David Haye and Dereck Chisora finally met eye to eye with intent yesterday in front of 600 people at their open weigh-in for tomorrow night's fight at Upton Park.
So far the fighters have performed a series of weary insults at three press conferences without any real drama or emotion but that all changed yesterday when once again the metal barrier was present and was helpless against the hostility.
Haye watched as Chisora stepped on and off his scales before stripping down and standing on his own scales. "It gets serious once the shirts come off and we are standing there," said Haye. "That is what I like because it means the fight is on and Dereck was giving me a bit of stick. I love that."
Haye was 37 pounds lighter at 15 stone to Chisora's 17.9 and immediately dismissed the difference in weight. "It happens every time and let me tell you that if you took off all of Chisora's fat he would be lighter than me. He thinks that fat will win him the fight." Adam Booth, Haye's trainer, claimed his fighter was closer to 14.12, which he insisted was the perfect weight.
Chisora was joined at the barrier by his trainer and friend Don Charles, who admits he does get carried away at times, and he seemed to be goading Haye throughout the obligatory stare-down.
The fence, a thin barrier in reality, looked woefully inadequate as the fighters and Charles exchanged opinions. Metal or human partitions at fights are not new and when Lennox Lewis met Mike Tyson in 2002 a dozen policemen remained in the ring long after the fight's introductions and just managed to escape before the first bell.
"Haye was struggling to look me in the eye and kept trying to laugh and look out at the fans," insisted Chisora, who also demanded Haye tell him why the fight is over 10 rounds and not the usual 12 rounds. "You changed the distance, you are scared," said Chisora.
Haye denies he recently asked for the fight to be downgraded from 12 to 10 rounds, insisting he signed a contract several months ago for 10 rounds. "Dereck needs to find somebody to read him his contract because this fight has always been over 10 rounds," Haye said. "What is he so worried about? I looked in his eyes and I saw the same belief and confidence that Tyson Fury, Robert Helenius and Vitali Klitschko saw – and what happened in those fights? He lost them all. It's possible to be confident and lose."
"This fight is all about what the fans want and I know from the weigh-in that they will not be disappointed," continued Haye. "I have been in a lot of big fights and I can tell what will happen in the fight by what happens at the weigh-in. Dereck will try and that will be his downfall."
Chisora, meanwhile, is convinced Haye is getting more desperate the closer it gets to the first bell. "He knows that I would stop him if the fight was over 12 rounds and I can tell he is looking for excuses. He is frightened now."
As the fighters, their official members and several new recruits to their entourages left the Odeon, Leicester Square, Michael Buffer, the iconic and ageless ring announcer, was alone wandering the stage. "I tell people there is nowhere in the world quite like Britain for fight fans and in this fight we have two men at their peaks in a great fight of pride. It will be an amazing night." Even Buffer's eyes had a sparkle of delight as he collected his make-up pouch and followed the fans and the fighters out of the building.