrong crowd. Petty crime and vandalism soon followed. Chisora's first taste of boxing would come at the request of his probation officer, who likely felt that the structure and discipline required in the sport would help the young man avoid a full-time life of crime.

Showing an aptitude for the fistic arts, Chisora would have a short, but successful amateur career before turning pro in 2007. While not particularly gifted or athletic, Chisora did show true toughness in the ring and, above all else, supreme confidence in his own ability to overcome any obstacle put in his way.

Chisora's dogged determination led him to the British heavyweight title and wins over solid regional talents like Danny Williams and Sam Sexton. Sporting a 14-0 record, Chisora would first taste defeat at the hands of Tyson Fury in a sloppy, dreary unanimous decision loss that would cost him his title, but surprisingly, not really get in the way of his career trajectory.

However, as Chisora kept rising in the rankings, his behavior was becoming more and more problematic. In 2009, Chisora was suspended for four months for biting opponent, Paul Butlin on the ear in their bout. Two fights later, he would kiss Carl Baker at the weigh-in for their bout and nearly cause a fight-canceling melee.

Outside the ring, Chisora's problems were even more serious.

Shortly before the Fury fight, Chisora was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend, but would escape with a fine, community service, and a suspended prison sentence. The assault was added to a list of priors that included "assaulting a police officer and possession of an offensive weapon."

But Chisora's star would keep growing. A controversial decision loss to "Nordic Nightmare" Robert Helenius in 2011would earn him plenty of sympathy and enough credibility to challenge for Vitali Klitschko's WBC world title in Klitschko's adopted home country of Germany.

Predictably, Chisora's mouth ran wild during the lead-in to the bout and his unhinged demeanor created all kinds of chaos when the two were face to face.

One day prior to the bout, at the official weigh-in, Chisora would slap Klitschko squarely across the face. And the next day, upon entering the ring, he would walk up to Vitali's brother, Wladimir, and spit water in his face.

After a fairly competitive, but decisive unanimous decision loss to Klitschko, Chisora would again make headlines with his thugish behavior in the post-fight press conference when David Haye rudely interrupted the proceedings.

The wild brawl that ensued, replete with flying fists, broken glass, and Chisora's threats to shoot Haye, would cost Chisora his British boxing license for one year, but not interfere much with his actual career. Five months after the press conference riot, Haye would stop Chisora in the fifth round of what was billed by some as an unsanctioned grudge match in London.

But it's hard to keep a bad man down in boxing and Chisora will be back in the ring this Saturday at the Wembley Arena in London against undefeated American fringe contender, Malik Scott (35-0-1, 12 KOs). An obscenity-laced conference call between Chisora and Scott has already set the tone for the upcoming event and fireworks are all but guaranteed at some point before the opening bell rings.

Chisora, now sporting a record of 16-4 with 10 knockouts, should desperately need a win in order to stay relevant as a main stage heavyweight. But win, lose, or draw, he's already assured a steady stream of sizable paydays as long as he keeps appealing to the lowest common denominator of fight fan.


Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, Boxingscene

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