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Frank Warren Responds, Tells All on Joe Calzaghe

Special To BoxingScene.com

By Frank Warren

I made Joe millions and this is how he repaid me

When Joe Calzaghe said he would promote himself against Roy Jones Jnr, he said that he hoped our split would be amicable.

Well that obviously isn't the case. Joe indicated I could promote his final fight but having considered him more a friend than a fighter I have kept my silence.

But Calzaghe's recent attacks on me in the Press have left me no choice but to defend myself in print, although I find it deeply saddening that I have to do so.

Valid

When Joe signed with me he couldn't afford to pay his mortgage. But over 12 long , hard but successful years, I helped make him into a multi-millionaire and one of the best-known UK sports personalities who is now nailed-on for boxing's Hall of Fame.

In his book, he says signing with me was the best decision he ever made. But he now claims he was held back, kept in "shackles" and could have had big fights sooner.

Yet until he beat Jeff Lacy and finally began to believe in himself, one person and one person alone afflicted his career: Joe Calzaghe.

He would regularly pull out of fights at short notice for reasons he felt were valid. But it left me to sort out the mess with opponents furious and TV execs pulling their hair out.

At one stage it got so farcical I had to pay opponents cash up front before they would sign a contract because they were afraid of going through weeks of training camps for nothing when he pulled out.

I lost $100,000 to Glen Johnson when Joe pulled out of a world title fight with him for a second time. This is the same Johnson who KO'd Jones four years ago.

I recall that when I vetoed a fight with Freeman Barr, dreadful mediocre No 1 mandatory challenger who meant nothing, Joe said that he wanted to face him.

Sky and I didn't want the fight and fortunately the bout didn't come off after Barr was beaten.

For much of Joe's career, I worked with US TV network Showtime and they nicknamed him "No Show Joe" because of the pullouts and the fact he'd refuse to travel to the States to promote his fights.

Calzaghe blamed his reluctance to travel on his fear of flying. But it made trying to build a name for him in the US a nightmare.

For chunks of Calzaghe's reign as a world champ, American TV lost all interest in the Welshman, but I continued to pay him the same money he was on when he was boxing on Showtime.

And it wasn't just the Americans who were growing increasingly frustrated with Joe.

When the WBO ordered Calzaghe to face Mario Veit for a second time - having already knocked him out in the first round - I had a major problem because not one television station in the UK wanted the fight.

Fortunately I managed to kid Veit's German promoters I was going to make a big bid, and it would take a massive sum to take the fight to the Continent.

They gambled on being able to recoup some of the money back from Sky or ITV.

They got a nasty surprise when they realised there would hardly be a penny our end - but Joe still grossed $1.7million when the fight could have gone for zilch.

After Veit II, Calzaghe went on to fight Lacy in what would go down as one of the best British performances of all time.

Yet that fight, like others, was nearly shelved.

Voting

He insisted a couple of weeks beforehand he was injured and couldn't fight. Both his dad Enzo and I had to persuade him to go step through the ropes, something I've never done with a boxer before or since. Had he been left to his own devices, it may never have happened.

For me, that was the making of Calzaghe.

From the way the fight went and he let his hands go, Joe didn't look injured.

But my proudest moment in the sport came 18 months later when Joe beat Mikkel Kessler in Cardiff to prove what I'd said for years - that he was the world's best super-middleweight.

I lost 500,000 on that show but money really didn't matter on the night because it was such a wonderful feeling to see him finally unify the world titles.

Knowing that Joe had a good chance of winning the BBC Sports Personality of the Year - having been unbelievably overlooked in 2006 - and despite being offered money for the delay by ITV, the week before voting I gave the BBC a rerun for the fight free of charge, having been promised they would show it at a decent time. I believed it would help secure votes for him.

But then so much of my time with Joe was spent working behind the scenes to raise his profile.

When the opportunity came up to meet the Prince of Wales in Cardiff came up, Joe was reluctant to go along even though it was just a few miles down the road.

In the end I was able to make him see sense. Was it a coincidence that in the spring he was awarded the CBE?

Other times I wasn't so successful. One Saturday morning he was due to appear on a children's TV show which was based on boxing and centred on Joe.

Thirty minutes before the show was due to go on air in London, I got a call from Joe - who was still in South Wales - saying he wouldn't be able to go after all, leaving me again to call the unfortunate producers.

I gave up trying to get him the kind of gigs Ricky Hatton would do at the drop of a hat.

Joe made his comments about the money and attention Hatton got but although Joe is the better boxer, Ricky was prepared to put in the hard yards to get publicity.

In April having decided he could travel to the States, Joe defeated Bernard Hopkins in Las Vegas a night where I felt a great deal of personal vindication.

Months before the fight we met and agreed I'd promote Joe's next bout - which he said would be his last - and I began negotiating with Bob Arum for Kelly Pavlik and Roy Jones.

I preferred the Pavlik fight as Jones although a former P4P number one, he is way past his best, a fact widely accepted in boxing. I also think he is tarnished after failing a drugs test earlier in his career.

In the 2008 latest edition of his autobiography, Joe states that Jones is "washed up" and in an interview in Boxing Monthly said he said he had "no interest" in fighting Jones, who he describes as "not a great fighter anymore" observing that "Roy's resistance is gone''.

Jones has had three fights in four years beating on points Prince Badi Ajamu and Anthony Hanshaw - hardly household names - and in January former light middleweight Champion Felix Trinidad who had been out of the ring for three years.

Jones' friend and fight lawyer, John Hornewer said of him after the Trinidad fight "He's so safety conscious since he's stopped that he just doesn't let go. He's overly cautious and lets the other guy hand in there.

"I think he's still shell shocked. He's overly concerned about what might come back at him. He's happy to win be a decision."

Jones will probably get on his bike against Calzaghe - and Joe struggles against runners.

Now Calzaghe is trying to make out the Jones fight will provide some kind of legitimate challenge.

I could have got Calzaghe far more money than he managed to secure himself.

He agreed a 50-50 purse split with Jones. Roy must have thought he had won the lottery.

After Joe beat Hopkins HBO pay-per-view exec Mark Taffeit told me they didn't care who he fought next Calzaghe was the No 1, not Jones or Pavlik.

Over-the-hill Jones brought hardly a thing to the table - and certainly not 50 per cent. A fight against Pavlik, which Arum had agreed would have done far more for Calzaghe's legacy.

And Arum would have accepted 40 per cent of the pay-per-view figures and given up the UK revenue.

As Joe's manager I was entitled to take a percentage of his purses but never had sixpence from him barring the second Veit fight which was on another promoter's show.

At 36 he is hardly a kid who has been exploited. And it's ironic he has attacked me this week over the choice of Amir Khan's opponent.

I've said all along the buck stops with me - the same matchmaker who picked Calzaghe's opponents during his unbeaten reign.

Over the years I helped Joe with personal problems, gave him gifts and genuinely believed we had become friends.

Master

Calzaghe claims that I have been keeping him in "shackles" for the last decade and says he is not a multi millionaire, but despite pulling out of numerous fights I don't call grossing well over 10m, getting paid more than any other super-middleweight and going down in history as one of the greatest fighters to have come out of the UK "shackles"

Excluding mandatory defences, he has had the final say in everybody who he has fought.

I also became close to his dad who joked with me at ringside in Manchester this month. If someone kept my son in 'shackles' and mistreated him, I wouldn't give them the time of day.

I still regard Calzaghe as the best fighter to have come out of the UK since the war.

Although he is something special between the ropes it seems money is now his master.

He said as much recently when "ambushed" live on ITV by Carl Froch who demanded a fight.

Calzaghe's response? "It's all about the money man."

Joe says Sports Network Ltd hasn't paid him for the Hopkins fight.

That isn't true. He has received 1million and had paid at his request over $2 million to third parties.

Sports Network Limited have withheld monies but believes it is entitled to much more for Joe's breach of contract.

I won't comment on Joe again until the action between him and Sports Network is decided. It's so sad it has come to this.

Tags:
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by WESS on 10-02-2008

[QUOTE=abadger;4132077]I thought the article was garbage, and it was, the only reason you liked it was because you share the opinions it expresses. Calzaghe can be criticised sure, but it could be done a hell of a lot better than…

Comment by bsrizpac on 10-02-2008

[QUOTE=Dirk Diggler UK;4139878]PROUD MEMBER OF TEAM '**** FRANK WARREN' :lol1:[/QUOTE] You must be a proud member of Team "Wax Joe's balls"

Comment by WESS on 10-02-2008

[QUOTE=egodfather;4132089][B]A Brit wrote this about Calzaghe, it says it all really. Joe is a joke for fighting Roy Jones Jr. He ducked Kelly Pavlik. Pavlik knocks Joe out in 4 rounds.[/B][/QUOTE] That article shares my views about Joe Calzaghe perfectly.…

Comment by Dirk Diggler UK on 10-02-2008

[QUOTE=BRAVE-HEART;4139829]BRAVE-HEART SAYS TO CALZAGHE: :owned2:[/QUOTE] PROUD MEMBER OF TEAM '**** FRANK WARREN' :lol1:

Comment by BRAVE-HEART on 10-02-2008

BRAVE-HEART SAYS TO CALZAGHE: :owned2:

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