By Frank Warren
Sheffield welterweight Kell Brook's world title aspirations were placed in limbo this week when St Louis's Devon Alexander cried off from their pending IBF championship fight, scheduled for Detroit on February 23rd. On Monday, the US southpaw withdrew citing a bicep injury. However, on Tuesday WBC champion Floyd 'Money' Mayweather - now back at large after serving a two month prison term for domestic battery – tweeted that he was close to confirming terms to meet 'Alexander The Great' in a unification spat for his comeback fight in Las Vegas on May 4th.
Where this all leaves Brook who was 12 weeks into an intensive and costly 14 week training camp, remains a mystery. With contracts signed by both parties, the IBF are rightly threatening to strip Alexander of his title if he proceeds with the Mayweather blockbuster.
However, the man from Missouri knows that, following a 'miraculous' recovery, his reward for facing 'Pretty Boy' Floyd, still the biggest cash generator in the business, shall be several fold what he would receive for accommodating Brook, a non-entity to the US market.
Harsh, perhaps, but that's the nature of a business that has always been as brutal and unforgiving outside the ropes, as is it between.
Though Brook had triumphed in back-to-back IBF sanctioned eliminators, thus navigating his way into the powerful bartering position of number one challenger, his promoters Matchroom lost the purse bids when the fight went out to tender and thus failed to secure their man crucial home court for his world title debut.
Instead Brook was primed to meet an unfashionable but young southpaw in the 1,500 capacity Masonic Temple over in Detroit where he would have been accorded few favours. Challenging overseas always heightens the possibility of losing on a hometown decision. Now, it appears, Brook won't even receive that.
The kid who bills himself as 'The Special One' remains undefeated in 29 fights with 19 victories attained by stoppage. However, at the age of 26 it appears he is no closer to securing a world title opening than he was when I released him – as the WBO mandatory challenger – over two years ago!
This week Matchroom confirmed that Carl Froch's IBF-WBA super-middleweight unifier with Denmark's Mikkel Kessler shall take place indoors at the 18,000 capacity O2 Arena in Greenwich, south London on May 25th; the same evening that the Champion's League final shall be settled across the city at Wembley Stadium.
Despite prior protestations that pay-per-view- restricts access to the masses, promoter Eddie Hearn conceded he has had to air the fight on Sky Box Office, otherwise it wouldn't have been financially feasible.
Clearly a fight of such magnitude should be happening at a soccer stadium to optimise both the earning capacity of the principals plus the number of fans able to witness it. However, this week Hearn claimed that 'outdoors can be a right pain in the arse', citing additional flooring costs, the possibility of inclement weather and having 'no atmosphere'?!
How would he know? The last stadium fight I can recall Matchroom putting on was heavyweight Herbie Hide's WBO win over Michael Bentt at Millwall in March 1994, when young Eddie was just a 15 year old schoolboy!
There isn't anything quite like the anticipation and atmosphere a stadium fight. There are many of them including Cooper v Ali at Arsenal, Bruno-Witherspoon at Wembley and McGuigan-Pedroza at Loftus Road, all historical fights. Some the of the biggest shows I've promoted took place outdoors; Eubank v Collins II in Cork, Hamed-Robinson at Cardiff Arms Park, Bruno-McCall at Wembley Stadium and Haye-Chisora at Upton Park, to list just a few. Trust me, the atmosphere at each was seriously unnerving even if the weather was sometimes unkind.
Hearn claims all 17,000 seats at the O2 are already sold. However that figure includes the box holders at the arena and expect the Danes to arrive in droves, just as they did in 2007 when 'Viking Warrior' Kessler, then unbeaten and in his prime, conceded his WBA and WBC belts to Joe Calzaghe before 54,000 at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. That was probably the most atmospheric and greatest night of my 33 years in boxing. Joe was brilliant that night.
Surely, organising a stadium event wouldn't have been too difficult for young Hearn as his dad Barry owns Leyton Orient FC and he is the MD.
Fights fans can watch live tonight on BoxNation British prospect Deion Jumah in Germany.
The heavy-handed cruiserweight from Chelsea was only in action last week when he blasted out Ruslan Bitarov inside a round.
A two-time English ABA champion, Jumah opted to start his career under Germany's powerful Sauerland outfit.
Watch out Bradley Wiggins! Billy Joe Saunders is on hot his heels after winning the Welwyn Hatfield Sports Person of the Year Award, beating off Team GB Olympic swimmers and rowers to the accolade.
Although Wiggins is more likely to encounter the unbeaten British and Commonwealth Middleweight Champion on the road with Saunders racing his prized horse Roy's Boy.
Saunders is preparing to defend his titles against Manchester puncher Matthew Hall at the York Hall next month and Roy's Boy for the London King of the Road competition!