Many moons ago, some time before I got this job hammering out tangentially-introduced columns of nonsense, I used to work as an usher in a theatre. My brief, in brief, was to stand at the back of the stalls watching whatever touring production was passing through that evening, making sure that nobody in the audience got too rowdy, too obnoxiously conversational, or, heaven forbid, tried to sneakily film any footage from a feloniously unholstered smartphone.
At times, and especially on nights involving Motown-related sing-a-long shows, it was kind of like babysitting a throng of prosecco-drunk toddlers with nothing but a torch and an ill-fitting waistcoat to help cultivate the illusion of authority.
Anyways, my stint as an innocent bystander to the world of thespianism means that I have seen a lot of musicals. Like, a lot. In fact, I’d wager that there is barely a show doing the rounds at this present moment in time that I haven’t watched all the way through.
I’ve seen tragedies. I’ve seen comedies. I’ve seen tragicomedies. I’ve even seen John Barrowman and The Krankies peform Dick Whittington 17 times in a month during panto season. And if there’s one thing I have learnt from all those hours of standing at the back of auditoriums, it’s that farce really doesn’t require multiple viewings.
Tyson Fury will fight Derek Chisora in early December to complete a trilogy of bouts; the conclusion of which nobody has asked for, nobody really wants, and nobody particularly cares about. After talks over a potential era-defining showdown against Anthony Joshua collapsed with soap opera panache earlier this month, Fury vs Chisora III has distinct “We’ve got a Battle of Britain at home” vibes.
The disparity between the two heavyweights is almost irrevocably vast at this stage in their storied careers. Fury continues to flirt with the notion of permanently retiring as one of the greatest of all time; an undefeated obelisk of incomprehensible might and cunning - crafted, honed, and sculpted by a free-wheeling charisma that harks back to the verbose whirlwind prizefighters of yesteryear.
Chisora, by contrast, has been beaten by the Gypsy King twice before (in 2011 and then again in 2014), currently boasts a record of 33-12, and is not ranked in the respective top 10 of any governing body. From Fury’s perspective, like Van Helsing hunting a vampiric Danny DeVito, the stakes are low.
Ever the showman, however, the lineal champion has already started stoking the coals of his great whirring, smoke-belching hype machine. In his view, or at least in the one he espouses to the public, Chisora is “every bit as dangerous” as Ukrainian champion Oleksandr Usyk - a man with whom Fury is seemingly on a collision course in the relatively near future.
If the Gypsy King is the circus ringmaster of the modern heavyweight division, his advocacy for Chisora is a bit like shaving a bear and calling it a pig-faced lady.
Of course, December’s bout will likely represent little more than a stop-gap for Fury. Having already pencilled in a spectacle this winter, it would be unbecoming for a man of his instincts to renege on such a promise, and if the champ does indeed go on to unify the division with a glittering confrontation against Usyk, a trilogy of victories over Chisora will come to be regarded as the distraction that it truly is.
What is galling, however, is that the whole affair will be treated with the faux melodrama and seething pomposity of a much more significant contest. If the marketing men - as and when they begin to awaken from their brylcreemed slumbers - are to be believed, this will be the fight to end all fights, the culmination of a fated cosmic destiny that has been written since the dawn of time itself.
There will be brooding vignettes shot in agonising slow motion. There will be big talk from big egos about big nothings. There will be more errant and rote insults uttered than any one person can conceivably absorb.
But ultimately, it will all be farcical. And take it from me, a man who has seen John Barrowman and The Krankies perform in a pantomime on 17 separate occasions, farce really doesn’t require multiple viewings.