By Elliot Foster
Anthony Crolla may well have suffered a second world title defeat on the spin last weekend but his promoter still believes he can earn big money.
The Manchester lightweight came up short against Jorge Linares for the second time as he tried to win back the WBA title he lost to Venezuelan in September.
And despite that loss, a fight with fellow Mancunian Terry Flanagan, who is the division’s WBO champion and returns to action on April 8 at Manchester Arena, exclusively live on BT Sport and BoxNation, is still very much an option.
Crolla, 30, slipped to 31-6-3 in defeat to the pretty much punch-perfect 135-pound supremo last Saturday at the aforementioned Arena and is now planning a break from the sport during which he will “have a little break with my family now” before deciding what’s next.
But promoter Eddie Hearn has fired a warning shot at rival Frank Warren, who takes care of Flanagan’s career and who purchased a billboard which was placed outside of the Manchester Arena on the night of Crolla’s comprehensive defeat to Linares to promote his own show in less than two weeks’ time, that he will not be able to do ‘Million Dollar’ a disservice should another offer for the local derby be made.
"If the right offer came up,” a disappointed Hearn said in the aftermath, “there is no way I would stand in the way of Anthony Crolla taking that fight.
“The numbers that were discussed last time were nowhere near the right money, but if the right deal came up and he had the chance to make a lot of money, I would encourage him to take the fight. I’d be telling him: ‘Go and bite their hand off, son.’”
Hearn, along with promotional outfit Matchroom Sport, has a long-term broadcast association with Sky Sports in the UK, while Warren and his boxing-dedicated BoxNation channel recently joined forces with BT Sport.
But no obstacle would be put in place from Hearn’s side for the fight.
Then asked how much he would like Crolla to earn from the fight, were it to be made, Hearn was quick to point out that he knows the worth of his fighter.
"A ball-park figure? Seven figures. You can take well over seven figures on the gate,” he said. “[Joe Gallagher] feels Crolla is a lot bigger than Flanagan, but, again, now he’s challenging.
“The fight would be in Manchester, so why shouldn’t you [ask for seven figures]?
“Or a split. He’s [Flanagan is] the champion, isn’t he, so on one hand you’ve got a champion and a voluntary defence, which tells you, like, [a split of] 75-25 or 70-30, and on the other hand, you’ve got Crolla, who is the bigger name than Flanagan.”
Hearn says Flanagan would “love the fight” because he’s “not making big money”.
“He will fancy beating Crolla.”