By Michael Marley
I’m sure the British Bulldog Winston Churchill would be impressed at how his island nation’s boxing press corps has bitten down and continues to cover Saturday night’s Zab Judah-Amir Khan world title bout as if nothing is amiss.
They’re stalwart warriors and, looking at their gumption in the face of “No Gab” Zab’s refusal to answer their fight questions, one can readily understand how Hitler and his murderous goons never captured London the way they did Paris.
In a silly protest about the fact that the Khan camp bullied him into accepting the Las Vegas fight without getting him a single pence of the UK pay-per-view TV earnings, Judah refused to answer questions on a Wednesday media conference call from British voices.
And I thought pompous Lord Cromwell had treated my Irish ancestors badly.
This contretemps hasn’t exactly knocked the ongoing Rupert Murdoch phone hacking controversy off the front pages of the British tabloids but I, for one, find the misplaced anger interesting.
If Judah was boycotting Sky TV, you could make some sense of it but this childish tantrum of eschewing the whole UK press corps is absurd.
Does Zab Dabby really believe that Sky TV execs care how much money he makes? Why should they when they made their deal through the Khan camp.
Judah promoter Kathy Judah somewhat sheepishly explained Judah’s piqué but no one understands why the Brooklyn fighter isn’t just giving the silent treatment to the lads from Sky.
According to our man Lord Jeff Powell, sagacious Daily Mail pundit now ensconced at The Hotel at Mandalay Bay for fight week, Judah’s no verbal pearls of wisdom for English swine policy continues even now.
“I suppose Zab will have to answer some of our questions at the final press conference,” Powell said. “Maybe we can put on American accents and say, ‘Hey, buddy, tell me how you’re going slam this guy.’
Powell points out that for the recent David Hayemaker Haye-Wladimir Klitschko bonanza, it was well known that Klitschko demanded and got half of the revenue from Sky TV.
Powell looks at Judah’s snit as really no big deal in terms of his reporting.
“We’ve got, all of us, a frivolous and fortunate job covering games and fights,” Powell said. “It’s not any big deal.”
Powell and the rest of the British fight chroniclers are ramping up for heavy USA bookings this autumn.
“I’ll be covering the Floyd Mayweather fight and, of course, Marquez-Pacquiao III. But we’ve also got Darren Baker’s Oct. 2 challenge against middleweight champ Sergio Martinez and the Carl Froch-Andre Ward super middleweight tournament final upcoming.”
None of those fighters, as far as is known, plans to slag off the raffish lot that comprises the English boxing media.
Powell’s upbeat attitude reminds me of AP wit Fast Eddie Schuyler who used to say, when any other fight writer was bitching and moaning about the rigors of the job, “It beats working in a coal mine.”
Coming from Pennsylvania, Schuyler knew a lot about boxing and coal mining.
Perhaps Judah is reminded of the old country western song about a bitter divorce.
Surely you recall, "You Got The Mine (And I Got The Shaft)."