In a previous post I touched on some of the issues Frank Warren’s stable of boxers have been facing.
And it doesn’t appear to be getting any better for him…
Reports have come out indicating that Ricky Burns has now broken ties with Warren. Ricky and his management team had been making some pretty unhappy noises once news of a delay to his unification bout with Miguel Vasquez broke and were understandably not impressed when a previous bout for Burns was cancelled.
According to The Scotsman:
RICKY Burns, the WBO lightweight champion, has parted company with his long-time promoter Frank Warren, according to the Coatbridge boxer’s manager, Alex Morrison.
The split comes in the wake of Warren rescheduling 29-year-old Burns’ unification bout with IBF champion Miguel Vazquez, from 16 March to 20 April, due to the Mexican having contracted a vital infection, said to have been caused by food poisoning.
But Morrison has questioned the extent of Vazquez’s illness after claiming that footage on YouTube shows the 26-year-old sparring when he was supposed to be laid up in bed.
Morrison said yesterday: “I regret it has come to this because I have known Frank for nearly 40 years, but it has to be for Ricky’s sake. I felt we had to do something to stop Ricky stagnating. Two fights have been called off after he has trained hard for them and it was not even certain that the bout with Vazquez would have gone ahead on 20 April. In fact, I now doubt very much that fight was ever going to happen.”
The obvious short term effect of this is that the bout with Vazquez looks dead in the water. As a fan that’s disappointing. Both Burns and Vazquez have been massively underrated and despite Adrian Broner’s popularity the contest between the two would have determined who the best 135lbs boxer was.
The stories so far have also all been pretty one-sided, coming from Burns’ camp. As far as I know Warren hasn’t commented. I can certainly see this case ending up in litigation if Warren wants to play hardball on it; depending on the various clauses contained in the contract it may not be possible for Burns to simply walk away. Likewise there may not be someone for him to immediately walk to; the most obvious contender is Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sports but in a recent interview he sounded (realistically) cautious about signing too many big name stars. Outside of Hearn the British promotional landscape isn’t particularly deep: Hatton Promotions don’t have a regular TV deal, Frank Maloney has to have his bouts on either Warren’s BoxNation or on the little known Loaded TV and while Hennessy has links with Channel 5 it’s unclear quite how many dates they have (although the lure of a world champion may tempt them in).
Regardless, this is a big blow for Warren. He just lost Groves and now may be losing Burns. That leaves his stable with some pretty big holes in it and the worry that this might cascade down. Nathan Cleverly has seen bouts cancelled and a host of uninspiring opponents put in front of him with no indication that Warren’s talk of high profile bouts with the likes of Hopkins will ever materialise. It also robs Warren’s BoxNation of one of its stars in the short term and that won’t help the bottom line.
I’m sure there’s more to come on this…