By Craig Hamilton
A number of the boxing writers and people involved in the sport have called or emailed me asking me to clarify details regarding John’s decision to retire yesterday and to offer my view of it.
The subject actually came up first immediately following John’s tough loss to Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. last June. The decision at that time was to put off any decision on his future. John did not want to make an emotional decision. He was coming off a series of tough fights in a relatively short period of time and needed time to rest and sort things out.
At the end of last year when momentum was building for a potential fight with Andy Lee the topic of renewing his career was again on the table. John felt he wanted to give it a go.
After renewing his boxing training for several weeks John simply could not find the passion necessary to continue. Rather than put in a half hearted effort which he felt would be unfair to the promoter, HBO and his many fans John made a well thought out decision to retire.
John and I both wish the decision could have been made sooner. We fully realize and appreciate the effort Lou Dibella of Dibella Entertainment made to put this fight with Andy Lee together. His vision, passion and enthusiasm to complete a deal with both fighter camps and with HBO made the fight possible. Lou was incredibly gracious and understanding when he heard of John’s decision and this we both appreciate. We also regret the impact this might have on Andy Lee. It is so difficult in this current environment to have the opportunity to fight on HBO and be seen worldwide by millions of fans. We are hopeful that a suitable replacement can be found and we both wish Andy and his team the best of luck as he moves forward. Lastly, we both realize the impact this will have on the many fans John has cultivated here in the United States and abroad including, of course, his numerous fans in his homeland of Ireland. We realize this was a much anticipated fight and there will be disappointment with its cancellation. John gave everything he had in all of his fights. The same was true in his training regimen. He retired because he knew he could no longer put forth that effort. To continue would have been unfair to his many fans.
I am glad John has come to this decision. I have always seen my job in terms of giving him my best advice, getting him the best deals possible and getting him out of this sport in one piece. John has had a lot of exciting and hard fought fights in his career. Fighters can only absorb so many of those in a career. In his early 30’s now, it is time to move on.
There are few fighters who would walk away from the sport with the opportunity John had in front of him. If I could manage fighters for another hundred years I will never find one with more class or integrity. John did not win a world title in boxing. He didn’t have to. John is a true ambassador for the sport he loves and a world class person.