Pulev vs Chisora: In Many Ways, A Rematch We Don’t Need

Pulev vs Chisora: In Many Ways, A Rematch We Don’t Need

Boxing News the long-standing trade paper often gets the tone just right in previewing a big fight. This week’s edition is no different. Matt Christie has summed up the Kubrat Pulev Derek Chisora rematch perfectly. One line in particular, stands out:

‘Like too many ageing fighters just because he feels fine today he presumes he will be okay tomorrow.’

That sadly, albeit predictably, is the problem and the fear of what Chisora’s pointless rematch with Pulev brings. All the cheerleaders should remember that. Sometimes the future should be considered more than the present.

Chisora and Pulev is a rematch we don’t need. In truth, both fighters desperately don’t need it. If they are honest with themselves and if they thought about the future, they would realise that. Matchroom could be renamed Re-Matchroom, with the endless rematch clauses that too often litter their offerings and regurgitation of fights like this that carry little meaning. But plenty of health warnings.

It is two fighters who have little relevance at the top end of the heavyweight scene. Even if the world heavyweight titles split into a million pieces they are unlikely to figure in any immediate consideration. Certainly, if title shots are given out on merit alone.

The fight is just a winner stays on, the loser goes home type of matchup. But does the loser really go home? It is yet another supposed must-win fight for Chisora. We have been here before. But even if he loses for the thirteenth time in his career, and suffers his fourth straight defeat in the process, the clamour for him to be rolled out once again will probably only intensify, especially if he loses in the blood and guts way we saw last time out.

If Pulev adds another little notch to the Chisora losing streak, the British heavyweight will still in all likelihood fight on against some foe perceived limited enough for yet another revival. Or he will drop down a level or two and be the stepping stone for a younger and fresher Matchroom heavyweight. A Chisora win, far from unlikely, would mean another fight at a higher level that would almost certainly end in yet another defeat. His career to date would tell us that is by far the most likely outcome.

Either way, win, lose or draw, Chisora is unlikely to retire. But at some point, it has to stop. It needs to stop.

I was ringside late last year when Chisora and Joseph Parker went to war in a pulsating heavyweight fight. You couldn’t help but admire the bravery and sheer desire of Chisora. But at what cost. Chisora took a fearful battering, and as I wrote at the time:

‘It was absorbing and unsettling in equal measure.’

Chisora 38 and 44 fights into his long career, brings a different kind of entertainment at times, but no matter the numbers he brings, there is a bigger picture. Is what he generates financially for his employers or the entertainment he gives to the fans really justification for his continued appearances on these types of nights. When Chisora has lost virtually every big fight he has been involved in, it certainly is a curious tale of why and how he is still a headlining act.

“My style is ‘f**ck it’, bite on the gumshield and let’s f****ing go for it.” Words from Chisora this week that might try and justify his continued place at the top of the card, but they in reality highlight much more.

I am at an age where I have seen far too many fighters continue past the point of no return and then pay a heavy price down the road for staying in the sun for too long. Sometimes they pay the ultimate price. If anyone is in denial about the accumulative effect of being repeatedly punched in the head, I would suggest they go and buy Damage, the excellent and thought-provoking book by Tris Dixon. I would certainly implore Chisora to do so. Fighters may know the risks. But do they fully understand them?

Promoters should show more compassion more empathy, and look past the money that fighters like Chisora may or may not bring to the table. Just because Chisora wants to fight on, a promoter should and could make that decision for them. Money isn’t everything. Health is.

Chisora and Pulev are two heavyweights who have seen better days, they may give similar viewing to the heavyweight slugfest we saw in Manchester last year. But that is the problem. The Parker Chisora rematch was an uncomfortable watch, whatever happens on Saturday night at the O2 Arena, will likely be much of the same. For different reasons.

It could be another night of extreme brutality and violence or 30 odd minutes of two fighters trying to salvage their primes and realising they are at the point of no return and it turns into an abject bore with more holding and posturing than punching. If the latter, it might finally convince the cheerleaders and the money men that this is the time when enough is enough.

When the Derek Chisora story eventually ends the hope is that he doesn’t suffer too much in later life. Will people still remember Chisora in the years to come? Let’s hope that Chisora can still remember them.

Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing

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