Bunce on Boxing: My 2013 prediction... the biggest British fight ever (maybe)


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The Independent Online

It is hard to do justice to a preview with predictions for any boxing year because of the trickeration – a perfect word that was introduced by the sport's Lord of the Dark Arts, Don King – that drives and controls the business. The sport is not run illegally but one of King's maxims is necessary to gain an understanding of the way we do business: in boxing you don't get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate. Bingo.

1 They get knocked down but they most certainly get up again. Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao once shared a gym and trainer, and now they share a fondness for canvas. Manny was left sleeping in his last fight and Khan kept rolling about the canvas in his last real fight. They provide "don't blink TV"; or, "don't watch TV" if you are related to the pair. No bookie in his right mind would take a penny on the pair not being back on the canvas in 2013 and I would slip a few quid on the pair meeting at some point. That's a safe prediction.

2 The British Boxing Board of Control had a hit-and-miss year in 2012. It licensed one night involving more boxers than any other for 60 years, which was brilliant. However, it also acted like a delusional cabal of Victorian gentleman and turned away from the biggest fight of the year when it failed to negotiate a deal for the David Haye and Dereck Chisora showdown. Chisora spat at a fighter and the board refused to send officials to his fight – Floyd Mayweather went to prison for battering the mother of his children and board officials are queuing up for his next fight. That's our business.

3 Tyson Fury has delighted his followers on Twitter with endless, anatomically impossible assaults on his nemesis, David Price. Fury kept claiming that his "cousin" had grabbed his phone, but after about the 20th attack that excuse fell lame. In fairness to the big lad, the abuse he receives because of his Gypsy heritage is sickening. The two fighters are growing attractions and Fury's protective cup was recently sold at auction for a grand, honest. The auctioneer loved it: "Next item, Tyson Fury's cup, two previous owners, both nuts." Anyway, Fury against Price will be the biggest fight to ever take place in a British ring and their people are talking now and trading insults. That's a fact, not a prediction.

4 There will be no sensational comebacks like Ricky Hatton made last year. Joe Calzaghe and Lennox Lewis are linked to lucrative returns every year. They will both remain on the sidelines growing older and more like statesmen with each refusal. Audley Harrison, who has technically never been away, will fight again and it seems that only Big Aud and I know why. He fights because he still believes he can win something, because he is proud and because the money from the BBC a decade ago must be running low. This will be his last year and we will miss him. He will also go into the jungle later this year.

5 And so we come to David Haye and his end-of-exile plans. He did the jungle thing, released a fitness DVD of him and some semi-nude fighters, put out a game as an app and all the time he has been ticking over in his Vauxhall gym. A Lebanese playboy called Manny Charr, who recently lost to Vitali Klitschko in a farcical title fight, has just challenged Haye to a duel. It would have to be pistols at dawn because Haye would be nicked for assault if he ever got in a boxing ring with Charr. However, Haye against Vitali Klitschko will happen in 2013 and Haye will win. Then he can do Strictly before Christmas and this time next year I can predict that he will fight either Price or Fury in the fight of 2014. It's all so, so simple and, trust me, the negotiations for all of these heavyweight fights have started and in boxing currency that is tantamount to a done deal!