Thursday 23, February 2012
Chisora-Haye brawl: What is the damage to boxing?
SINCE the Chisora-Haye incident in Munich at the weekend the press has been saturated with reports generally condemning the two boxers, writes Elliot Millward.
In the run-up to his fight with Vitali Klitschko, Dereck
Chisora had embarrassed himself and British boxing with his antics. The slapping of his opponent at the weigh-in and spitting water in Wladimir
Klitschko’s face attracted the wrong kind of headlines.
But, contrary to most people's predictions, Chisora put on a good performance in the ring, taking Vitali the distance before losing on points. This brave display could in part have made up for his pre-fight behaviour but, sadly, this was not to be.
In the post-fight press conference David Haye, in Munich
working for Sky Sports' BoxNation, began trading ‘banter’ with the Klitschko’s manager Bernard
Bonte about a possible fight between himself and Vitali. It was then suggested
that Haye should fight Chisora. Things soon turned sour.
After insults were exchanged between Haye and Chisora, the latter climbed down off the press table and walked up to his domestic rival, entourage in
tow. Haye threw a punch and a fracas erupted, causing carnage in the press room
and leaving Haye’s manager Adam Booth with a head wound.
The Klitschkos and the boxing public must believe that British boxers are classless, first Chisora’s pre-fight shenanigans and then a post-fight brawl. Damage has been done to British boxing by the two men behaving in such a manner. Yet there is no doubt that this is nothing new to boxing.
Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis were involved in a press conference fracas before their 2002 clash. Trevor Berbick and Larry Holmes exchanged insults after their 1991 heavyweight fight, which resulted in Holmes jumping off a car and drop-kicking Berbick. Two other heavyweights brawled in 1994 when Herbie Hide and Michael Bentt scrapped outside a London hotel before their WBO world title fight.
While episodes such as the Chisora-Haye one are not new
to boxing, that does not diminish the embarrassment and damage that such a
high-profile incident does to the sport. Both men should be duly punished in
whatever ways possible and then boxing can move on. Once this happens
boxing can get back to being what it truly is, ‘the noble art’.
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