“Good morning Mr Galahad, or is it just Barry? How was your weekend? That’s a shame. Well if you’d like to take a step back from the camera so we can take your photo and fill out this form, we’ll complete your membership to the Who Needs Him club. If there’s any problems, don’t hesitate to ask.”
I have to feel for Kid Galahad. Personally, I thought he did just about enough to nick the win over Josh Warrington; 115-113 for me, in Leeds on Saturday night. The win would have seen him become the new IBF world featherweight champion. However, a close split decision defeat has put him squarely in the ‘Who Needs Him’ club.
There are plenty of sayings in boxing which are brought up on a regular basis to sum fights up. “Styles Make Fights” is the usual phrase and a great excuse for a difficult fight to watch – as Saturday certainly was – but the one to sum up Galahad’s night is “The challenger has to do a little bit more”.
It shouldn’t be the case, the right man should always get the nod, but that would be the description for a perfect world. Boxing couldn’t be further from that utopia. Galahad’s defeat was not a robbery. You could switch the scorecards round and the reaction would be the same. “I’m glad I don’t have to sit through that again!”
But for Josh Warrington to lose in Leeds would take a real standout performance. That arena is something else when it gets going and enough to make judges think twice about how to score rounds. Especially when they are as tight as a Yorkshireman gripping a fiver.
Warrington winning was what was “Best for Business”. Yes, another of those phrases we like to drag up. Galahad was negative, he held a lot, but he wasn’t the only one. Warrington was the man pressing forward and he seemed all at sea when the Sheffield man switched to southpaw. “A case of what you prefer”.
The Leeds man is still the champion, plus he has the backing of former Ingle Gym star and Hall of Famer “Prince” Naseem Hamed; a fact that won’t have escaped Galahad, who has professed to being the heir apparent to Hamed and idolises the “Prince”.
It’s all well and good saying you are the next Hamed, but you have to back it up. Hamed was in the same position once. He had to go into the lion’s den and unseat the champion in front of a hostile crowd. Unlike, Galahad though, Hamed produced the goods, and then some, to rip his world title, also at featherweight, from the grasp of Cardiff’s Steve Robinson.
Galahad arguably did what he had to do and beat Warrington. He might have outboxed his Yorkshire rival, but he couldn’t outbox the business. The business always finds a way to win, as Galahad found out on Saturday night.
Warrington will now move on and target a unification he richly deserves. His last two performances, both times as a big underdog, were outstanding – but he was flat and had a difficult night against Galahad. You can say he’s earned a gimme, so maybe he got away with one the other night. Depending on how you scored it.
But the path for Galahad is not quite so smooth sailing. He’s awkward and isn’t the sort of fighter that casual fans, and many more hardcore fans, are clamouring to watch. He hasn’t exactly been given the star treatment by his promoters at Matchroom either. After all they didn’t even put a bid in for his world title eliminator with Toka Kahn Clary, which was ironically won by Frank Warren for a modest $20k sum.
Yes, it still took place on a Matchroom show in the end, but still not the show of faith you’d expect from a promoter that was handed an alleged $1bn deal by broadcast partner DAZN. It was also a surprise to see Galahad is actually promoted by Matchroom, who have barely even acknowledged he was one of their fighters. Usually there is a big push for one of their own fighting for a world title. This time they barely raised an eyebrow.
It’s a shame for Galahad, who hasn’t exactly helped himself over the years. His cocky attitude and failed drug test hasn’t endeared him to fans, despite his obvious talent. The world title opportunity is what all fighters get in the sport for: and Galahad’s chance has come and possibly gone.
No world champion is going to pick him for a voluntary defence. He won’t bring much of an audience and the TV executives won’t have been thrilled. The only bonus from Saturday for fans was at least it wasn’t PPV. That would have been a real kick in the teeth.
Galahad will now have to plot a new route and become the mandatory for another of the featherweight champions. Leo Santa Cruz, Gary Russell Jr. and Oscar Valdez will have barely shuddered in their boots after that performance – from both men.
The Sheffield man will have to put some pressure on his missing promoter Eddie Hearn to get him back up to the top. He clearly belongs in the upper echelons of the division, but he will become barely a footnote if he goes back to eight rounders against Nicaraguans on Kell Brook undercards, which are hardly a hot ticket now. In short, and to put it bluntly: no one will care.
Hearn loves a final eliminator for a mandatory position. He always has and regularly had them as the headline fights in his early days as the main man at Matchroom Boxing. But now his focus appears to be on rescuing Anthony Joshua’s career and building the brand in America.
The quality of UK cards has been poor this year and it sometimes feels like an afterthought. Hopefully he gets it back on track, but Galahad won’t be a priority. Talent isn’t always enough – and for Barry from Sheffield, he simply isn’t what is best for business.
Article by: Matt Bevan
Follow Matt on Twitter at: @Matt_Bevan68