• Steve Bunce

No bans needed after Munich melee

Steve Bunce February 21, 2012

I was working alongside David Haye for BoxNation on Saturday; from 5pm (German time) until we came off air at about 1.15am, he never once said anything uncomplimentary or disrespectful about Dereck Chisora - or any of Chisora's people.

He talked non-stop about what Dereck had to do to win the fight, and then praised him when it was over. But apart from being the guy facing Vitali Klitschko (a battle the Brit lost on points after a fine performance), Chisora was completely off Haye's radar.

What Haye did instead was talk plenty about Vitali - and he did this not just on BoxNation, but also on RTL, the German broadcaster of the Klitschko bouts. He went on RTL at the channel's insistence, and was continually asked about fighting Vitali.

David kept saying the same thing: "I have agreed to fight, I have agreed the terms, and Vitali keeps moving the goalposts. I'm going to confront him and ask him why." For that reason, he was always going to go to the press conference - if he wasn't working for TV, he would have gone anyway.

In an ideal world Haye would not have been at the press conference, he would have been stopped and told, "David, you cannot come in." We don't live in an ideal world - we live in a hyped one.

David went to the press conference, and when people at the top table asked for him to be ejected, there was no security there to usher him out. And later, when tempers overheated, we had the flashpoint that's dominated headlines ever since.

Everybody seems to be asking, "Was it David's fault? Was it Dereck's fault?" - it's not as simple as that. I like the Klitschko boys and their management group, but they've got to shoulder some of the blame here as well - as does RTL.

RTL chose to use him, and at the press conference if you look at some of the things the Klitschkos manager Bernd Bonte said, then you see he went a bit over the top. He's got off lightly.

Haye instinctively threw a punch at Chisora because he was surprised to be confronted by a real threat. You can tell that because he didn't have time to put the bottle down that he was holding in his hand. If a man who's a fighter thinks there's going to be a problem, he gets ready: he changes his stance, he doesn't stand front on, and he doesn't hold anything like a bottle.

He didn't use the bottle as a weapon, he had the bottle in his hand like he was happy to drink out of it. The bottle was in the sort of position from which you'd take a swig.

The whole incident happened quickly: he didn't think Chisora would touch him; he didn't expect to respond by hitting him.

It's impossible to point a finger and find blame. Chisora was aggressive the way he walked over - but then Haye was there in the first place, so who's at fault? They're both equally culpable.

In terms of punishment, there should be fines - and no bans. The only thing that hurts anybody is cash, and both deserve to be hit hard. The British Boxing Board of Control needs to be sensible and say, "Dereck, you're lucky here mate, we'd like to give you a lifetime ban but we can't, so we want £25k."

I'd love to see Haye v Chisora at some point, but whether or not it'll take place, I'm not sure. If Haye fights a Klitschko, he's guaranteed around £2-3 million. Before Saturday night, if he fought Chisora he would have pocketed about £200k. Now it's different.

If there is a chance he can make the same amount of money from facing Chisora that he could against a Klitschko, then he'll face Chisora. It's a money thing, nothing personal.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Steve Bunce Close
Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.