The war of words between Amir Khan and Paulie Malignaggi descended into chaos at the weigh-in yesterday ahead of their WBA light-welterweight title fight at Madison Square Garden.
Champion Khan and New York challenger Malignaggi had weighed in amid noisy scenes as a group of the Englishman's fans chanted their hero's name 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 others became involved and the stage filled with people.
Both fighters were pulled from the scene, leaving through separate exits, Khan's camp leaving without comment amid fears the bout could be scrapped.
Malignaggi's promoter Lou DiBella was furious at the incident and stormed around the room at the Essex House hotel in Manhattan.
“This is amateur,” DiBella screamed. “The public was not supposed to be here. One more thing like this and I'm pulling (Malignaggi) out of the fight. My guy got roughed up by his people. Some gentleman. Go back to England.”
Malignaggi weighted in at 139lb, with Khan just half an ounce heavier.
Khan is set to defend his title in the early hours of tomorrow morning having already said he wanted to make Malignaggi pay for his accusations of doping in trainer Freddie Roach's camp. Khan, 23, is set for his American debut in New York against Brooklyn's former IBF world champion and there had already been a furious war of words conducted during the course of the big-fight build-up.
Khan said he felt the trash-talking Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KOs) had crossed a line when he questioned Wild Card Gym stable-mate Manny Pacquiao's reluctance to agree to blood testing ahead of any potential fight with Floyd Mayweather.
“He was saying I was on drugs as well and how big I had gone but working with Alex Ariza (Roach's fitness and nutrition expert) and looking at how my body's changed, to be honest I've gone a lot slimmer,” Khan said. “I was a big, big lightweight and I've trimmed down and made my legs bigger. What people like Paulie Malignaggi don't realise is the work ethic and the training that me and Manny put into our work.”