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Hearn, De La Hoya Trade Words Over Khan's Sky Rift

Amir Khan's world title defence against Paul McCloskey on Saturday is being overshadowed by an ongoing row about a lack of mainstream television coverage, with the champion's team being accused of "operational incompetence" and "commercial suicide".

The WBA light-welterweight champion's voluntary defence against unbeaten McCloskey in Manchester will be shown on the low-profile Primetime TV channel after a fall-out with Sky Sports.

McCloskey's promoter Eddie Hearn claims his fighter is now earning more from the fight than the champion and accused Khan's team of "total commercial suicide" and "operational incompetence" on Thursday.

Khan's American promoter Oscar De La Hoya and the fighter himself rejected the criticism, claiming they will enjoy a significant pay-day from American TV giant HBO.

The MEN Arena bill was due to be on Sky Box Office before being downgraded to Sky Sports 3 by the broadcasting giant, who decided to exert a degree of quality control. It is understood Khan's team then took umbrage at not being on Sky Sports 1 or 2 and therefore threw their lot in with the minor pay-per-view outfit Primetime.

Hearn, of Matchroom Sport, said: "If we keep doing things like this, we'll kill the game.

"Don't be stubborn and stupid and kill your relationship with Sky. It shows stubbornness and a lack of understanding of the TV market.

"There's not one person who thinks this was the right decision."

Hearn's man has not been affected financially, having negotiated a lump sum, but he will miss out on exposure by not being on normal subscription television.

"Revenge is a dish best served cold," Hearn said. "I don't think we've ever seen goings on like the last week before in British boxing.

"I have nothing but full respect for Amir Khan and I wonder how the loss of probably a million and a half pounds through the operational incompetence of his team will affect him on the night.

"Of course we had problems, of which it is not my right to go into, and this fight was taken off pay-per-view. We all know the undercard which was put together was not accepted by the broadcaster.

"In 20 years of working in the fight game, we've never experienced that kind of action.

"I think what has been done here has probably killed Amir's credibility in the UK, certainly with our leading sports broadcaster.

"As for the fight, we can't wait. The money goes out the window. We all know now that Paul McCloskey will be receiving more money for this fight than Amir Khan but it's not about money, it's about a lad from Dungiven who is coming here with an army of Irish fans and a dream from a very young age to become a world champion."

American ring legend and Golden Boy Promotions president De La Hoya rejected Hearn's criticism, however.

He countered: "When Khan decided to go to Primetime, people are saying 'what are you doing, you're crazy!'

"Well years from now we're going to see who is crazy.

"HBO didn't pick up this fight for free. If you think Amir Khan is not making money, you've got another thing coming."

Hearn, though, responded: "I respect you totally but I do not respect your knowledge of boxing in the UK and the television market. To say that it is about the fans and take it off the biggest platform in the UK and put it on a small channel with about 5,000 viewers is total commercial suicide.

"To cost your client £1.5million is unacceptable to any sportsman."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Forza on 04-15-2011

[QUOTE=argminasyan;10377196]Ya but bill gates didn't get hit in the head for a living and he's more of the exception rather than the rule[/QUOTE] Bill gates also is a soft limp wristed ***** that has never been in a fight before.…

Comment by edgarg on 04-15-2011

typo correction......kids who otherwise DON'T make it.........."

Comment by edgarg on 04-15-2011

[QUOTE=argminasyan;10376998]does anyone know what ODLH education level is? i mean did he even graduate high school? these uneducated idiots that once were boxers (which doesnt help your IQ) dont know anything about business[/QUOTE] I don't think his education level would…

Comment by edgarg on 04-15-2011

[QUOTE=SluggerFan;10376953]It might be because they were getting a lump sum of cash (around 300K or whatever) no matter what. As long as they get paid, that's pretty much all they care about. Hearn is right though, and he has a…

Comment by Evil-Eye3 on 04-15-2011

Another incompetence coming from GBP. Khan should jump ship to Top Rank, i think it will be better and expose him much.

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