Promoter Frank Warren reveals he offered super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch £2.5million to take part in an all British catch-weight contest against light-heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly, but says the Cobra took just half an hour to get back to him rejecting the offer.
Speaking in his latest column Warren also supports the big potential heavyweight clash between David Haye and Tyson Fury which is close to being made for later this year and Warren believes that a fight between Haye and Fury is ‘just about the hottest match-up that can be made in the UK at present and would fill any arena or stadium in the land, generating massive revenue and publicity for the sport.’
“With no annual league or cup competitions, boxing is heavily dependent on the top fighters and promoters striking deals to ensure the biggest match-ups happen and the industry remains buoyant.” said Warren.
“This week, talk in the business has been dominated by three potentially great fights; one a ‘done deal’, one a very live possibility and one, sadly, already dead in the water, so it seems.”
Here are Warren’s views on the potentially Big British boxing match-ups.
Carl Froch v Nathan Cleverly
The latter is the proposed catch weight clash between rival British world champions Nathan Cleverly and Carl Froch. Last week, I made Team Froch a written offer of £2.5million to challenge WBO light-heavy king ‘Clev’ at a compromise weight of 12 stone 4lbs.
Even though Froch’s IBF and WBA super-middle belts would not be at stake, ‘The Cobra’ rejected what would undoubtedly have been one of the highest paydays of his career, barely half an hour after the offer was made!
Pity. It would have provided Froch, a career super-middle, with a gilt edged chance to strengthen his legacy and style himself as a two-weight world champion. Make no mistake, it was champion Cleverly, who began his career down at welterweight, who is prepared to make the greater sacrifices.
Dropping weight is significantly more precarious than adding it. Anyway, Froch could call upon the considerable expertise of the sport scientists at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, where he trains, to optimise the small weight gain.
Physically, there is little to split them. Nathan is half an inch taller, Carl has a fractionally longer reach. Essentially, it would come down to who is the better fighter. I sense Froch knows the answer, hence his reluctance!
I believe Froch-Cleverly would have far more appeal to British fans than a third slug-out between the Midlander and Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler which would simply ascertain who is the second best super-middle on the globe.
And few industry experts give Froch much chance of avenging division leader Andre Ward – who comprehensively schooled him in a drab affair 18 months ago – regardless of location.
Froch-Cleverly, however, would split the trade. The pair has already become embroiled in a few spicy exchanges via social media networks after Nathan aided Kessler’s prep for the Froch rematch.
There is no better way for prizefighters to settle a score than between the ropes. Sadly for fans, Froch is refusing to step up.
David Haye v Tyson Fury
On a more positive front, expect the heavyweight collision between David Haye and Tyson Fury to be confirmed for early autumn very shortly. Fury, a trigger tongued 6ft 9in traveler from Cheshire, is unbeaten in 21 fights with 15 knockouts. He recently forfeited his position as mandatory challenger to European champ Kurbat Pulev of Bulgaria so that negotiations for a bang-up with two-weight world champion Haye could commence.
Haye-Fury represents just about the hottest match-up that can be made in the UK at present. It would fill any arena or stadium in the land, generating massive revenue and publicity for the sport.
The feuding rivals might not be the two best heavyweights on the planet but they’re certainly the most colourful and charismatic. Both bring big followings, heavy fists and huge egos.
A spat between them would attract far more intrigue than any fight involving the dour Klitschko brothers who currently dominate the division.
It’s no secret in the industry that, despite his colossal frame, Fury’s chin is not the stoutest. Twice recently, he’s been dumped on his rump by fighters a league below the division’s elite. Nevertheless, he’d enter a clash against Haye with substantial physical advantages and he’s a talented technician. Does he have the nous and tools to stave off those Hayemakers? Hopefully fans will get to find out shortly.
Congratulations to legendary Sun boxing correspondent Colin Hart who joins me in the International Boxing Hall of Fame this weekend.
Eastender ‘Harty’ has served on the fight beat for 47 years during which period he covered all the greats, most noticeably the incomparable Muhammad Ali.
A man of encyclopedic knowledge and great principle, Colin, now 78, also had a set of balls to match any of the legendary fighters he passed judgement upon. He always wrote it as he saw it which brought him into conflict with all the main promoters and several major fighters.
Back in the 70s, surly George Foreman ‘went’ for Colin who’d refused to extinguish his ‘smoke’ until the then reigning world heavyweight king added a ‘Please’!
In the formative stages of my promotional career, ‘Harty’ and I went nine years without speaking but gradually earned each other’s trust and respect. He remains the only Englishman ever to receive the prestigious Nat Fleischer Award by the Boxing Writers of America.
This weekend, he’ll have a fantastic time among the sports greats at the IBHOF induction ceremony over in Canastota, upstate New York and thoroughly deserves his accolade.
Leon McKenzie, son of former British and European Light-Welterweight Champion Clinton, carries the famous name into the ring again.
The former Norwich City striker will make his pro debut at the relatively late age of 35 next month at the York Hall.
I promoted Leon’s uncle Duke for a period, who later went on to become a successful commentator on ITV when they were in the sport. His other uncle, Winston, was a top amateur, but his career was cut short because of detached retinas and later went into politics.