THE surreal scene began a little after 10am as Derek Chisora and Joseph Parker shared a table, ordered breakfast, talked first about their kids and then how they plan to knock the other out when they fight on Saturday night.
“Can we get any service around here?” Chisora shouted as took off his long white dressing gown.
Parker ordered porridge when that service eventually arrived. Chisora asked for poached egg and avocado on toast.
“Actually, that’s what I’ll have,” said Parker.
“I can’t believe what I am seeing here,” said Buddy McGirt, Chisora’s trainer.
Spider-Man arrived before the food. He walked around the hotel restaurant for full effect before arriving at the table where Chisora and Parker sat. “Del Boy” grinned in delight. Parker, who pulled out of a 2019 fight with Chisora after being bitten by a spider, smiled awkwardly as the costumed figure straddled the table and sat between him and his opponent.
“F**k me, now I’ve seen it all,” said an amused McGirt as he turned his seat to face the fighters. “You could sell tickets right here and now for this.”
There was indeed something oddly engrossing about seeing the two heavyweight rivals have breakfast together. One wondered what on earth Parker, as laid back and friendly as heavyweights get, was thinking. Perhaps it was that omnipresent possibility that Chisora – notoriously unpredictable – could flip the table and go beserk at any moment that made the scene so alluring.
“That’s why I’m sitting over here,” chuckled McGirt. “These guys are engaging in psychological warfare right now.”
So who was Spider-Man? Team Chisora insist it was Chisora’s manager, David Haye. It absolutely wasn’t David Haye. This writer was sat metres away and unless Haye had shrunk significantly – and judging by Haye’s appearance later in the day, he hasn’t – it couldn’t possibly have been the former cruiser and heavyweight titlist.
Not everyone watched Chisora, Parker and Spider-Man chewing the fat over their smashed avocado, though.
At the back of the room, completely ignoring the commotion, sat Natasha Jonas, Joe Gallagher and Anthony Crolla. All three were transfixed by the laptop in front of Gallagher, Jonas’ trainer. Gallagher was offering advice to Jonas.
“What are you guys watching?” asked McGirt. “It must be a good movie.”
Judging by Gallagher’s movements and Jonas’ extreme concentration, it would be fair to assume they were dissecting a performance of Katie Taylor, Natasha’s opponent on Saturday night. Taylor, meanwhile, had left approximately an hour before, after having breakfast with Roy Jones Jnr.
Life in the bubble, this new normal that will soon just be a footnote in history, had never been so bizarre.