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Classless Chisora makes no sense

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Ben Dirs | 17:18 UK time, Friday, 17 February 2012

"Why are all British fighters such idiots?" said a German reporter, having just seen Dereck Chisora slap Vitali Klitschko round the face at the weigh-in for Saturday's fight in Munich. Only he didn't actually say "idiots". He said something much worse.

Having also witnessed the boorish behaviour of David Haye before his fight with Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg last summer - not to mention his legion of prematurely triumphalist fans - it was a fair question to ask.

The sight and sound of boxing journalists becoming outraged by what they deem the unacceptable behaviour of a fighter will no doubt cause much mirth among punters who view the sport with cynicism. After all, what's a little slap when you've heard Mike Tyson threaten to eat Lennox Lewis' kids?

Yet the righteous indignation was real enough: whether a British fighter, a British journalist or a British fan, we are all guests of Germany and Chisora's actions reflect as poorly on the sport as they do the country he represents.

Vitali Klitschko and Dereck Chisora

Chisora's unsavoury actions went down badly in Munich. Photo: Getty

Taking to the dais with a Union Flag scarf covering his face and wearing black leather gloves, Chisora, who challenges for Klitschko's WBC crown at Munich's Olympiahalle, looked like a man fresh from a spree of cat-burglary.

Not quite in Haye's league - will Britain's former heavyweight world champion ever be allowed to forget wearing that T-shirt showing him clutching Wladimir and Vitali's severed heads? - but still severely lacking in class.

Perhaps the most telling post-Slapgate comment came from Chisora's trainer Don Charles, who, when asked if his charge had been acting abnormally beforehand, replied: "As normal as he has been throughout the week."

For the 28-year-old Chisora is not normal in the normal sense. This is a man who plans to put a double-decker bus inside his house as a playroom for his children. He also collects antique parking meters. So far so cute.

Less cute is the fact he was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend in 2010, which drew a memorable rebuke from Wladimir (who Chisora was supposed to fight that same year): "Anyone who hits a woman is a loser. I punch back."

Anyone who has had any dealings with Chisora over the years will tell you he is a complicated character: engaging one minute, disinterested the next; motivated one minute, out of sorts the next. And complicated characters have a tendency to do complicated things. Like slap a big, hard man round the face the day before he is due to meet him in the ring. Complicated - and a little bit stupid.

"I think he's blown his only chance and that chance was hope," Haye's trainer Adam Booth told BBC Sport. "It was a cheap shot, of course Vitali's embarrassed by it and he will turn that into anger in the fight itself.

"The last thing you want to do is pick a fight with Vitali. There were rumours Vitali would carry him for a few rounds to make the most of advertising revenue but now he'll be thinking, 'never mind business, I'm chinning him'."

Both Klitschko brothers, their representatives, German media and German fight fans can be forgiven for wondering whatever happened to British manners. And while Chisora's behaviour will no doubt add a few quid to his coffers, I doubt very much too many Brits tuning in will want him to win.

If every era gets the heavyweight champions it deserves, then we could do a lot worse than multi-lingual doctors, politicians and humanitarian campaigners - and pretty formidable fighters, to boot. Classy guys made to look all the classier by the ill-advised actions of one Dereck Chisora.

"You always expect something from Dereck," said Francis Warren, representing his dad Frank's promotional company, "he's a character".

To quote The Wolf from Pulp Fiction: "Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character." Vitali, unbeaten in almost a decade and angry as hell itself, will give that theory a most thorough examination on Saturday night.

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