IT’S A MUG’S GAME FOR THE EUBANKS
By Frank Warren
Vijender Singh returns to the ring in New Delhi this afternoon for the eighth fight of his short professional journey so far and we thought we had come up with the ideal opponent for him.
The boxer in question holds an 11-1 record, was beaten by a fellow prospect three fights ago and holds a title of sorts.
He didn’t take up the offer, yet this week we discovered he will indeed be venturing out of his home country to fight for the first time early next year.
You are probably getting my drift by now.
Yes, our early pick for a learning fight for Vijender will now be headlining on ITV’s entry into the world of pay-per-view boxing against that fearless warrior Chris Eubank jnr.
This is the same Eubank who wouldn’t fight Tommy Langford because, apparently, he is so dangerous and might’ve done some damage to the world ranked middleweight.
But seemingly he is not so concerned about taking on Renold Quinlan, the novice Aussie, whose only win of any note came against the 35-year-old Daniel Geale.
Of course it is good news that another major player is broadcasting boxing and I understand there will be a mixture between free-to-air action on ITV4 and pay-per-view.
However, let’s get it right, this first fight is a joke in more ways than one. The biggest liberty is that it is being proposed as a pay-per-view fight – it is conning the public.
Eubank says he wants all the big fights. He wants to fight Billy Joe Saunders, wants to fight Golovkin. For both fights he received contracts and chose not to sign them.
It is yet more cynical bullshit from the Eubank camp. They won’t be answerable to it, they will get their publicity and they don’t care. They think the public are mugs.
I am afraid it will be true to say that anyone who does buy into this fight will unfortunately fall into that category.
Meanwhile, Vijender will get a decent test against the well seasoned Francis Cheka at the Thyagaraj Stadium and it is one he must pass because the plan is to really step him up next year and ultimately fight for a world title in India.
The personable 31-year-old really has proved a massive hit since launching professional boxing in his homeland. His opening night back in July was witnessed in person by senior politicians and Bollywood movie stars, as well as attracting a bumper crowd to the venue.
Bearing in mind his age and amateur experience, Vijender needs to take a few short-cuts to the top, but he has the pedigree to do just that.
So in hindsight, perhaps Renold Quinlan wouldn’t have provided him with the challenge he requires at this stage of his career.
This weekend, live on BoxNation, The Executioner makes the final cut on an incredible boxing story that has spanned four decades.
Bernard Hopkins, at a sprightly and spiteful 51, calls time on a career that surely has him marked down as a modern great of the sport.
I simply couldn’t have imagined when we journeyed over to Las Vegas with Joe Calzaghe back in April 2008 that Hopkins would still be trading punches to this day.
He has been a tremendous fighter and a superb servant to the sport.
He is a guy who absolutely turned his life around from being in prison, a shining example of the advantages of staying in condition. Hopkins is living proof that, if you live the right life, you can enjoy a longer career if that is what you want to do.
When you adopt his attitude to the game, you can have the longevity, but you will also always be at your best.
I always believed Joe had the beating of him at the Thomas & Mack Center and he did so clearly in my view, also hurting him along the way.
Having said that, he went on to do what Joe wouldn’t and that was to fight Kelly Pavlik. If Joe had done the same he would have been a huge star in America.
Hopkins’ swansong won’t necessarily be a straightforward one because Joe Smith jnr has got something about him, as demonstrated in his first round flattening of Andrzej Fonfara last time out in Illinois.
Hopkins, however, has mixed at an altogether different level and should possess the ringcraft to make it a fitting finale before making his well-earned exit from the sharp end of the sport and a deserved entry into the Hall of Fame.