Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Punchen in Munchen' Was No Worse Than a Wedding Bust-Up

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

'Punchen in Munchen' Was No Worse Than a Wedding Bust-Up

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

[bar] HE noble sport of boxing, my friends, is not a tickling contest.

t. I know you know that.

But it's worth repeating in a week dominated by a story that may be summed up in three words: Boxers Have Fight.

I am referring, of course, to the scrap in Munich last Saturday night between Dereck Chisora and David Haye: an impromptu and exciting addition to the bill in which Chisora also, rather less thrillingly, fought Vitali Klitschko.

The Chisora-Haye pagga (aka the Punchen In Munchen) was short but quite violent and very entertaining.

At the time of writing, three million people -- a very healthy audience for any boxing broadcast these days -- have watched it on YouTube and have enjoyed (or enjoyed being offended by) five minutes or so of top-class ultra-violence, in which two of the best British heavyweights go at it WWE style, with fists, glass bottles and a camera tripod.

Since Saturday, there have been howls of protest from across the sporting world. Haye and Chisora have been said to have brought their sport (rather than just themselves) into disrepute; there have been calls for both men to be banned from boxing for long periods, possibly life; and various sissies and blowhards have suggested that one or other of the boxers should be jailed for up to 10 years.

What rot. Yes, it is obvious that neither Chisora nor Haye covered themselves in glory on Saturday. Yes, we would all accept that in an ideal world, people giving press conferences shouldn't fight the journalists. (It is this rule that keeps Sir Alex Ferguson alive.) But the Haye-Chisora hullabaloo was little more than the sort of thing that routinely ruins weddings.

Saturday was embarrassing, sure. But beyond the shock of seeing a beatdown outside the ring, instead of inside it, there was nothing much more to it than the pent-up frustration of two men who have both failed to break the grip exerted on heavyweight boxing by the charming-but-dull Klitschko brothers.

The post-fight fight in Munich was simply a well-captured moment in the seething pantomime that accompanies the sport of boxing. It was not an abomination, or a watershed moment. …

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