Tonight, his super-middleweight Zach Parker faces John Ryder at the O2 Arena in London in what many are calling a Canelo Eliminator.
Then, on December 10, another Marsh client, David Avanesyan, goes in with Terence Crawford in a huge welterweight clash.
It is why people get into boxing, to be involved in such showcase events, and Marsh sees that, even though he has never been busier.
“It’s a privilege to have two hard working lads who are in this position, but there’s a hell of a lot of work involved,” Marsh admitted. “There’s all the media stuff, organizing visas, medicals and all that type of stuff…”
And that’s even before the deals were struck, though Neil concedes that – in both cases – they were the easy part.
“To be fair the negotiations in both of these haven’t been difficult,” Marsh continued. “Crawford’s people were easy to deal with, and then with Frank Warren backing us so much that [Parker-Ryder] wasn’t a difficult fight, either. It gave us very good terms, there was no need to negotiate because we were happy with it straight away. Frank’s looked after us.”
Parker’s fight with American Demetrius Andrade seemed to be on and off for two years or more, but the Ryder match is one that’s satisfied the British public. It’s the step-up Zach was after, and a recognizable name. Marsh also thinks it’s stylistically a better fight for his charge.
“We went through the top 10 ratings and looked at all the names who were eligible, people like [Edgar] Belanga and you go down further to [Giovanni] De Carolis because you had Plant fighting and you had [Aslambek] Idigov ineligible and what we wanted as a team was John Ryder. If you’d asked us who we would have wanted out of the top 10, Andrade wouldn’t have been top of the list because of his style etc. But saying that, we were up for that one, especially with the prize involved. I personally think Ryder’s style is more suited to Zach and he won’t be trying to chase shadows all night, he’ll be there for us. Style-wise, I think it’s a better fight. I don’t think John’s an elite level fighter like Andrade is, but he is a very good fighter who we are not underestimating.”
Does that mean the reward is no longer greater than the risk?
No, continues, Marsh, who admits occasions like this with such high stakes are just about as big as it gets.
“Every fight at this level is a big risk, and every fight is a big reward,” Neil explained. “If anything, we like this fight a lot more because if anything’s missing off Zach’s resume, it’s a big name. Some of the foreign kids we’ve boxed lately, like Vaughn Alexander, you’re never going to get respect for doing what you do to them because they’re just an American, or just an Uzbek. But if we do what we hope to do with John, respect is earned immediately.”
Then, of course, could be Canelo in May in the Mexican’s showpiece return to the ring on Cinco De Mayo weekend. But that’s too far ahead for Marsh to consider First things first, and Parker must win tomorrow night.
“We couldn’t care a less about Canelo,” Marsh stated. “We’ve seen people like Andrade and John [Ryder] in his own admission running round chasing the Canelo fight as a reserve opponent, and I don’t blame him… Andrade has chased it… But we are taking every fight as it comes, step by step. We know with Frank [Warren] we’re going to get where we’re going as long as Zach takes his opportunities. We know there might be a potential Canelo fight, we know we might have to defend the interim, we know we might get made mandatory for Canelo or get the full world belt. Lots of things could happen, but they’re all ifs and buts and as a manager I couldn’t care a less what’s next. Boxing changes that quickly, we just take it one fight at a time. We have got an eye on what’s next, but we’ve got to get through John Ryder next.”
But Marsh does have an eye on the future, because it won’t be long before his welterweight Avanesyan accepts his underdog role against one of the best in the sport in Crawford. Marsh is aware of the size of the task at hand, but is also excited by the prospect of his fighter getting to mix it up with a modern day great.
“The 147 division has been completely locked down for a couple of years, very few people can get near the titles,” Marsh added. “We’ve got the chance to fight the pound for pound in Crawford and we’re taking it. Some people forget, David’s not an English guy who sells thousands of tickets. He’s got a big name in the UK off his performances, but globally he hasn’t. It’s a lot more difficult with a foreign fighter than it is a UK kid and it’s been hard. But, we’ve all been working hard and you can’t try and handpick the world title you want in the 147 division. The opportunities aren’t there. So we are buzzing to get it. David’s 34. We had to take it. There’s no ifs or buts. He’s in the best form of his life, why not fight Terence Crawford. It’s what we all dream of, isn’t it?”