The heavyweight division has produced a lot, but never a rival that can end the soap opera Derek Chisora. His fate remains firmly in his own hands – the challenge is to keep it that way.
The anti-hero known as Del Boy has long twisted the weird and wonderful world of boxing on his own accord, but his disappointment with Joseph Parker was a solemn reminder that even he couldn’t escape the cruelties of the sport. .
“They want me to retire again, but I won’t,” was his emotional outburst against anyone in particular after losing a split decision despite the fight’s lone goal.
For the first time in nine years, this adorable veteran thief has lost back-to-back fights. The last time it was a winding crossroads he was able to navigate.
But this time?
Chisora, 37, has been the valiant finalist in all three major events he has headlined since David Haye was appointed manager. Chisora’s entire career has been a roller coaster of terrifying extremes, but since Haye handed him the third of three straight losses in 2012, he has not been faced with such questions about his future.
His ability to challenge boxing standards and infrastructure to revel alongside champions, despite a world title on the line in just one of his 43 fights, has always been part of his unique charm.
Boxing has been good for Chisora over the past few years, but he received an unexpected reminder of his lingering toughness in his last two fights, with back-to-back scorecard streaks that left him deflated and ruined his luck.
Seven months ago, it sparked major questions about Oleksandr Usyk’s status as the next big event despite the Ukrainian highlighting it. On Saturday night in Manchester, he flattened Parker after just seven seconds and then ended the fight forcefully, but the judges punished him for the time in between.
His exasperation was almost alarming: “I don’t know what they were seeing,” he said.
“I won’t let them slow me down. No way. I’ll go back. Because I won’t let them win. I’m very upset but they won’t win.”
“I’m beyond getting angry now.
“My last fight. This fight. They don’t like me. It’s disappointing.
“I can’t get mad. It’s horrible. I give everything. These are the results I get.
“His trainer Andy Lee said I won the fight!”
Lee, in Parker’s corner, admitted, “After the fight, Joe said, ‘I don’t know if we had this.’
Promoter Eddie Hearn said Chisora was “hit hard by”.
Chisora’s crucial admission and a window to her mind beyond bravado was: “This is the treatment I get from boxing.”
Sport waits for no one and very few make it to the Promised Land unscathed. Chisora’s race to mix him up with the best dogs in the division doesn’t need to be over, but as the years add up he needs to avoid the risk of leaving someone out. other to be the master of his destiny.
The perception of Chisora among her peers will be that of a true elite keeper, but possession of this key can be a poisoned chalice. A queue of hungry young suitors will watch Chisora as the man they must pass on to make it to the top.
The temptation for the seemingly evergreen Briton will be to engage them and continue his run in a truly fascinating career.
But the danger is that it becomes a footnote in a future champion’s legacy.
Boxing can be an ungrateful mistress, even for the most loyal. The game is littered with believable heavyweights who have fought too bravely for too long, hoping and hoping their fortunes will change. This is rarely the case.
The chips do not fall in favor of Chisora but he is still competing at the highest level – Usyk and Parker, two former world champions in a row, did not make the most of their 12 rounds with him and on two occasions he there was an argument for the opposite result.
The danger is that he slips into the role of the brave finalist in a two-horse race, chosen by substance heavyweights who want to use the value of his name. It is a job that could add years to his career at the expense of his reputation. It is the desperate fate that he must avoid.
For the moment? The rematch that Chisora and Parker verbally agreed to makes sense, especially as the division is stuck behind the expected battle between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Former WBO champion New Zealander Parker was able to rekindle the flame of his career that faded when he lost his title and undefeated record to Joshua in 2018.
Since then he has been viewed as soft, probably unfairly, by his rivals. His response after beating Chisora: “It was close. It could have gone either way.”
But he maintains a high rank with the WBO and could still fight to return to contention – he was once part of an exciting and undefeated triumvirate of world champions alongside Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
The future, with Fury’s ally Andy Lee as new coach, looks bright again for Parker, but only because a judge pushed him away instead of Chisora. This is how perceptions can change so drastically depending on the scribbling of the powerful but silent decision-makers at ringside.
So maybe Chisora should go on regardless, fighting younger and more ambitious contenders every time? See? This is this easy to be tempted …
Chisora will regret that it was not him who progressed on Saturday and that he may never be him again. But this is a special case that has always benefited from the roll of the dice even after unsuccessful fights.
We love Chisora for all of its controversies and all the chaos and will continue to do so. But he must be careful to extract all he can from this sport without giving up his soul too much.