PROMOTER Frank Warren yesterday claimed that WBA world lightweight champion Anthony Crolla has been offered £500,000 to face the Terry Flanagan-Derry Mathews winner.
Flanagan defends his WBO title against Mathews at the Echo Arena in Liverpool tomorrow night [March 12] while Crolla makes the first defence of his strap against mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso on May 7.
Warren promotes Flanagan and Mathews and despite the rift between he and Crolla’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, feels his offer can ensure they work together.
“We’ve offered Anthony £500,000 to fight the winner and that offer still stands,” he said.
“It’s a real hotbed up here at the moment in this division so let’s find out who the best fighter is in the North West. That fight makes a lot of sense, I know he’s not making that kind of money to fight Barroso so it’s a no brainer. It’s a big pay day for the Anthony and the winner of this fight so let’s get it on.”
Manchester’s Flanagan – who went to the same school as Crolla – has no qualms about travelling to Mathews’ hometown as champion.
While many consider Venezuelan Jorge Linares as the world’s best lightweight, Flanagan is out to prove he is actually the man to beat at 135lbs.
“It’s going to be a good night in Liverpool. I think it’s going to be a bit hostile for me coming from Manchester so it should be a good atmosphere,” he said.
“The hostility doesn’t bother me; not where I’m from! The atmosphere isn’t going to bother me. I’m sure there’s plenty of Scousers out there who want Derry to get beat and loads of Mancs who want to see me lose.
“I think I’m the best lightweight in the world but it’s for you to judge. Obviously I can’t look past Derry but when I come through Saturday they’re the kind of fights I want to prove that I’m the best.”
Interestingly, Mathews agrees with Flanagan but plans to supplant his domestic rival in what he feels will be a barnstormer.
“I’m in this game to fight the best and Terry Flanagan is the best; he’s the world champion. On Saturday I want people to say I’m the best when I beat him to become the world champion,” he said.
“I think mine and Terry’s styles gel well so it’s going to be an exciting fight. We’re both putting it all on the line and neither of us are going to run away from each other. We both like to have a bit of a fight.
“I don’t care how I win as long as I win. If it goes early it goes early, if it goes to points it goes to points. As long as I have a new belt around my waist and my arms raised that’s all I care about. I’m here to fight and if I stick to my game plan I win the fight.”