FRANK WARREN claims rival promoter Eddie Hearn “has no respect for the sport” after his “stupid” decision to stage Amir Khan’s April 21 comeback on the same night that Warren promotes Carl Frampton’s Belfast showdown with Nonito Donaire.
It was announced on Tuesday this week that Frampton will take on Donaire in an appealing featherweight 12-rounder that will be broadcast in the UK by BT Sport and BoxNation. The following day came Matchroom’s news that Khan would make his return on the same night, on Sky Sports, at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
Boxing News understands that Hearn was finalising the Khan deal, with the venue already booked, when news broke about Frampton-Donaire. Neither promoter, despite it likely splitting the potential viewing figures in half, will change dates.
“We announced ours first,” Warren told Boxing News, “we’re not going to change the date because Khan is now fighting on the same night.
“What I will say is that we’ve got a real fight in Frampton and Donaire. Let’s face it, Khan will be fighting a stiff whereas we’ve got two live fighters.”
The Hall of Fame promoter admitted that he had been in talks with Khan, who began his career under Warren’s guidance, about staging his comeback before the former WBA and IBF super-lightweight boss opted to go with Hearn.
“Khan approached me,” Warren explained. “He wanted to fight Manny Pacquiao and that’s something we could have done. We had him [Khan] in his early days and we had some good nights with him, so we made him an offer but he obviously chose another route.
“Khan’s value of himself does not match our value of him – he’s been out of the ring for two years and he’s coming off a knockout loss.
“But he’s done his deal, and good luck to him.”
Warren added that he’d be happy to allow his welterweight Bradley Skeete take on Khan on April 21, but he did not expect Amir to take on “anyone with a pulse” in his first fight back. Yesterday, Hearn promised Khan’s opponent will be announced next week and would not be a “knockover”.
Whoever is to blame for the two fights taking place on the same night, it should be seen as a blow for the fans – and Sky Sports and BT Sport, who will both see significantly lower audiences as a consequence of the clash.
“It’s a stupid decision,” said Warren. “You wouldn’t have Manchester United and Manchester City playing in separate matches at the same time on two different channels would you? It just shows he [Hearn] has got no respect for the sport. It’s so stupid.”
Stupid, short-sighted or just plain pig-headed, it certainly highlights the need for promoters to communicate with each other.