Boxing manager, Sam Jones, joins Boxing Social to discuss and dissect what’s going on in the sport. In this column he covers the fall out from the purse bid that never was between Fabio Wardley and Frazer Clarke, the return of Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez, Joe Joyce opting to run it back with Zhilei Zhang and his man, Jack Catterall, being ready to take on the top dogs.
Frazer Clarke deserved better in the Fabio Wardley purse bid situation
It was disappointing to see the news that BOXXER had pulled Frazer Clarke out of the purse bid for a shot at Fabio Wardley’s British Heavyweight title. First thing’s first, this is not the fault of Frazer. I’ve known him for years – he’s game as a badger and he really would fight anybody.
I got wind that this was going to happen a couple of days before. I think that BOXXER has made a decision not to participate in the purse bid because, effectively, they didn’t want to risk losing it to Matchroom. You could see Eddie Hearn going all out to secure the fight for his man Wardley.
So BOXXER have gone in through the back door to try and make it happen, but they’ve lowballed him. According to Fabio, they offered him less than what he got for his last fight against Michael Coffie. They refute this. Ultimately, it was never going to happen. It was just a waste of everyone’s time and a sad situation.
Yes, I watched Ben Shalom’s most recent interview with Sky. He suggested that Frazer needs a ten-rounder to gain experience. The man touted for the other corner is Harry Armstrong. How is that gaining experience? What if he has two or three more fights and knocks them all out inside four rounds?
The fact is, the fight is hot right now and fans are excited. The opportunity for a big scrap and an even bigger pay day has been taken away. I understand they want it in September, but things change and it might not be there. What if Fabio loses between now and then? Boxing’s constantly failing to strike when the iron is hot and this is yet another frustrating case of that.
Maybe Ben should just come out and say we don’t want Frazer to fight on DAZN. He would probably get less stick for just being honest. Frazer Clarke deserves better. Simply put, he’s just not been backed in this situation, which is sad. I hope Solomon Dacres gets the fight with Fabio next, or David Adeleye, and then Frazer does eventually get his moment. He deserves it.
Is Canelo still the face of boxing?
There’s a debate going on about who’s the ‘face of boxing’, and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was asked about it before he beat a wildly brave John Ryder. He reckons he is, and I believe he’s well up there still. I think it’s between him and Gervonta Davis now. You saw at the weekend Canelo is still a massive draw – 60,000 people in his home country after a decade of fighting away, it was something else.
I’d be interested to see the rematch with Bivol and how much interest it pulls in, but a fight I’d like to see more is David Benavidez. I’m not sure we’re going to get it. That’s not because I think Canelo will duck him – that’s not in his make up – I just think he may say ‘what has Benavidez really done to deserve this?’
So yes, he’s potentially still the face of boxing, but it’s not just about selling tickets – it’s about who he fights, and it’s a very interesting fork in the road for him now.
Activating the Zhilei Zhang rematch was the only option for Joe Joyce
I know Joe very well. Not only did I represent him, but he’s a very close friend of mine. He’s 37-years-old now, so in my opinion the rematch with Zhang is his only option.
As for the first fight, the best man won on the night, for sure, but that wasn’t Joe in there. There’s certain things I’d like to see him do before they run it back. First up, he needs elite-level sparring. I’d like to see him spar Bakhodir Jalolov. He should come in a stone heavier, too – his normal fighting weight.
It’s all in the preparation, and I’m incredibly confident if he gets that right, Joe will get the job done the second time around.
The return of Jack Catterall
We’ve got a big fight for Jack Catterall against Darragh Foley, who’s coming off a TKO win over Robbie Davis Jr. Jack’s been out a long time, and it’s a good level for his return. It’s another southpaw after facing Josh Taylor last year.
After that, there are some massive fights out there. I’m already in discussions with Matchroom to make them happen. He’s going to be in the ring three times over the next nine months – it’s going to be fantastic for a career that’s been held up after the Taylor fight. I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Jack’s going to be a world champion within the next year.
The 140lb division is absolutely booming, and the best thing about Jack Catterall is he will fight anybody – and fans will see that. He’s excited that his name’s going to be in the mix to fight these champions and top names. You’ve got Devin Haney potentially moving up, Teofimo Lopez as well, Ryan Garcia – all these fights could happen in the near future.
Regis Prograis has just signed with Matchroom, so that’s an easy one to make. To be honest, that’s the fight Jack particularly wants. The Josh Taylor rematch is always going to be there too. We all know what happened in that fight, and I’m sure they’ll run it back one day.