Boxing: Intensity of grudge match makes for explosive bout – with gulf in class


However questionable the provenance of this fight there was nothing illegitimate about the five-punch sequence that concluded it. David Haye brought a classy end to a chapter that lacked class from the outset and, in erasing the challenge of Dereck Chisora in a blizzard of withering blows, finds himself returned to the centre of the boxing universe, calling out Klitschkos by the dozen.

It is unfortunate that Haye substantiated his authority as a fighter on a bill that took place under the aegis of the Luxemburg Boxing Federation and under protest from the British Boxing Board of Control, but unease over the political dispute that dogged the event melted away in the intensity of a fight that was ultimately a legal execution.

Chisora brought violence and endeavour to the ring just as he promised but was dispatched by the better boxer. Haye has still to justify his status as a heavyweight of the highest class, but against opposition that falls short of that distinction he is a formidable reaper.

The sun that lit up the early evening had disappeared by the time Michael Buffer went to work in calling the fighters to order. On cue, and in sympathy perhaps with the background to this fight, the heavens opened over Upton Park. The integrity of Katie Price's fake tan was under serious threat, and that of her boyfriend judging by his radioactive glow.

A year has passed since Haye last fought in a ring, and the weather was no kinder in Hamburg. Promoter Frank Warren came prepared, arming his staff with plastic macs and instructing a mass distribution at ringside.

Promises of 40,000 did not look too far fetched as London's East End embraced this contest. Andy Murray and William Gallas were among those getting wet.

Chisora emerged to the sound of air raid sirens, suggesting imminent detonation of bombs, and the truth of that was tattooed all over his features in an explosive opening.

Haye came out smoking, throwing more punches in a round than in the entire fight against Wladimir Klitschko. The point was to impose early a class divide. Chisora was unmoved.

He brings the countenance of the bareknuckle encounter to the modern era. He absorbed all that Haye threw his way.

There was none of the mutual respect between these two that underwrites the boxer's code. Animosity spilled over into a flurry of spiteful exchanges after the bell at the end of the second. When a repeat occurred at the end of the third Chisora leant his shoulder aggressively into the chest of his opponent. Against the noise of the crowd the bell was never going to be heard.

Haye's strategy was premised on speed. Chisora welcomed the ambush, smiled as the punches rained down and then let loose with a brutally chaotic response.

It was vicious, nasty, stuff. It was boxing in the bear pit.

Successive right hands executed with surgical precision slammed into the face of Chisora at the start of the fifth. The end was being traced incrementally with Haye setting up his man for the fall. A left-right combination had Chisora on his back. The punches were thrown at warp speed. Chisora regained his feet gamely and went once more into the breach.

Haye was utterly dismissive, pushing Chisora back to make room for one last, definitive attack. One second from the end of the fifth, with Chisora stumbling back to his feet a second time, the referee called it off.