By Lem Satterfield
The ongoing negotiations to make a junior welterweight unification between champions Amir Khan (25-1, 17KOs) and Zab Judah (41-6, 28KOs) have continued to slide in a downward spiral. The two sides have been negotiation since last week - when WBC/WBO champion Timothy Bradley turned down a deal to face Khan on July 23, which HBO has reserved for the British star's next fight. Bradley walked away from a package deal worth $1.4 million - plus an even 50-50 split on the UK pay-per-view revenue.
The negotiations to make Khan-Judah have been equally troubled, with Golden Boy Promotions offering Judah a lower financial package and not a single percentage share of the UK pay-per-view. And, Khan is now refusing to face Judah in Atlantic City - where Main Events believe the fight would make the most financial sense. Instead, Khan wants to face Judah in Las Vegas on July 16.
"What's happened is that I heard from [Golden Boy CEO] Richard Schaefer on Thursday when I was in Poland, and he said that we might be able to get this done. We would do this in Atlantic City [which Duva has on hold] and they wanted a 60-40 split, and Amir Khan wants to keep all of the money for the UK, Pakistan and the Middle East," Duva told BoxingScene.com.
Duva and Judah were willing to budge from their 50-50 position, but Khan and his team were holding steady on a 60-40 split.
"So I said, Well, I went back to him and I said, 'Well, I think that we need a little bit more. If we could push this to 55-45, then we can get it done.' And he comes back to me, and he says, 'Well, I've talked to the Khans, and I can't promise you anything. They're really set on their numbers, blah, blah, blah,'" Duva said.
"And then, he comes back to me and he says, 'The Khans won't move on 60-40, but they want the fight to be in Las Vegas and not New Jersey.' And I said, 'But there is no money in Las Vegas.' He said, 'Well, when Judah fought Lucas Matthysse in New Jersey, there was nobody in the room.' That's what he said, which, actually, is not true. And he said, 'But when Maidana fought Amir Khan in December, we netted out $400,000 at the gate. and we did very well.'"
Duva did here own investigation work, and said the figures she dug up were not agreeing with Schaefer's reasoning for staging the fight in Las Vegas.
"I found out that they actually sold 3,100 tickets [for Khan-Maidana], and that there was a big promotion going on where they were actually giving the tickets away because they couldnt' get anybody to go. He makes stuff up. So I came back and I said, 'This will sell in Atlantic City and Caesar's is willing to make a guarantee. We have a great track record there. Both guys will have a great fan base there in the area between all of the Arabic people who are there and Zab's fans there," Duva said.
Schaefer doesn't agree with Duva's position on Judah's name value and financial worth to their promotion - comparing the promotional performance of Judah's fight with Matthysse to Khan's recent fight with Paul McCloskey in Manchester.
"It's not just one guy who would be selling the fight, it's the combination. To say that Judah is worth at least 40 percent justifies logic. Tim Bradley, he was offering half of the money to and Bradley wouldn't be as big of a gate and wouldn't mean as much in the foreign market as Zab Judah and wouldn't mean as much for Khan's money in England because he's just not known," Duva said.
"But Richard tells me that Zab's not big anymore and that Khan's the big draw. He said that we sold out the [MEN Arena in Manchester, England] with Paul McCloskey. But I said, 'Yeah, McCloskey probably brought in about half of those people because several thousand people probably met him at the airport when he came to Ireland after losing. But some of those fans had come to see McCloskey because it was a match."
"I mean, he's comparing this fight to Matthysse, which happened on four weeks notice, a guy no one had ever heard of with a co-feature with two Mexicans in Newark, N.J., where we only had two or three undercard fights that we could sell tickets on. All of his logic is wrong. By the way, as it turns out, we had more people in the arena than they did with Amir Khan-Marcos Rene Maidana, and, that's with them also having Victor Ortiz on the under card in Las Vegas in December. And you want to do Khan-Judah on July 16 in Las Vegas when it's 110 degrees. That's not the better deal."
If a deal can't be reached in the near future, Duva says Schaefer is threatening to walk away from their negotiations to finalize a deal between Khan and WBA/WBO interim-lightweight champion Robert Guerrero, who is also promoted by Golden Boy.
"Zab basically is saying that he wants a 50-50 split and he wants the fight to be in New Jersey, and that he'll give Khan all of the English money. I mean, he's basically saying that he's being reasonable and that they're being irrational. Richard is saying, 'Well, I'll put him in with Robert Guerrero if you don't take this deal.' Richard's saying, 'Take it or leave it, or I will put him in with Robert Guerrero,' which is a better deal for Richard Schaefer but it's not a better deal for Amir Khan," Duva said.