PAUL McCLOSKEY remains ‘blissfully unaware’ of the chaos surrounding the screening of this Saturday’s world title showdown with Amir Khan and he will not be affected financially by the decision to broadcast the fight on ‘Primetime’ Pay Per View Television.
SIMON COLLINS reports
That’s the view of ‘Dudey’s manager, Francie McNicholl who claims he isn’t surprised at the high profile dispute between ‘Team Khan’ and Sky Sports this week.
Dungiven’s undefeated challenger to Khan’s WBA light-welterweight throne is quietly going about his business four days before the biggest night of his life at the M.E.N. Arena and will stage a Media Workout at the Triangle Shopping Centre, Manchester today (Tuesday)at 1.00 p.m. where he will concentrate solely on boxing matters.
Sky Box Office’s decision to pull the plug on the pay-per-view broadcast last Thursday was quickly followed by Team Khan’s failure to agree terms for the fight to be screened on a regular Sky Sports 3 slot, leaving the promotion in financial turmoil with rumours circulating that the fight could be scrapped.
However, UK pay-per-view broadcaster, Primetime TV stepped in yesterday and have agreed to screen the fight ‘live’ on Sky Channel 480 which will save Khan from almost an 80 per cent loss of his purse.
Advanced sales for the fight had reportedly reached barely 50 for the Sky Box Office fight forcing them to abandon their coverage and while it was at first believed that McCloskey’s purse would be directly affected, McNicholl claims the ramifications were minimal.
Unmoved by these latest revelations, McCloskey and his manager insist the challenger has not been distracted by the ‘shambolic’ negotiations over TV rights and is blinkered in regard to Saturday’s fight.
“Things are moving on as we speak,” said McNicholl. “It’s going to be on Primetime, we were just speaking to the Primetime boss, he’s looking for some footage of Paul and they’re going to start promoting it now.
“Paul is blissfully unaware of all this,” he added. “He’s up today getting a weight test done with the British Boxing Board of Control.
“He’s aware Sky are not filming it but that’s about all. He’s not concerned in any way about the rest of the shenanigans. He has one aim and that’s all he’s focused on. For the final week he gets into his zone and nothing will bother him. He’ll block everything else out.”
Pleased with Contract
Having renegotiated McCloskey’s contract for the fight on Friday last in the wake of Sky’s decision to drop it from its original pay-per-view slot, McNicholl is pleased with the terms ironed out and insists it has never been about the money for his fighter.
“It was never really about money. Obviously if you do a particular job you expect to get a reasonable figure for it. Boxing is a profession so he expects to get paid a reasonable fee for what he does.
“But the big issue always for us were the options that Khan wated in the event that Paul won the fight. We were able to negotiate those to our satisfaction and they will remain the same. The money doesn’t really matter. We’ve agreed a fee and we’re happy with that.
“When Sky pulled the pay-per-view on Thursday, the Khans had to come back to ourselves - which they did - and we re-negotiated an agreement with them so that agreement still stands.
“These changes won’t affect our contract, we won’t be linked into the pay-per-view sales that will be for Khan to recover some of the money they have lost.
“But it will be a massive uphill battle to try to get viewer numbers up in such a short period of time.”
The Dungiven businessman has no sympathy for the Khans and their latest contractual problems having experienced his own run-in with them in the past.
“They’ve caused the problem themselves from day one. Everyone saw how much of a hard time we had dealing with them and now that’s applied to everyone else that have tried to deal with them.
“To walk away completely from this fight would cost them an awful lot of money and I’m sure that has had a big bearing on the decision to continue on with it.
“But I think Khans will be the ones sorry from all this they are the ones losing and I don’t have any great sympathy for them. They brought it on themselves so they will have to live with it.
“It has no bearing on us whatsoever and we don’t care if there are cameras there or not, it’s irrelevant. All we want to do is get over there and get Paul into the ring with Khan to do the business and bring the belt home.”
To watch Amir Khan v. Paul McCloskey live on ‘Primetime,’ Channel 480 on Sky, viewers must register beforehand online at www.primetimelive.co.uk or call 0871 200 4444 and buy through the box office on the night of the event. The fight will cost £14.95 and a small one-off registration fee will apply for customers new to Primetime.
Live in St Columb’s Hall
Meanwhile, the big fight will be shown live in St Columb’s Hall via Derry City Football Club’s large screen which is used in the Brandywell.
The Development Committee have organised this event and those wishing to attend will pay £10 (stalls) and £12.50 (balcony).
Tickets are currently on sale and those interested should contact the Derry City office on 71-373111.