By Frank Warren
It’s the ‘Dinosaur’ Old School Promoter here.
Just seen your recent interview with IFilm London. Once again you felt compelled to reference me, several of my fighters and BoxNation. You stalking me?
What’s with this ‘New Age Promoting’? I’m not quite sure what is meant by this term, but I do know what Promoting is, delivering great fights for the fans and putting bums on seats.
Recently FWP have given the fans proper quality showdowns including Groves v DeGale, Mitchell v Murray, Cleverly v Bellew, Burns v Katsidis, Helenius v Chisora, Klitschko v Chisora, Burns v Mitchell and of course, Haye v Chisora – all virtual sell outs. How does that compare with your shows over the same period?
I think even in your hearts of hearts, however ‘New Age’ you may be and even with your BIG Sky budget, you would have to admit that other than Froch v Bute, you have not delivered anywhere near as many big live audiences or fights of that calibre over the same period and I’ve not included the small hall classics such as Walsh v Appleby amongst others.
I’d like to know what was so awful with my “Horrendous offer” for Gavin Rees to face Ricky Burns for his WBO World Title the ExCel in December?
The offer we made to Gavin for the fight was £50,000 with three options, which had been improved with a final offer of £60,000. You said Gavin will be earning more for his next European title defence – I’m sure he will be pleased to hear that he will be getting more than £60,000 for his next European title fight.
He was promised a shot by you at the WBA title, but despite being number 2 in their rankings it didn’t happen and he is now missing out on a huge opportunity to fight Ricky Burns. My offer is clearly anything but a ‘Horrendous offer’, something your Director of Boxing, an honest man, with years of experience, said was a “Great offer”.
Gavin previously won the WBA World Title with me and you have turned down a chance for him to become a 2-Weight World Champion and again, you have deprived the fans of a good old domestic battle.
Let’s also touch on the ‘options and allsorts’ section of your statement. Everybody knows in boxing that other than a mandatory defence, it is normal that options are given to the promoter of the Champion, just like the options you signed when Froch, the mandatory challenger, fought Bute. I would like to ask you this question – have you taken any options on Yusef Mack for his IBF World Title challenge against Carl Froch next month? And indeed, have you taken options out on any previous fighters? I think we both know the answer to that.
The fact remains that you preach that it’s the fighters’ interests at heart that you have, and that may be, but I suspect this pattern of rejecting big purse offers and big opportunities has more to do with you worrying that you will have no fighters left to run with on Sky. Perhaps the ‘exclusive’ dates you have secured are more of a hindrance to fill than you expected?
Two years ago, before I told him I no longer wished to promote him I offered Kell Brook, in writing, two chances to fight for a World Title – you went on record stating he will fight for a World Title within a couple of fights – that was two years ago! Only recently you turned down an offer for Brook to face Timothy Bradley, again for a career best purse. Why so many eliminators Eddie? He was WBO number one two years ago? Is ‘New Age’ promoting about turning down World Title fights for your boxers in favour of servicing a TV deal?
As for Carl Froch, my offer was genuine and as I have said on record many times, I fancy Nathan to beat him. The fact remains that it was another huge fight and a big payday for Carl that you rejected and not as you are suggesting now for a fight to take place before the Bute fight but after. £1million – I know he hasn’t made that money in any fight with you and again what of the fans? I am sure they would much rather see Cleverly v Froch rather than Froch v Mack and Nathan fighting Uzelkov.
You’ve now rejected three big World Title fights for three of your fighters (Brook, Froch and now Rees). This rejection pattern you’re developing, in my opinion, is not good for the sport. TV deals are important but not as important as delivering for your fighters and for the fans that want to see the big events. You seem to talk so often about doing things for the fans but from where I am sitting, you stopped them from seeing three big fights. Is that the New-Age agenda?
New Age? Us old guys, especially the Hall of Fame Promoters like to keep it simple – make the big fights and put bums on seats.