At the press conference to announce their April 27 rematch, Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall seemed ready to throw down then and there. As they faced off on the stage, Taylor jabbed Catterall in the chest, Catterall grabbed Taylor by the throat, security pulled them apart, and Catterall tried to take one more pop at his rival before the two were ushered away. A week or so earlier, Ryan Garcia and Devin Haney, who have signed to face off one week before Taylor and Catterall, got into a slanging and shoving match in Las Vegas as a small crowd gathered.

Both confrontations generated plenty of views and commentary, which of course prompted at least some to wonder whether the confrontations were completely staged. In truth, however, they rarely if ever are. Boxing certainly has had its fair share of wind-up merchants, who will say or do almost anything in the build-up to a fight, both to boost publicity but more importantly to get into the heads of their opponents – Ricardo Mayorga, the famously foul-mouthed Nicaraguan who did everything he could to rile up opponents like Oscar De La Hoya, Cory Spinks and Vernon Forrest, is probably the most practiced recent example. But while promoters are more than happy to see foul-mouthed tirades between rivals in the build-up to a fight, there is a reason they invest in beefy security to split boxers apart when it looks like they’re itching to throw hands in advance of fight night – it’s too damn risky. Pre-fight publicity = good. Boxers getting cut or hurt in a melee, causing a fight to be postponed or even canceled = bad.

Additionally, as the promoter Lou DiBella told me a few years back, such shenanigans “reinforce the opinion that we're the red-light district of sports. Why would we want to reinforce that? It's one of our biggest problems.”

Sometimes, though, the blood just boils over between two men who genuinely hate each other yet who are repeatedly asked to pose for photos within inches of each other’s faces. That’s what happened when Marco Antonio Barrera clocked Erik Morales, for example, and when Fernando Vargas unleashed years of pent-up rage when he lunged at De La Hoya, or when Amir Khan threw a glass of water over a goading Phil Le Greco. 

And much as it might make promoters and insurers wince, let’s be honest – fans love it. Now, thanks to the permanent marker that is the Internet, they can watch pre-fight brawls with as much regularity as the fights themselves. Here is a handful of the most notable.

Larry Holmes leaps off a car to attack Trevor Berbick

Okay, this wasn’t a pre-fight brawl. It was a post-fight brawl – one that came 10 years after the official fight itself. Holmes had outpointed Berbick in 1981, but 10 years later, after Holmes had come out of retirement to destroy Tim Anderson inside a round, Berbick disrupted the post-fight press conference and started telling media members that Holmes was responsible for the break-up of his marriage. Holmes went looking for Berbick outside of Hollywood’s Diplomat Hotel, where the fight had taken place, and a ruckus ensued, culminating in Holmes leaping off a car to kick Berbick and renew hostilities until police separated them.

Dereck Chisora claims Derek Haye “glassed” him

Dereck Chisora and Vitali Klitschko were going through the formalities of a post-fight press conference following Klitschko’s win over Chisora in Munich in 2012 when David Haye started shouting at the Ukrainian and his manager from the crowd, demanding a title shot. Chisora chimed in, prompting a back-and-forth between the two until Chisora stood up from his seat and marched toward his tormentor. Haye, who was clutching a bottle of lemonade in his right hand, threw a punch as Chisora descended on him, sparking an all-out brawl as a furious Chisora screamed that Haye had “glassed” him. Inevitably, the contretemps sparked clucks of disapproval; just as inevitably, it led to a fight between the two, at Upton Park in London that July, which Haye won via fifth-round knockout.

Bernard Hopkins nearly causes a riot in Puerto Rico

Hopkins was the master of pre-fight mind games, but one stunt put his life – and that of others – at genuine risk. Outside of him scoring a famous victory, his 2001 bout with Felix Trinidad in New York is now best remembered for its postponement as a result of 9/11 and the intense emotion surrounding the event when it did take place, two weeks later than scheduled. 

But before that happened, Hopkins went face to face with Trinidad at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan and, in front of his opponent and 5,000 Boricuas, he threw the Puerto Rican flag to the ground. Immediately, Hopkins and everyone in his entourage had to flee as the crowd surged toward him. 

“If they’d gotten their hands on him, they would have killed him,” Don King’s former PR man Alan Hopper once recalled. “Outside the building, they burned his limousine. They were throwing rocks. It was terrifying.”

Despite narrowly escaping serious injury or worse, Hopkins insisted it was all planned. 

“Can you imagine – everywhere Trinidad went, wherever he jogged, wherever he walked, wherever he ate at a restaurant, they were telling Trinidad to kill Bernard,” he told me five years later. “That’s a lot of pressure, man.”

Hasim Rahman wrestles Lennox Lewis through a table

Rahman had shocked the world with a knockout of Lewis in South Africa in April 2001, and Lewis had had to go to court to force an immediate rematch. So tensions were already high when, inexplicably, ESPN chose to sit them directly next to each other on set to promote that second bout.

Rahman said something offensive about Lewis, both men stood up and started a bit of chest bumping, there was some shoving, and Rahman ended up wrestling Lewis on to and through the table on the set. 

The normally mild-mannered Lewis lashed out physically at multiple people who stepped in to the melee, and there were plenty of prognosticators who opined that Rahman had scored a significant mental victory that would carry over into the ring.

Spoiler alert: he hadn’t, and it didn’t. 

Mike Tyson bites Lennox Lewis on the thigh

Poor Lennox – the former heavyweight champion really is a gentle giant outside the ring, but here he was, involved in his second entry on this list. 

Having dispatched Rahman in the rematch, he signed to fight Tyson in Las Vegas. There was just one problem – Tyson. At the introductory press conference, each man was supposed to walk on stage and stand on a podium. Tyson was on stage first, but when Lewis appeared, Tyson strode toward him. One of Lewis’ bodyguards tried to keep him away, Tyson threw a left hook, Lewis responded with a straight right and all hell broke loose. As bodies piled on top of each other, Tyson bit Lewis’ thigh.

It was all too much for the Nevada commission, which withdrew its sanction of the fight, forcing it to find a home in Memphis. Tyson, who had headlined multiple massive Las Vegas nights, wouldn’t fight in Sin City again.