ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 2.4.17
Eddie Hearn’s surely tongue-in-cheek suggestion that the bravely defeated but sadly devalued Anthony Crolla would require a million pounds for a Manchester derby punch-up with WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan reminds me of the tale told by the late, great promoter, manager and matchmaker Mickey Duff about when he was a young small hall hustler.
An old school manager named Jack Burns had a useful light-heavyweight from Trinidad, Yolande Pompey, who had fought and lost to Archie Moore in 1956 but then happened to knock out washed-up former world middleweight champion Randolph Turpin two years later.
Duff promptly offered him top billing for a fight at London’s York Hall but was informed by Burns: “Sorry Mickey, we’re big time now, it is only Wembley and the big arenas for us from now on.”
Pompey went on to fight the redoubtable Dick Tiger at Wembley, lost and three more defeats followed in quick succession.
Duff then received a call from Burns: “Mickey, we’re ready for you now,” he intoned.
Well, no doubt Crolla and Hearn are ready for Flanagan, but The Turbo now has bigger fish to fight, beginning with a meaningful fifth title defence against the Russian hard nut Petr Petrov at the Manchester Arena next Saturday.
For once, it seems Fast Eddie was too slow on the uptake.
Duff, who died three years ago last week, aged 84, was one of British boxing’s all-time legends, perhaps the shrewdest there’s ever been at putting fights together. And he knew it. He once memorably said of a rival matchmaker: “He couldn’t match the cheeks of his own backside.”
Feud for thought
I go back a long way with Amir Khan, first watching him as a schoolboy champion, then our youngest-ever Olympic medallist through to his world title ups and downs. Over the years I got to know him and his folk well.
So I feel great sadness that news of the acrimonious family split has featured so prominently in the public prints.
If what Amir says is true, that those close to him have walked away after his shattering ko by Canelo Alvarez, believing that the gravy train has come to a halt, it is a quite shocking state of affairs.
Amir once told me that he felt he was something of a cash cow, financially supporting a dozen family members and friends who formed an entourage almost as huge as Muhammad Ali’s.
But I believe there is even more to it than that. Since his marriage to a very modern young American Muslim woman he has become more his own man, less dependent on his best friend Saj and the Khan clan’s traditional values and involvement with his career.
I am not sure where Amir, now 30, goes from here but despite some youthful aberrations he’s a terrific person who continues to do wonders for charity and race relations and I wish him well.
Hopefully he still has plenty of fight left in him.
It is by no means the first time a family affair in boxing has become a feud. There was Ricky Hatton’s bitter financial dispute with his father and before that Naseem Hamed’s serious spat with his meddling brothers.
You can’t help wondering how long it will be before the family Eubank falls out, can you?
Saunders fit to bust Triple G?
James DeGale proved an entertaining and quotable lunch guest for the Boxing Writers Club at Soho’s Little Italy this week.
The 2008 Olympic gold medallist and now IBF super-world middleweight champion has matured into a much more personable character and has greater fan appreciation from the time when he was booed in Birmingham on his professional debut.
The man who once said he was like Marmite is now far more loved than loathed.
What I found particularly intriguing though was the response of DeGale’s long-time trainer Jim McDonnell when asked which boxer he thought would give Chunky most problems. “A fully fit Billy Joe Saunders,” he replied instantly, adding “And I’d take him to beat Gennady Golovkin – but he must be fully fit.”
Well, it does seem that under the uncompromising Adam Booth regime BJS really is getting back into shape. Maybe that is why Triple G’s team are prevaricating over signing a deal.
Here come the judges
Interesting to note that all three ringside judges for the Linares-Crolla world title fight were from overseas – a departure from the usual insistence the Board of Control that at least one judge and the ref must be British.
Will it be the same for Manchester’s world title double-header, we wonder? And if so is it the result of the much-criticised arithmetic aberration by home arbiter Ian John Lewis scoring the recent Gavin McDonnell- Vargas scrap a draw?
Terry Flanagan (@terryflanagan5)
My name was like a swear word on sky last night 😂😂 they all must get told what ever you do don’t mention terry Flanagan
If @GGGBoxing gonna duck the fight love to fight @RealMiguelCotto 💯
They said what?…
Golovkin says his dream is to hold all the belts, well we can make his dream a reality. All he needs to do is sign the contract. Wherever and whenever they want. Billy is a traveller by name and nature so will fight him anywhere – Kazakhstan, America or England.But we’re not going to keep waiting. If something is not done in the next ten days we’re going to have move on….its time to put up or shut up
Promoter Frank Warren puts his- and Billy Joe Saunders’ -cards on the table
If he’s really real, like he’s says he is, if you really want to fight, just sign the paper. Conor McGregor, stop blowing smoke up everyone’s arse. if you want to fight, let’s make the fight happen
Floyd Mayweather jnr is equally adamant that the time for pussyfooting is over
If you subscribe to BoxNation it shows you are a good boxing fan and know what you’re getting. It is more about fights than hype, like me, and I say time and time again, I am not one to start saying I’m going to do this or that, then start kissing in the ring at the end of the fight
What you see is what you get as far as WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan is concerned
It was like two friends having a spar. They had far too much respect for each other
A rare example of critcical appraisal by a Sky pundit on the disappointing Brian Rose-Jack Arnfieldd ‘Battle of Blackpool.’ But will Tony Bellew be asked back?