By Terence Dooley
Frank Warren has reached out to BoxingScene.com to clarify the position of his Approved Boxer/Manager Agreement with EBU super middleweight champion James DeGale. DeGale issued a statement last Friday announcing that he intends to sever ties between the two only for Warren to reveal they have a managerial agreement that runs until 14 April 2013, an arrangement that Warren expects to be honored by the 2008 Olympic gold medalist.
DeGale is duty bound by the conditions of his license to follow BBBoC protocol by notifying his Area Council of any complaint. Warren expects the 26-year-old to go through the proper channels. “James has a managerial contract with me, you saw a copy of the letter from the BBBoC confirming that yourself on Friday when my office sent the email out,” stated Warren.
“As far as I am aware, the Board have not had a complaint registered with the Area Council by James. If he is going to make a complaint then he has to do it formally. The Southern Area Council will then determine whether our agreement has been breached. If not, the Agreement will run its course.”
“The Benn case came down to the then BBBofC Manager/Boxer Agreement being enforceable,” said Warren in response to my previous article about the likelihood of court action down the line based on a dispute between Ambrose Mendy and Warren in 1989. “The Mendy case was over 20 years ago and the Agreements have radically changed.”
He added: “In regards to the purses, I won’t go into details of what he is paid but, yes, he is probably one of the world’s best paid fighters at this stage of his career.”
Warren was keen to stress that DeGale’s narrow defeat to George Groves back in May brought a swift response as he lined up an EBU title shot for James in a move that was unusual due to an EBU regulation stipulating that a boxer could not contest their title after a defeat. A change to this situation was sought and fought for by Warren. DeGale benefitted from this, winning a majority decision over Piotr Wilczewski to take the belt.
“Regardless of his and my opinion the fact is James got beat and you couldn’t fight for a European title coming off a loss,” said Warren. “I lobbied and lobbied the EBU to get him a European title fight. It’s no secret that I thought he beat Groves, but I did get him the opportunity to become European champion and get him home advantage. He’s ranked number five in the WBO rankings so for anybody to say I haven’t done a good job as his manager would be ridiculous.
“I’ve done a brilliant job for James. In 12 fights he has been British and is the current European Champion. He has a great talent and I have guided him and gotten him to a good position. There are certain duties and responsibilities on both sides, I’ve honored mine.”
As for the Internet forum rumours concerning non-payment of purses, Warren was quick to quash any suggestion that DeGale is owed money. “To cut through the innuendos James was paid in full, ask the Board or even him,” he insisted.
“We’re in a tough economic environment and everyone has an opinion to the worth of a fight, sometimes that differs. We’ve worked our balls off to deliver work to boxers by promoting a weekly show – 50 shows per year – that’s more than all Sky’s promoters combined. Sometimes it is a strain, but we are getting there and it will benefit everyone on the sport and keep boxers busy and earning. Sky TV has pulled out of PPV. The days of huge purses are not going to be there unless we do something about it and we’re trying to do that by putting regular shows on BoxNation.”
Warren has survived the loss of star names before, often responding to adversity by bringing more champions through the ranks. He was also quick to point out that there have been boxers who went elsewhere only to come back into the fold. Nigel Benn was one of them; the ‘Dark Destroyer’ praised Warren in his autobiography and said that the two worked well together during the latter stages of Benn’s career.
“Benn came back to me,” recalled Warren. “If you read his book he is quoted as saying he should never have gone in the first place. As did Naseem Hamed publicly – the grass may seem greener but it isn’t always the case.
“Britain only currently has two world champions – we have five or six promoters who have TV deals. Only one of them is promoting not one but two world champions [Ricky Burns and Nathan Cleverly, both of whom are guided by Warren] and there will be more by the end of the year – I think that alone speaks for itself.”
Warren also pointed out that BoxNation has a stacked weekend coming up. Tony Dodson’s Commonwealth light-heavyweight title fight against Ovill McKenzie is televised later tonight. There is live action from Germany on Saturday evening, Steve Cunningham’s rematch with Yoan Pablo Hernandez, as well as Julio Cesar Chavez Junior versus Marco Antonio Rubio in the early hours of Sunday morning (GMT) for the nighthawks amongst us.
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