Frank Warren is a very proud man, so it’s no surprise he took offense to last week’s issue, writes Matt Christie
IT WAS great to see some quality boxing at York Hall on Friday night and it was no surprise to hear that promoter Frank Warren slipped the release when IFL TV called him. He is a proud, passionate and hardworking man who has always strived to deliver quality.
We gave the event two stars in our preview last week because we felt it lacked depth for a TV show. In short, the left side of the bill had a cumulative loss of one loss and the right side 147. Yet it exceeded our expectations, largely because the underdogs were mostly capable and ambitious.
We understand why Frank found the two stars tough. For over 40 years, we’ve been used to seeing Warren, one of the biggest promoters, produce mostly good events. Given the Bethnal Green setting, perhaps we should have judged it purely for what it was – a televised show in a small venue – as opposed to a show from a Hall of Fame promoter who has hosted some of the best nights in this country. Because as a small venue show, even on paper it was better than the vast majority of what we get now.
While we only occasionally get the winners wrong in our previews, it’s not so easy to predict whether the fights themselves will be entertaining, especially when an 8-0 British prospect takes on an unknown 3-35-1 visitor. But we’ve seen enough boxing and gone through enough reports in its 113-year history to know that this is rarely a recipe for fight of the year.
Some of the bouts we thought were five-star worthy — like last weekend’s third fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin — actually turn out to be two-star bouts. Therefore, for balance and fairness, we offer star ratings before and after events. However, it is fair to note that an event with numerous 50/50 fights will always be viewed more favorably than a card with prospects versus pioneers. Still, we can understand why Frank was furious – a poor preview can affect ticket sales and TV viewing figures. That’s never the goal. We want every show to appeal to as many people as possible, we don’t enjoy the opposite. This means that every TV promoter in the UK has put on poor matches in recent months that simply should not be televised; it’s our job to highlight it.
“I think the trade magazine is disrespectful. Was it a two-star show? Did all the fans think it was a two-star show? Warren said before referring to a recent issue when we highlighted the high percentage of contests between ticket sellers and traveling men now. “And that the stupid talk they’ve been making about boxers, boxers and records. Do they not understand the training of young fighters, their craft and vocational training?
We have long recognized the importance of young boxers learning their trade and the vital role in that education. However, we did try to emphasize that more and more shows now barely have a single fight. This observation was not made with Frank Warren in mind.
“I can’t even believe these people [Boxing News] they’re in boxing, they’re clueless, absolutely clueless, clueless, no wonder they can’t sell any publications of the damn thing,” Warren continued. “I think it’s so disrespectful to the fighters and the crap we did to them at Wembley, all the crap we banned people from, just blatant lies that they didn’t even put in the magazine when I wrote to them. They’re dishonest, totally dishonest and not worth wrapping your fish and chips in.
For what it’s worth, we printed Warren’s explanation of why BN and so many others ended up in the stands for April’s Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte showdown, a bout we previously gave five stars but didn’t quite live up to. that settlement in the end was such Fury’s dominance.
But Warren is entitled to his opinion, just as we are entitled to ours. At BN, we continue to strive for a better sport, while fully aware that not everyone will like our opinions. The moment we try to please everyone by simply being a mouthpiece for promoters, we completely lose sight of what we have stood for since 1909.
We have no doubt Warren will change, too. And neither should he. What he continues to do at the age of 70 is truly incredible. The passion he has for his craft is largely unrivaled, as evidenced by his ranting about Boxing News, which he considers inferior to a takeaway.