Boxing: Khan loses the limelight as bully boys steal the show

Briton is upset that his world title fight is set to be eclipsed by an unlicensed brawl between Haye and Chisora – and a feud which has brought the fight game close to anarchy

Amir Khan has good reason to be mightily miffed that his attempt to regain his stature as a world boxing champion in Las Vegas next weekend is being eclipsed by a pirate punch-up back home between two scuffling bruisers who, if their affray in Munich five months ago had occurred in the street rather than the Olympiahalle, might have earned themselves a stretch in a German jail.

On the same night as Khan fights, Dereck Chisora and David Haye, neither currently licensed by the British Boxing Board of Control, to whom they have cocked the proverbial snook, will pocket a combined purse of around £5 million at West Ham's Upton Park to engage in contentious heavyweight combat under the surrogate auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Commission. Funny old game.

But if Khan clearly isn't amused that his own engagement with the unbeaten WBC light-welterweight champion, Danny Garcia, is being marginalised, he stops short of saying the Hammers horror show should be exorcised – his view tempered, no doubt, by the fact that Haye is his best pal in boxing.

"Obviously I'm not happy with the situation," says Khan. "As professional boxers they are entitled to earn a living but the world knows that this one between me and Garcia is a bigger and better fight in real terms, a genuine world title fight. It's certainly more classy.

"I can understand the public interest in the other fight, though it is disappointing. I suppose it's better to have someone like Chisora fighting inside the ring rather than on the street. He needs shutting up and throwing out. I think David will do just that. He'll walk straight through Chisora and win easily.

"I certainly don't condone what either of them did. There is no way I would ever get involved with anything like that. I am the type of guy who walks away from trouble."

The contrast between the fight at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and the one a few hundred yards from London's Olympic Stadium could not be more stark. In Vegas, Khan faces a Golden Boy stablemate who is undefeated in 23 contests. The WBA title is also on the line after it was forfeited by Garcia's fellow Philadelphian Lamont Peterson, who failed a drugs test before a scheduled return having debatably beaten Khan on a split decision last December.

At West Ham, Chisora and Haye also brawl over the championship distance of 12 rounds, though the only title at stake is a token label affixed by the compliant WBO and WBA for the "International Heavyweight Championship". It is a confrontation that has pitched the sport close to anarchy, undermining the Board of Control, but one that is likely to pull in a capacity 38,000 crowd paying up to £1,000 ringside.

"What worries me," says Khan, "is that all this comes at a bad time for boxing with an increasing number of dodgy decisions, great fights the public want to see not happening and now a drugs situation that is getting serious. Boxing's reputation for drugs is getting as bad as athletics and cycling."

Ironically our chat with Khan at his Los Angeles apartment had been delayed when the drugs testers called, demanding his second test leading up to the fight. There will be another before it. "I don't mind that," Khan says. "There should be more random testing. Unfortunately there are now a lot of cheats in boxing with so many fighters getting caught out. People always used to point the finger at me because of me being in the Manny Pacquiao camp after what Floyd Mayweather alleged about him, but this wasn't true.

"I have been a clean fighter from day one. I have never taken drugs and never will. When I won my world title and then started moving up a weight, people said, 'Oh, he must be on something'. I believe every boxer should be randomly tested because after what happened with Peterson, I will never trust anyone I fight. You should never need help from anything other than your natural talent."

Garcia, of Puerto Rican descent, is 24, a year younger than Khan. "He's tough, young and fast," Khan acknowledges. "Any undefeated fighter is dangerous and he'll be full of confidence. It'll be a great fight, two young guys coming at each other. I hope it's the sort of fight that will bring excitement back to the sport."

My worry is that Khan's uncharacteristically ill-disciplined performance against Peterson suggested he may have been sidetracked by commercial and other commitments in his life, and that we may have seen the best of him.

I hope I am wrong, because the battered sport needs role models and he has been a standard-bearer for multicultural Britain since winning the Olympic silver medal in Athens at the age of 17. "I want to be seen as a positive face, someone kids can look up to," he says.

The same can hardly be said for the score-settling merchants of menace who will be first up in Saturday night's transatlantic TV double- header. This could be a brutally unremitting battle or a bore war. Either way, it won't be pretty.

The clue may be in the Klitschkos. I suspect we may see a repeat of Haye's pussyfooting and back-pedalling that he used against Wladimir, whereas at least Chisora had a go, if fruitlessly, against Vitali, giving the WBC champion his most arduous outing since Lennox Lewis.

Chisora may be mad, bad and dangerous to know but he has a good chin and a bigger heart than Haye, though a less hurtful punch. "I'm going to be all over him like a rash," he warns.

Chisora will chase and chivvy, with Haye's stamina suspect should it go to the later rounds. But Haye, who is 3-1 on with the bookies, is technically better equipped.

When push comes to shove – and there will be plenty of that – Haye should win on points. But exactly what point will be made when dusk descends on Upton Park is open to question.

Chisora v Haye is live on BoxNation on Saturday at 10pm (Sky channel 437/Virgin 546). Join at boxnation.com. Garcia v Khan is live on Sky Sports 1 (Sunday, 2am)

Haye v Chisora – the ring rebels

David Haye

31, aka "The Hayemaker". Born in Bermondsey, London; 27 fights, 25 wins, 23 by knockout

Former WBA heavyweight champion and undisputed world cruiserweight champion. Retired after one-sided defeat by Wladimir Klitschko last year so is now unlicensed by British Boxing Board of Control. Appeared to instigate Munich mayhem, flooring Chisora while holding a bottle.

Dereck Chisora

28, aka "Del Boy". Born in Zimbabwe; 18 fights, 15 wins, 9 by knockout

Former British heavyweight champion. Slapped Vitali Klitschko and spat water at Wladimir in Munich, after which his licence was suspended indefinitely. Previously banned after biting an opponent "because I was bored".

Frank Warren

60. Born in Islington, London

Britain's leading promoter and manager of Chisora. Major shareholder in TV channel BoxNation, officially the fight promoters. Found legal loophole for the bout to go ahead under foreign licensing authority: "I can look anybody in the eye as far as this fight is concerned."

Bruce Baker

64. Born in London

Chairman of the Professional Boxing Promoters' Association and UK representative of Fédération de Luxembourgeoise de Boxe, who sanction the fight. They nominated British referee Mickey Vann, judges John Coyle and Paul Thomas (both UK) and Luc Muller (Luxembourg) and are taking legal action against the BBBC under EU restraint of trade laws over threats to discipline those involved with the promotion.

Alan Hubbard

Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
sport Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sport LIVEFollow the latest news and scores from today's Premier League as Liverpool make a blistering start against Norwich
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLESir Cliff Richard has used a candid appearance on an Australian talk show to address long-running speculation about his sexuality

Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
News
The speeding train nearly hit this US politican during a lecture on rail safety
news As the saying goes, you have to practice what you preach
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit