David Haye and Derek Chisora should be ashamed of themselves. They should realise that they have let down fellow boxers and fans alike.
Boxing is a disciplined sport. It is an exercise in self-control, and the best boxers have always been those who let their fists do the talking inside the ring. Because of the negative comments which will always follow fighting-based sports, true professionals are required to show the public that healthy aggression in boxing can be entertaining and fascinating. Brawls at post-match press conferences are definitely not the right way to highlight the competitors’ physical prowess. It is expected in boxing that the opponents will have some aggression, some raw energy and a desire to win. But this is needed inside the ring, not out.
By hurling petty insults at each other and scrapping, Haye and Chisora have proved that the only ring they should be in is the ring-of-roses in the playground. Being a boxer (or indeed, an athlete in any sport) involves representing the profession in a grown-up manner, something these two have shown they are not capable of.
Questions have been raised as to whose conduct was more shameful: Haye the provoker, or Chisora the rowdy. The slap Chisora gave to opponent Kitschko at the pre-match weigh in a day earlier now seems irrelevant, but it was the first in a run of bad form for the Brit. After slapping Vitali, Chisora spat water in the other Kitschko brother Wladimir’s face. Both actions were unwise, but even worse was the temper of Chisora as he let himself be provoked by Haye’s outburst.
Haye showed his petty ego off before any punch was thrown when he taunted Chisora in the middle of the press conference, shouting “you’re a loser” several times. This kind of antagonising behaviour is not sportsman-like, and makes boxing look like a name-calling competition. Chisora’s outburst after the brawl was even worse. He shouted various threats to Haye including “I am going to shoot you. I am going to physically shoot David Haye” and “I am telling you the God's honest truth, I am going to physically burn him.” These threats will probably turn out to be the tipping point when the decision over Chisora’s punishment is made.
The verbal insults are as bad, in my opinion, as the physical fighting. Boxing has long been a sport which has prided itself on being a disciplined way of positively channelling aggression. Young people who take up boxing need role models who are professional and who promote self-control and athleticism.
If Haye and Chisora are not properly punished for their immature behaviour, the name of boxing will be dragged through the metaphorical mud, and more boxers will be encouraged to step out of the ring and into the playground.