Sport

Chisora, Haye turn boxing ugly

David Haye at the Klitschko - Chisora press conference.
David Haye at the Klitschko - Chisora press conference. Getty Images Sport - Bongarts

TWO hours before I left for Munich last Friday, Dereck Chisora slapped Vitali Klitschko. Thirty minutes before I returned yesterday, he was detained by the German police to answer questions about a brawl involving David Haye. He was later released without charge.

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In between the slap and the brawl a proper fight broke out and Klitschko retained his WBC heavyweight title after a fabulous 12-round contest: it was the hardest fight Klitschko has had in eight years but understandably nobody will be talking about the boxing match.

Chisora is likely to be fined by the WBC for Friday's slap. The British Boxing Board of Control will convene a meeting to discuss his role in what happened at the post-fight press conference. It has to be said that fighters who use their fists often receive hefty or even life-time bans and the severity of the shocking scenes that played out during about 20 seconds of violence is likely to end with equally severe reprimands. The fact that so much of the incident is available online will not help either Chisora or Haye avoid censure but hopefully sense will prevail.

It is understood that Haye, who lost his world heavyweight title to Vitali's younger brother, Wladimir, last year does not currently hold a licence from the British governing body. However, if he decided to end his retirement he would under no circumstance fair any better than the volatile Chisora and would not be able to get a licence anywhere else in the world.

Haye was in Germany as part of the BoxNation broadcast team alongside me, but decided to attend the post-fight press conference on his own, having spoken to several members of the German television outfit RTL.

Haye recently agreed to end his brief exile and a contract for a fight against Vitali is ready for the final touches from the lawyers. However, he is convinced that the older of the two boxing brothers is trying to get out of fighting him, and with that in mind Haye went to the conference for a bit of banter and abuse.

There is a valid argument for him being excluded from the room out of respect to the two fighters who had just entertained the capacity crowd of 13,000. Perhaps, rather controversially, his passage was not barred and he heckled and heckled, which is standard to be honest, from a lonesome position at the back. It was not Haye's fault that he attended a conference where he would get a lot of publicity for a potential stadium fight in the summer. It was, and I am not ashamed to say it, good business.

Chisora often replied to Haye's shouts and it was personal but not particularly nasty. However, Chisora eventually stood up, left the top table and walked towards Haye, holding a microphone in his hand. It was at this crucial point that press-conference protocol for heavyweights fell down, when nobody in a security shirt appeared to step in front of the two fighters and restrict the confrontation to taunts, promises and threats. Blaming the lack of security is not a valid excuse for what happened but, drawing on my near 30 years of attending press conferences, it is rare to see so few security precautions at an event involving so many highly-strung and emotional fighters.

They came face to face, it was heavily filmed and most of what was said was heard perfectly. Chisora promised to slap Haye twice, hands were raised and voices blurred as it all went horribly wrong. There are also shocking pictures of both boxers holding bottles as the aggro started and as it ended, but lurid claims that Haye had "glassed" Chisora are false. They were simply dehydrated, nothing sinister, and that is why they had bottles in their hands.

Haye threw a punch, the pair fell into each other and covered about six metres as others were sucked into the centre of the violence. Don Charles, who trains Chisora, and Adam Booth, who trains Haye, became involved and found themselves entering at that point when a street fight explodes and makes it impossible to tell who is trying to stop it and who is trying to add to it. Booth and Charles were trying to get their arms on their fighters to stop it, but, as other anonymous arms and legs were added to the vicious mix, a tripod crashed across Booth's brow and the blood flowed. Charles was also detained by the German police at the airport yesterday.

It ended as suddenly as it had started and Haye left the building to jump in a people carrier and vanish into the night, which was the one sensible act by either of the two boxers all evening.

Booth's gash was superficial and he was soon able to join Haye in a trip to the airport, where they were booked onto the first flight out of Munich at seven in the morning.

It was after Haye had left that Chisora made some silly statements about shooting people - it is thought to be his words, rather than his fists, that led to the German police finally detaining him at the airport as he checked in for his flight just before 11am yesterday.

Chisora has a history of making crazy remarks, some of which are very funny, but he got it wrong in Munich with his sad gangster talk. But that is what it was: talk. Several members of Chisora's entourage were allowed to travel but they received a rather dramatic police escort to their seats.

Meanwhile, the German police knocked on my hotel door at just after four in the morning, to ask me if I knew where Haye and Booth had gone, which was a bit awkward. They left when they realised that the pair were not hiding in my shower.

Haye and Booth managed to get their plane without any hassle but it is thought that Haye will have to answer some questions at some point in the very near future. He can rest assured that when the police have finished with him he will receive an off-the-record grilling from the British Boxing Board of Control in what could be the most important meeting of his life.

Chisora will also have to face the inevitable questions from the Board about his behaviour, and suffer, with something like grace, whatever fine they choose to impose. It was not a great night. But two bans will not suddenly make the ugliness of the night disappear.



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