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Klitschko Fight Too Soon for Chisora

-Klitschko vs. Chisora Match Doesn’t Make Sense-

If you have spent any amount of time watching boxing, you will have no doubt heard the phrase “nothing to lose”. It is usually used to describe the various situations an underdog might find themselves in. For example, Julio Cesar Chavez had nothing to lose entering the final round of his first bout with Meldrick Taylor and Buster Douglas had nothing to lose when he stepped into the ring against Mike Tyson. Similarly, Marc Anthony had nothing to lose when he first asked Jennifer Lopez out for a drink. Sometimes, taking the risk in these situations works out perfectly. There are times though when maybe it is wiser to sit back, consider the available options and decide the time just isn’t quite right to take the chance.

Credit: Mike Boehm/ProBoxing-Fans.com

This weekend the rumors concerning Wladimir Klitschko making a voluntary defense of his portion of the heavyweight title against the British and Commonwealth champion Derek Chisora have grown stronger. Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren used his weekly newspaper column to confirm he has received an offer for a fight on December 11th in Germany. Now if you’re reading this from anywhere outside of the British Isles I fully understand the cries of “who?!” and you would be right. Chisora is unbeaten in only 13 fights and the biggest win on his record so far is a 2nd round knockout victory over a shell of Danny Williams for the British title in May.

If the fight does indeed get signed, in the following weeks we will no doubt hear the usual quotes from all the parties involved. Klitschko will claim he is defending his title against a hungry, talented challenger. Chisora will state that he is not going to waste this chance of a lifetime. Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren will trot out the usual lines about it being a great learning experience for Chisora and how he has shown more courage in taking the bout than David Haye. None of this will change the fact that the fight will come 2 years too soon for Chisora. He is still only 26 years old and hasn’t yet gained the experience to be considered a serious threat to Klitschko.

By now you are probably wondering why I am contradicting myself. After all, doesn’t Chisora fit the mold of an underdog perfectly? Well, yes. But with many rules there are exceptions. Derek Chisora is one of those exceptions. In the modern era of giant heavyweights, at just 6’1″ and 240lbs Chisora has to use his other assets in order to make himself effective.

He is developing into an exciting come forward heavyweight with an underrated jab and good hand speed. ‘Del Boy’ isn’t afraid to close the distance in order to land his own punches and is becoming a good finisher. 2010 has seen a step up in the quality of opposition and Chisora has responded every time. He has cemented his position as Britain’s best heavyweight behind David Haye and is in the perfect position to develop into a threat in the division. He has all the raw materials and he now just needs time and the correct opposition to allow him to fulfill his potential.

Chisora’s last outing came on September 18th in Birmingham, England. It was a double title rematch with Sam Sexton for Chisora’s British belt and Sextons Commonwealth title. In their first meeting in 2008 Chisora stopped Sexton in 6 rounds. Since that first meeting, both have improved dramatically. At the first bell Chisora was a slight favorite but Sexton was considered a very live underdog. In a good quality heavyweight fight, Chisora showed it is he who has improved the most.

His jab was far more accurate and powerful than he has shown before. He mixed up the punches beautifully and although Sexton isn’t a knockout puncher he wasn’t fazed in the slightest when he got caught with shots. He also showed excellent stamina to increase his punch output and force a stoppage when the opening presented itself after 9 rounds. It was Chisora’s best performance to date and he looked like a genuine prospect. As a final test before fighting the best heavyweight in the world though it was about as relevant as a Thai cookery course.

The progression for Chisora from here would seem obvious. A European title fight with Alexander Dimitrenko would be a step up in quality but also a fight Chisora would be favored to win. After that, a defense or two against the likes of recent Klitschko opponents Albert Sosnowski or former champion Ruslan Chagaev would give Chisora invaluable experience and provide him with a healthy boost up the rankings. By this time, with the Klitschko brothers having grown another 18 months older, Chisora would be seen as a more viable contender and although he would still enter any match up as an underdog he would have slightly more than the proverbial puncher’s chance. Instead, with the severe lack of talent in the heavyweight Division, Chisora is being rushed into the biggest fight of his life.

Even with the dearth of genuine prospects in the heavyweight division, it is surprising that Chisora’s promoter Frank Warren is even giving a Klitschko fight serious consideration at this point. Warren has a reputation of expertly building up fighters by choosing the right opponent at the right time. By putting Chisora into a fight he is not ready for he runs the risk of stopping his career before it has even started. The benefits of taking the fight are obvious for Chisora, it is a chance to fight for the heavyweight championship of the world for a career high payday but the consequences of defeat could be even starker. Should Chisora suffer a quick knockout loss it would hurt his future marketability and maybe his psyche. It would also mean a couple of years spent trying to regain his status as a boxer worthy of another title shot.

Should Chisora last the distance but spend 12 rounds walking into a constant stream of jabs and right hands then that could have even more damaging repercussions. All fighters react differently to tasting defeat for the first time and who knows what effect this could have on Chisora’s desire. Of course, if he were to somehow find a way to win it would instantly catapult him to fame and Warren would look like a genius for taking the bout. At this point in Chisora’s career that seems very unlikely.

At the moment the heavyweight division is crying out for new blood. As functional and hard to beat as the Klitschko brothers are, they have never grabbed the public’s imagination. Chisora has all the tools to become a major force in the future but by adopting a short term “nothing to lose” mentality now he could damage his own long term plans.