By Shaun Brown
As Brian Rose looks forward to a fight with faded force Vivian Harris, the mandatory for his British light middleweight title has had his patience tested once and for all. It was time for Sam Webb to get a few things off his chest.
“Make sure you put all of this in your article,” he said when speaking to BoxingScene.
Before the 31-year-old gets started let me explain the situation.
Rose was scheduled to face Webb in a much anticipated title showdown that was due to take place on the David Price vs Audley Harrison card on October 13th. Like a house of cards, everything collapsed in front of Webb, much to his annoyance.
After I informed him that certain corners of the boxing press were reporting that the fight had fallen through due to financial reasons the angry challenger responded with: “Not on my part.”
“I took less money to take the Rose fight. I’m not fussed about that, I just wanted the fight. My manager (Dean Powell) arranged it. We were told we’d fight in Liverpool, which was fine by me, and then I get a phone call to say it’s all been cancelled! It’s a joke.”
With no actual paperwork being signed for the fight, a deal was done behind closed doors to make the fight happen. Webb put his trust in a gentleman’s agreement and is now looking around as to when and where the contest may actually happen.
Webb now finds himself preparing for a six rounder in October to keep him “ticking over” rather than throwing himself into a full blown camp to recapture the title he once held and defended in 2010 before losing it to Prince Arron the following year.
When the news reached Webb, that he would have to wait even longer for a title shot, he freely admits to being disheartened and disillusioned with the whole situation.
“The first couple of days, I was depressed and pissed off. In theory the fight should happen because I’m mandatory, but I’m not convinced. Since he’s been British champion Brian has been a bottle job. He’s had two soft defences now he’s fighting a guy that to be honest, the boxing board should not have sanctioned.
“Brian complained that he needed a break after the (Kris) Carslaw fight. A break? You’re champion, why do you need a break? Well he’s had one now so he should just man up and fight me.”
A relationship that once had respect and a touch of friendship between both the champion and his current mandatory appears to have now soured. Webb was even on hand to congratulate Rose after his thrilling win against Prince Aaron to claim the title last December.
“I texted him recently and things have got a bit shitty between us. That doesn’t bother me. I just want the fight,” confesses Webb.
“I’ve been treated harshly. I’ve won the eliminator — I’ve earned my right. No disrespect to my next opponent, but beating Matty Hall (a British title eliminator in April) was my warm-up fight. I’ve sent texts to Brian telling him I’m ready and willing but you never hear back these days.”
And what of the champion’s fight with Vivian Harris on October 5th in Blackpool?
“If this had been Vivan Harris five years ago and Brian had sidestepped me then I’d say fair play to you. I wouldn’t begrudge anyone a payday but what is this fight all about, a chance to get a world rating? Do me a favour. What does he think he’s gonna get after this, a world title shot?
“Listen, when I was British champion I didn’t care who was mandatory, I’d fight him. That’s what you do when you’re champion. You’ve got everyone trying to knock you off so you set out to take them down. I’ve never ducked no one. You always want to be beat your mandatory.”
Throughout this whole situation the Londoner insists that he has learned one valuable lesson and vows never to repeat it.
“I shouldn’t have done an in-house deal. I was a bit naïve in doing that. It won’t happen again.”
Twitter @shaun_brownTags: Sam Webb