Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title defence against Paulie Malignaggi will have been brimming with tension at Madison Square Garden in the early hours of this morning after the pre-fight weigh-in ended in chaos at a Manhattan hotel.
Champion Khan and New York challenger Malignaggi had both weighed in under the 140lb limit at the Essex House Hotel as a group of Khan's fans chanted for their man and booed the American. And when the two fighters went head to head for pictures, they touched heads and were seen arguing before they began pushing each other. No punches were thrown by the protagonists but chaos erupted as other people got involved and the stage filled with bodies.
Both fighters were pulled from the scene, Malignaggi having at one stage fallen from the stage, while Khan was pulled away by the Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker, Eric Gomez.
The boxers left through separate exits, Khan's camp departing without comment before a smaller entourage quit the hotel with Khan himself to attend a local mosque.
Malignaggi looked equally calm and collected as he exited with his entourage, and he told reporters that the fault for the incident lay with Khan's promoters, Golden Boy. "If Golden Boy had done it like they were supposed to, they told me closed to the public, but it was closed to the Paulie Malignaggi public, and there were a lot of Amir's people in there," he said. "They started over and all hell broke loose. He'll get it [in the ring]."
Golden Boy's chief operations officer, David Iskowitch, denied the allegations from the Malignaggi camp that the weigh-in had been promoted as a public event.
"I guess what has been said is that the weigh-in was open to the public but that is absolutely not the case," Iskowitch said. "I think the majority of people there, and I don't want to impugn anyone, but they were with Amir. Paulie had a big group of people with him, Amir had a big group of people with him. We never made an announcement that this was open to the public.
"I don't know exactly what happened. I couldn't see it and I'm not going to blame anyone. All I know is that if someone is blaming us for opening this to the public, the general public was not in there.
"Fighters' teams can sometimes bring in a crew of people, that's just the way these guys move around. They move around in packs and everyone wants to be together."Reuse content