Alan Hubbard

Back in his seventies heyday the charismatic American tennis champion Jimmy Connors memorably mused of Wimbledon: "You could stick rackets in the hands of two orang-utans and you would still sell out the Centre Court on finals day." True.

The great British public willingly pay fortunes to watch any old rubbish because it is the event, not the contest which matters. Just being there is paramount.

The same can be said of watching Tyson Fury. The unbeaten man mountain heavyweight from hell defends his World Boxing Council world heavyweight title against fellow Brit Derek Chisora on Saturday (December 3).

Yes, the popular old warhorse twice comprehensively beaten by Fury eleven and six years ago respectively. Forget deja vu. More like deja who?

You would have thought that rather than this third act of a trifling trilogy someone of greater current stature would be in the opposite corner, such as Anthony Joshua, Oleksandr Usyk or Joe Joyce, all of whom have stood on the Olympic podium, looked more logical and certainly more likely. But all cited other engagements.

So in comes boxing’s ready, willing and always available Del Boy for a third bash at the so far indefatigable Gypsy Giant.

A game old bird is the Zimbabwe-born Chisora. He may have lost half his last 15 contests but he is fearless if cumbersome, though surely no match for the 33-year old larger than life father of six. No match?

Well, almost a mismatch with Fury at his peak sensationally dethroning first Wladimir Klitschko and then Deontay Wilder, both phenomenal punchers, whereas at 38 Chisora is way past his best.

He may have fought most of the division’s top men but he’s lost, albeit sometimes gloriously, to them all - Fury (twice), Vitali Klitschko, Usyk, Joseph Parker (twice), Whyte (twice) and David Haye.

Tyson Fury is set to take on Derek Chisora for the WBC world heavyweight championship in London next month ©Getty Images
Tyson Fury is set to take on Derek Chisora for the WBC world heavyweight championship in London next month ©Getty Images

Such is the drawing power of Fury that a crowd of 92,000 paid a total of £13 million ($15.5 million/€15 million), a record for British boxing, to watch him brutally dispose of Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium in April.

Then the springlike weather was clement. But by Saturday we will be into wintry December.

Of course it could be a balmy evening, but the odds are that it will be damp and rather chilly, perhaps even with snowflake or two.

Frank Warren, the prolific promoter instrumental in resurrecting Fury’s career took a huge risk with the weather and quality opposition for his man.

But to everyone’s surprise, not least his own, 62,000 tickets were sold within days of it being announced with those at ringside priced at £1,000 ($1,190/€1,150) the first to go.

Crowds follow the Pied Piper of pugilism wherever he goes, They know he is a born showman (and unabashed show-off) who will entertain with his fists and afterwards shower them with banter and burst into song (though Pavarotti he is not).

Fury always manages to create Saturday night fervour whenever and wherever he pulls on his golden gloves.

As Warren says: "Since he went to America and beat Wilder he has transcended boxing." Just like Muhammad Ali.

Indeed Fury is now the sport’s most visible, voluble and valuable heavyweight champion since Ali strutted his stuff.

It does not matter who opposes him, whether it is Derek Chisora or Derek Trotter. Del Boy’s role is that of the straight man to the star of the show.

Maybe next year, Fury will face the strangely reluctant AJ or, better still, have a blockbuster unification bout with multi-belt holder Usyk, once the smooth operating Ukrainian that has helped see off Vlad the Invader from his courageous country.

Our columnist argues that Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Usyk may be clever and cute enough to defeat Fury ©Getty Images
Our columnist argues that Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Usyk may be clever and cute enough to defeat Fury ©Getty Images

I believe Usyk, despite the vast difference in size and weight, may be the one man cute and clever enough to beat Fury.

My fear about the upcoming fight is that. Fury and Chisora are such great mates outside the ropes that it could turn out to be more of an exhibition contest with pat- cake punches and apologetic embraces.

Interestingly and perhaps refreshingly there has been no pre-fight hostility or badmouthing each other.

To the contrary it has in fact been disquietingly palsy-walsy.

Let‘s hope that professional pride will prevail and they will attempt to belt bits off each other in a BT Box Office bonanza.

The oddest things can happen in heavyweight boxing (remember another Tyson-Iron Mike - and Buster Douglas?)

It is unthinkable that such an upset could topple Fury but if he loses to Chisora his next public appearance would not be in London, Las Vegas or a loadsamoney desert sheikhdom, but appearing in a Christmas panto at the Winter Gardens Theatre in hometown Morecambe, typecast as the genial giant in Jack and The Beanstalk.

Instead of proclaiming, as he does, “I am the best heavywejght of all time” it will be “Fe Fi Fo Fum!“

Either way. Boxing’s biggest draw in every sense should soon be smelling the blood of an Englishman.