If the sport of boxing is to retain a shred of credibility and integrity after the shameful scenes in Munich at the weekend, before and after the heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Vitali Klitschko and challenger Dereck 'Del Boy' Chisora, Dereck Chisora must be given a lifetime ban.
In the hours since these ugly scenes took place, various high profile voices within the sport have attempted to mitigate Chisora's thuggish behaviour by attempting to place equal blame on David Haye and even the Klitschkos. Such attempts should be recognised for what they are - a concerted effort to see the damage done glossed over in the interests of a future match-up between both fighters in the ring and the huge revenue it will be guaranteed to generate.
Money talks in every professional sport, but perhaps none more so than boxing. However, there comes a point where money is not enough to salvage a sport which over the past few years has found itself increasingly marginalised due to the manner in which greed has supplanted integrity, moving it perilously close to resembling a freak show.
Over one weekend, Chisora disgraced not only himself but also boxing and everyone involved in a sport that has long divided both informed and uninformed opinion. Slapping Vitali Klitschko at the weigh in while wearing a silly Union Jack bandanna over his face was disgraceful, instantly introducing an ugly element into proceedings. Worse came when he spat water into the face of Wladimir Klitschko in the ring during the pre fight introductions. The restraint shown by both Klitschko brothers in the face of such thuggish behaviour was commendable, the one bright spot in the dark cloud that had descended over the fight by this point.
No one can dispute that Chisora's subsequent performance over 12 rounds was outstanding. He came to fight and fight he most certainly did. But a game performance in the ring is not enough to mitigate his actions outside the ring. These men are ambassadors and role models in a sport that comes in for criticism from wider society more than any other. Chisora's antics and thuggery prior to the fight had already succeeded in adding grist to the mill of the old argument that boxing is not a sport but instead organised barbarity disguised as one.
However, his subsequent behaviour at the post fight press conference went way beyond bad behaviour to outright criminality. Yes, David Haye was attempting to hijack proceedings. But this is the norm in the fight game, where fighters turn up at the fights and press conferences of other fighters to hype themselves in public. Ali was the prime example, leading the way in creating interest and publicity in the sport. Chisora began goading Haye from the platform as Haye was calling out Vitali Klitschko. When Haye responded to Chisora , calling him a loser after Chisora had called him an embarrassment and promised to slap him, Chisora proceeded to get out of his chair and walk the length of the room to go face to face. Here the security has to take responsibility for failing to intervene and stop Chisora reaching Haye. But when he did get up close to the former world champion what happened next was inevitable.
As if the melee that followed wasn't bad enough, Chisora threatening to "shoot" and "physically burn" Haye afterwards proved beyond doubt that this is a man out of control who doesn't belong in a boxing ring but in a psychiatrist's chair.
Boxing is the sport closest to man's primitive impulses and nature. As such it is crucial that it is not allowed to become a platform for the glorification of gangsta-type behaviour and street thuggery. Boxers at championship level are role models and can and do influence the behaviour of kids, which means they have a responsibility to behave in the right way, especially in public.
Chisora has form when it comes to this kind of thing. Back in 2010 he was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend, and he has prior convictions for public order offences and possession of an offensive weapon.
If the noble art is to retain its nobility it cannot afford to tolerate the savagery witnessed last weekend in Germany both before and after a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world.
This is why Dereck 'Del Boy' Chisora must be banned for life.Suggest a correction