ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 1.11.15
By Alan Hubbard
2015 has been a belting year for Frank Warren and his team at Queensberry Promotions and BoxNation, and it is finishing with quite a flourish.
At the WBO convention in Orlando last week Warren was once again named European Promoter of the Year with Jason McClory picking up awards as both European and Intercontinental Matchmaker of the Year and Terry Flanagan WBO Fighter of the Year
And the blistering Frank Buglioni-Lee Markham scrap at Wembley was declared Fight of the Year.
Allied to this has been the Warren stable’s acquisition of two new WBO world champions in Flanagan and Liam Smith and the staging of some of the most evenly-matched contests in the land culminating with the 50-50 Andy Lee-Billy Joe Saunders WBO world middleweight title fight in Manchester on December 19.
Warren professes himself ’thrilled and honoured’ as does his energetic matchmaker, who succeeded the late, great Dean Powell and has created a large number of even-money fights, which have been televised live on BoxNation.
Several young British fighters, promoted by Warren and given their chance to display their skills by McClory have gone on to become world, European and Intercontinental title holders.
Hall of Famer Warren, of course, has been a familiar figure in on the the big fight scene for three decades but McClory is one of those invaluable backroom boys of boxing who while celebrated within the game are relatively unknown to most punters.
A heavyweight in every sense. Big Mac hails from Skegness – hardly a hotbed of fisticuffs – but boxed in the Army and later showed his entrepreneurial skills in Sweden where he developed property and clothing businesses and began managing fighters once Sweden lifted he ban on pro boxing.
Badou Jack, who beat George Groves in a recent world super-middleweight title fight was among his early charges.
Back in Britain McClory , who himself promotes small hall shows, made more than 500 international matches for numerous promoters, among them Mick Hennessy and Frank (now Kellie) Maloney before joining Warren after the tragic death of Dean Powell.
“I owe so much to Dean,” he tells us. “He opened the doors for me. To win the same award as he did is an honour and I’m proud to be continuing the good work he started.”
McClory says the art of good matchmaking is “bringing together the right fighters at the right time.”
He adds: ”Working for Frank you are not a one-shot merchant. You are in charge if a plan for developing that fighter and give any assistance and backing he needs to make it to the top. You also need to spend a lot of time around fighters and watch endless fights.”
It was McClory who first brought Flanagan into the realm of BoxNation so he is doubly delighted that The Turbo should be lauded alongside him by the WBO.
Yesterday in Hubbard’s Cupboard I wrote about ‘dream fights that might have been. So I thought it appropriate to ask the master matchmaker to name the contest he would most like to have made had it been possible.
His answer is a little surprising. Not for him Ali v Tyson, Robinson v Leonard or, my personal pick, Golovkin v Monzon.
He selects James Toney v Nigel Benn, explaining: “They were around as super-middleweights at the same time in the nineties but never met. Had they done so it would have been a fantastic fight, a real war. Both were great boxers who could also really hit. I’d like to think Benn would have won as I was a massive fan of his.”
Some match indeed – but that’s the name of McClory’s game.
All systems Ogogo for Singh
India’s first-ever pro boxer, multi-medalled middleweight Vijender Singh, who made such a dazzling debut in Manchester last month, reckons he has a score to settle against a one-time English amateur rival.
He was pipped to the gold medal at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games by England’s Anthony Fowler, but the defeat he really wants to avenge is the highly controversial loss to another Anthony – Ogogo – in his homeland at the Delhi Games in 2010.
Leading 3-0 in his semi-final clash with Ogogo, Singh was twice docked two points by the ringside judges, which saw him lose 4-3.
“I remember the points deductions very well, but that sometimes happens in sport,” he said. “You have good days, you have bad days, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. .But if I get the chance I’d love to fight him again – one hundred per cent.”
Could it happen down the line? Why not? It is certainly a saleable match.
Ogogo, who went on to win bronze at the 2012 London Olympics is undefeated as a pro after signing with Golden Boy. However he was last seen being ko’d in the first round – on the dance floor- in the BBC’s Strictly.
Obviously quick-stepping Singh would now like to put him on his own ring dance list.
Last week Singh was guest of Labour MP Keith Vaz at the House of Commons and today travels to Vaz’s Leicester East constituency where he will switch on the Diwali lights along the Belgrave Road in front of an estimated crowd of 50,000 people.
He then flies to Ireland ahead of his second professional contest, which sees him face Nottingham fireman Dean Gillen at Dublin’s National Stadium on Saturday.
“I’m looking forward to returning to Ireland,” he says.”I spent a month there training with the Irish Olympic team ahead of the London 2012 Olympics. I know quite a few Irish boxers as well so it will be nice to go back there and fight as a professional.”
No more making Haye?
Having closed down his south London gym underneath the railway arches at Vauxhall, and dismantled and sold off the ring (for a reported £60,000 plus) it hardly seems likely that David Haye is inclined to carry out his vow to fight again.
He has not fought since he knocked out Dereck Chisora at Upton Park in the summer of 2012 but has repeatedly insisted he has not retired.
Having just turned 35, the Hayemaker certainly seems to be enjoying the celebrity circuit though friends say he is in shape and is keeping a watchful eye on the outcome of the Wladimir Klitschko-Tyson Fury fight in Dusseldorf later this month. Should Fury win Haye surely will be shouting the odds for a title shot but after Haye twice pulled the plug on scheduled fights with him Fury is likely to tell him to get stuffed.
In any case there is a clause in his contract with Klitschko which stipulates that Fury must return to Germany for a re-match in the event of victory.
Far more likely is that if he is tempted back, Haye will face Anthony Joshua late next year.
No first here for ladies
Interesting sidelight on the Terence Crawford–Dierry Jean fight in Omaha last weekend: did you note that two of the three ringside judges were women? There was also a female presence in Crawford’s back-up team, too.
It is a growing aspect of the fight game in the US, where virtually every major contest in any state has at least one female judge.
I have no problem with that, though some do. But how long will it be before British women are allowed to judge pro fights in this country? Years I suspect – if ever.
The Board of Control have licensed women as promoters, managers seconds and doctors but not as judges or perish the thought, referees! And I gather there are no plans to do so.
However the Board do have to accept female officials from overseas if appointed for title fights by the various world governing bodies.
The fans are booing, Jim, but what did they expect?
What Sky commentor Nick Halling failed to recognise was that the fans did not expect to be short-changed by Chris Eubank jnr’s opponent turning out to be such a patsy for a top-of-the-bill fight.
Manny told me this would be his last fight and I’m not sad about it because he’s going on to a political career which will require a lot of mental acuity, so you don’t want him to stay in boxing too long. If he stays in boxing a little too long his mental faculties might be somewhat impaired.
Promoter Bob Arum says Pacquiao’s insistence on making his next fight his last makes sense.
‘Floyd Mayweather is RETIRED, end of discussion.
Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, puts to bed any notion that Pacquiao’s final fling could be a return with the Money Man – or any man.
Look at that guy Katie over there, what was his name? Frank Maloney. I love Frank Maloney and I’m happy and relieved that he can come out and be what he wants to be.
Don King needs reminding that Maloney now wants to be Kellie, not Katie (or Frank)
Tomorrow: Pro-File features the first of an exclusive and revealing two-part interview with world title challenger Billy Joe Saunders