So this past weekend WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan successfully defended his belt against Euro champ Paul McCloskey.
This of course isn’t the story here, and it never was.
Certainly not since Team Khan refused Sky’s proposal to host the fight on Sky Sports 3, after dropping it from their box office schedule. The decision by Sky made logical financial sense, in that with many people travelling from the North West (Manchester and Khan’s hometown of Bolton) over the weekend for the FA Cup Semi Finals.
Sales would simply suffer, especially box office for a fight that had little or no appealing undercard, with Tyson Fury’s proposed fight with former Heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman scrapped.
This wouldn’t have happened on a Frank Warren show, say what you want about the Londoner, but he does know how to put on ‘event’ boxing in the UK. The mind boggles to what sort of shows Warren and David Haye could have put together in unison, with Haye of course headlining.
Anyway back to reality, the arrogance shown by Team Khan for straight up snubbing Sky’s offer down, only left them no other offer but to turn to niche box office host Primetime. So effectively they were paying Sky to host their event, as Primetime hire their recording equipment from Sky. Business sense? Not a shred.
With regards to PR, it was a full-blown disaster for Khan, who was also outnumbered fan-wise in the MEN Arena on the night. Put simply he has never taken the time out to build a solid fan base in the UK, so bold claims of fighting in America, specifically Vegas seem premature.
A lot of the UK’s biggest boxers always had loyal home country support before set sailing for pastures new. Frank Bruno, Barry McGuigan, Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton and to some extent Joe Calzaghe and Lennox Lewis all had solid support whereas mainstream popularity continues to elude Khan.
The Marcos Maidana fight helped to raise Khan’s profile in the US, but what sort of impact would it have had on his own popularity had it been in the UK?
Lest we forget Amir has great marketability, with the speed and power to compete at the top-level of the light-welter tree. Couple this with a weak chin, adding the vulnerability factor and you have a star in the making.
It echoes what David Haye brings to the table, but he has marketed himself well, and also managed to get on Sky’s good side. This is where it would cost Khan in the long run.
He needs Sky more than Sky needs him. There is only one place UK fans would want to see his proposed unification bout with Timothy Bradley; Sky.
But why? They do their promotions right, and deserve knighting for brainwashing the UK public (myself included) into believing Audley Harrison had a chance against Haye in November.
Bradley-Khan needs to be an event, and only Sky in the UK can make it that. The message is simple to Khan; reach for the Sky, and if they offer an olive branch, grab it with both hands.