As the pair squared up at the head-to-head to announce their O2 Arena meeting, Bellew pushed Haye away from him before the two-weight world title holder unleashed a lightning fast left hand.
The punch didn’t go down well with Bellew and certainly not with the boxing fans as Haye has been noted for doing similar when involved in a public brawl with Dereck Chisora back in 2012.
“By the law of the land you are allowed to remove someone from your personal space and he got too close – he was just a millimetre away from kissing me. I reminded him it was not that kind of party and I pushed him away from me,” Bellew told Sky Sports.
“At that time he swung a left hook punch and kind of broke the rules that we have among ourselves in the fight fraternity. Fighters do not hit each other without gloves on and he is a coward for doing it.
“It was a cheap shot, a dirty move on his part and it just shows the kind of man that he is by swinging that punch. All I did was push him away from me and for him to swing a left hook was wrong.
“But come March 4, when the bell goes, it’s just me and him – none of his security guards and none of his false brigade that surround him.
“He is not good for boxing. He is bad for boxing. He is a disgrace the way he carries on with his antics. He is a coward and I am going to deal with him on March 4,” he added.