What is your proudest achievement in the sport?
Stewart Hale, Facebook
That’s a difficult one. From being involved in boxing from the late seventies, with some fighters who have done well and others not so well, and guys that have made a lot of money out of the sport who have set their families up [financially] – that’s a success story in itself. I’ve done okay along the way but it is a tough business. But overall, my immediate knee-jerk is to say BoxNation, and all the people that are involved in making this a success story. We’re four years old in September and everyone said it wouldn’t last four weeks.
Who was the best British boxer that you’ve ever promoted?
Carlton Knox, Facebook
On his record, it’s got to be Joe Calzaghe. On his ability, it’s Naz [Hamed]. But in the end he neglected his ability. But he was the most talented, the most exciting and he just didn’t live the life unfortunately; outside influences screwed his career up. That said, he thoroughly deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. He beat everybody there was to beat – people vacated titles to fight him. Because of the way things were then we were paying people to vacate. Had he have lived the life he would have achieved even more. Joe [Calzaghe] did extremely well as we all know, but he could have done much better. Some of the fights he had to pull out of, the way he prepared – not properly wrapping his hands – affected him but in my time, he’s the best British boxer. He had some easy defences, like many champions, but people forget how many good fighters he beat.
What would have happened if Carl Froch had fought Joe Calzaghe?
Jane Foster, Facebook
Calzaghe would have been too quick and too smart. He would have done to Froch what he did to Jeff Lacy and that’s no disrespect to Froch. But I looked at the problems Froch had with Jermain Taylor, Andre Dirrell, even Jean Pascal, and I just wonder what Joe would have done to him. Calzaghe at his best would have beaten Froch and Nigel Benn. Every day of the week.
Which fighter has been the hardest to work with?
Andy Bass, Facebook
The hardest one I’ve worked with recently, and it’s not the fighter, is Chris Eubank Jnr. His father [Chris Eubank Snr] has his own way of doing things. The kid [Eubank Jnr] is a really decent fighter. I got him the fight against Dmitry Chudinov for the Interim [WBA] world title, off a loss [to Billy Joe Saunders] because I thought he would win. I did that, talked him into it, not his old man. But it’s created a monster and I think it’s a great shame for Junior because he’s a really talented fighter who has been inactive. The people around him don’t understand boxing and how it works. They don’t understand you have to have time to make a fight, to promote it, to market it and sell the tickets. I’m not prepared to take the risks [on him not fighting] with huge sums of money. I’ve done a fabulous job for that boy. But you know, boxing is what it is, you’re dealing with all types of people. There’s been a lot of disappointments but I don’t focus on that. I focus on the success stories and that’s what keeps you going.
Who’s the best promoter you’ve worked with?
Anthony Cook, Facebook
From my generation it’s Don King and Bob Arum. Bob is a very, very astute guy. He’s created and built markets – like the Hispanic market, and he’s done the same thing in the Far East. Look at his age and his intelligence and he’s still there, still doing it, and he’s doing it better than most. Don is fearless in business. He was one of those that would do the deal and then he’d go and sell the deal. In his prime, he was phenomenal.
If you could pick one fighter from the past or present that you wish you had promoted who would it have been?
Sugar Ray Leonard. He was a big hero of mine and I really enjoyed watching him. From a promoter’s point of view, he’s a promoter’s dream – like Muhammad Ali was. The press have access to him, there’s not all this bullshit with agents. The reason Leonard is so popular, that he’s an icon, is because he was so accessible. He was a man of the people. A lot of today’s top boxers should look at that and take note. Leonard and Ali, they’re the guys I’d love to promote.
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