Frank Warren’s Column – 14.08.2015

posted on: 14/08/2015

Limerick’ loss is Manchester’s gain as Lee and Saunders showdown is switched to a new date and a blockbuster bill.

Switching the WBO World Middleweight title fight between champion Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders from Limerick to Manchester has not been easy decision to make.

Both Lee’s manager Adam Booth, with whom I was co-promoting the event, and myself thought long and hard about disappointing the Irish fans but common sense had to prevail.

With Lee hit by a virus which has interrupted his training, and despite his hope he might shake it off in a couple of weeks, the risk of him not doing so was too great.

It would have been foolhardy to let the fight go ahead on the scheduled date of September 19. You cannot compromise any fighter’s well-being, especially when illness has caused him to lay off his preparations for a while.

Unfortunately October is a very busy month and the nearest date we could get was in November. Knowing that November in rural Ireland is likely to bring rain, wind and freezing temperatures, obviously it was too much of a gamble to stage an open-air show, and in fairness to Billy-Joe, who is training in Spain, he needed to have a firm date.

We are gutted for the Irish fans that we weren’t able to get it on in Limerick. The fight now tops the card at Manchester Arena on October 10 which will be a mouthwatering triple world title bill.

Apart from the Lee and Saunders World Title showdown, Manchester’s own Turbo machine Terry Flanagan, will defend his WBO World Lightweight title against his no 1 contender Diego Magdaleno – a real tough hombre from Las Vegas, where he is promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank.

Magdaleno has a touch of the Mayweather brass neck about him – he labels himself ‘Mr Superb’. This is a mandatory defence for Flanagan against a 28-year-old opponent who has lost only one of his 29 contests and can bang a bit. So I anticipate a real corker.

So not content with just the two, I will also be announcing a further World Title fight for the card at a press conference in Manchester on Monday, where another Brit will get his chance at world glory. This is a another great fight and I’m delighted to get it at home for one of our guys who I’m sure can go on to become a big star.

These three fights top a card that is stacked full of competitive even money fights.

Both Liam Walsh and Jack Catterall will be stepping up in class in fights that will edge them closer to a World Title.

I’ve mentioned here before that young Liam Walsh is for me one of the most underrated boxers in the UK and we are working getting Liam a crack at a World title before Christmas and if he comes through his test on October 10th, he will get his chance to showcase his talents at world level.

The rest of the card sees some make or break fights for many of the boxers I promote.

Coming off of his draw against World Title challenger Frank Buglioni, Lee Markham gets a shot at the Commonwealth Super Middleweight Title against Champion Luke Blackledge in another fight that is extremely tough to call.

Tom Stalker and Craig Evans will face off in an even money contest that on most cards could be considered as a very strong chief support bout.

Lee Beard trained Adrian Gonzalez, steps up in class in a North West derby against John Kays. Adrian will need to be at his best to beat Kays in another pick ‘em fight.

This card is shaping up to be one of the best I’ve ever promoted, and brings back memories of my ‘Full Monty’ cards of the 90’s.

So three World Title fights involving Brits, three top 50:50 domestic clashes and a host of Britain’s next stars all in action at one of the best boxing venue in the country….it truly is a fight card for the fight fan.

Billy Joe Saunders - Andy Lee Press Conference

Tickets go on sale at Midday on Monday and if the presale orders we have received are anything to go by, this should be heading for a sell-out.

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Where does Money Mayweather Rank in the ATG list?

There is no question that over the last two decades Floyd Mayweather Jnr has carved out the unquestionable status as the best fighter of his generation.

He has taking revenue generation in the sport to dizzying new heights and it’s hard to see anyone getting close to making the money he has in the sport again.

The unashamedly confident Floyd recently listed his opinion on the greatest ever five fighters. Unsurprisingly, given he refers to himself often publicly as ‘TBE’ or ‘The Best Ever’, Floyd placed himself at number one on this list.

It’s always difficult to rank fighters across different generations, but I have to say I was a little surprised he put Muhammed Ali down as low as No.5 and left out the man the fighters themselves say really was the greatest of them all, Sugar Ray Robinson. Rocky Marciano, whose 49-0 record, Mayweather will attempt to equal next month, doesn’t get a mention either.

Floyd’s top five are himself, Roberto Duran, Pernell Whitaker, Julio Cesar Chavez and Ali.

Other candidates that perhaps should have got a mention include Sugar Ray Leonard, Henry Armstrong, Marvin Hagler, Willie Pep and Joe Louis.

Mayweather says of himself that he’s beaten more champions than any other fighter and done it in a shorter period of time than any other fighter, creating record-breaking numbers for pay-per-view and taken less punishment than most. I accept that he’s overwhelmingly the best of his era, but the greatest of all time I have to say I’m unsure about.

Mayweather recently named Andre Berto as his opponent for his September fight. I don’t expect Berto to pose a particularly big threat to preventing Floyd from becoming 49-0, however Mayweather fights are always an event, and with this supposedly being his last fight of an illustrious career, the naysayers about his choice of opponent will no doubt be tuning to watch.

It’s interesting to ask the question how Mayweather will be remembered from a legacy standpoint. He beat Manny Pacquiao, in the highest grossing fight of all time, but the fight had unfortunately passed its sell by date by the time they finally got it on.

It’s a shame he hasn’t decided to take on Amir Khan this time, that’s a fight the fans would much rather have seen than him and Berto, and Amir is rarely in a boring fight.

Another dream Mayweather fight would be him against Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin. GGG is obviously boasts massive size advantages, to multi-weight titlist Mayweather and it is hugely unlikely to happen, but back in another era it is the sort of pairing that would have been made, as it was with Leonard and Duran.

Mayweather Pacquiao 2

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Oh yes he Khan

According to Bob Arum Amir Khan can fight a recovering Manny Pacquiao next year, either in Las Vegas or the Middle East, possibly Abu Dhabi. I believe it will happen, and, unless he gets clipped it is a winnable fight for Amir and one that should bring some solace –and a good few quid – after the Mayweather snub.

Amir Khan

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Boxing News Names Jones Jr Best Fighter of last 25 Years

Who is – or was – the best in the business is the most enduring debate in boxing. Indeed, any sport. It is an argument that continues to fascinate and, of course, is always subjective. But I was astonished to see recently that Boxing News named Roy Jones Jnr as the best boxer of the last 25 years.

Although he is unquestionably a legend of the sport, I really wouldn’t place him there. He never really liked to venture much outside his home state of Florida and lost to some of the top men he fought like Joe Calzaghe and Bernard Hopkins. Also Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson managed to knock him out cold in consecutive fights in 2004. Jones also allegedly failed drugs test back in 2000 which also clouds the legitimacy of a claim to be the best fighter of the last 25 years.

Jones will face a Scouser named Tony Moran at Aintree’s Equestrian Centre next month. A fitting venue for an old warhorse.

Tomorrow: Hubbard’s Cupboard on Britain’s best-loved fight figure

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