When Derek Chisora departed the scales ahead of this weekend’s clash with Joseph Parker one could sense problems might lie ahead.
The temperamental Londoner then lost a coin flip to decide who would walk out second on Saturday night and he promptly said there would be no fight.
He figures he’s the attraction.
For those who haven’t already visited, welcome to the crazy world of Derek Chisora.
Whether he was playing mind games, holding the promoters or TV station up for more money or whether he actually thinks walking second is important, we might never know. Was it simply brinkmanship? Who can tell?
But what his behavior did do was add to the list of transgressions he’s accumulated over the years.
We were led to believe that post-weigh-in for Parker he was packing his stuff and about to leave. He was adamant he was going to walk second or there’d be no fight on Saturday and Katie Taylor-Natasha Jonas would be the new nominal main event.
It’s always easy to look back and say things were different in the olden days, but can you imagine Gene Fullmer doing this? Or Rocky Graziano? Or Gene Tunney?
At some point the sport, in some perspectives, became as much about A and B sides as it did who was actually the better fighter and it’s not a good look.
After tomorrow night, no one will remember who walked in when but we will know what happened in the fight and who was the better man.
It’s a sorry state of affairs when a sporting contest comes down to ego in the worst way, not least because Parker, a former WBO heavyweight champion, won the coin toss to decide who would go and when.
It was more than 10 years ago when Chisora first acted out at a weigh-in when he kissed Sheffield heavyweight Carl Baker on the mouth.
A year earlier, he’d bitten Paul Butlin in a contest he won on points over eight rounds.
Then, an on-off fight with Wladimir Klitschko never happened but he did get to fight Wlad’s older brother, Vitali.
Chisora not only slapped Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in for their fight but he wound up spewing a mouthful of water in Wladimir’s face in the ring before the first bell would ring.
Then, after Dereck lost a good fight to Vitali on points, it all kicked off when Chisora and his current advisor David Haye had a bloody post-fight press conference brawl that saw Chisora’s then-trainer Don Charles lose teeth and Haye’s then trainer Adam Booth lose blood from a wound on his head.
The eccentricity wasn’t restricted to Chisora being outside the ring, either. Dereck could not only go missing in fights, but sometimes he wouldn’t show up altogether.
He fizzled against Tyson Fury in a rematch in 2014 for the European title and there were drab showings against Kubrat Pulev and Agit Kabayel in fights that were always going to be tough but in which he could have delivered more.
However, he’s also gone the other way and gone above and beyond in other bouts.
He’s had two Fight of the Year contenders with Dillian Whyte, losing a split decision in 2016 (before which Chisora launched a table at Whyte at the pre-fight press conference), and then getting bombed out in 11 in a 2018 rematch that hung in the balance before the brutal end came. That was preceded by another thriller, against Carlos Takam, that saw Chisora and the Frenchman in the trenches before Dereck won with a devastating knockout in round eight.
Throughout all this, however, Chisora’s role in the British public transformed. He went from villain, to anti-hero to actually some kind of malfunctional hero.
And he doesn’t live in a conventional fighter’s manner. He’s got a farm, with chickens, pigs, cows and horses, had a second-hand car dealership, he likes fine art and eats in swanky London hotels.
He’s boxed on shows for Frank Warren, Eddie Hearn, Kalle Sauerland and Mick Hennessy. He’s not only lost contact with old trainer Charles but he’s become close with old rival Haye. He’s also big friends with Tony Bellew and for this fight he’s hired Buddy McGirt to help him.
And McGirt seems as nonchalant as the man they call ‘Del Boy’. Buddy said this week that he’d not seen Chisora fight before they started working together recently and that he’d never seen Parker fight, aside from a few clips.
Dereck’s a dozen identities trapped in one heavyweight body and you never know which one you’ll get.
The only thing is that, really, after so many years of it all the unpredictable has become predictable. You know something’s going to happen, you just don’t know what.