Calzaghe’s final fight: against his promoter

Boxer aims to keep his undefeated record by beating former friend

When Joe Calzaghe announced his retirement earlier this month, it was assumed by many that the undefeated world champion would never face another fight.

But yesterday, Calzaghe began perhaps his biggest bout to date. And, as in most of his others, the money at stake runs into the millions.

The surroundings were not New York’s Madison Square Gardens, the scene of Calzaghe’s final bout, but the rather more austere settings of the Royal Courts of Justice, in London.

His opponent is Frank Warren, one of British boxing’s most famous faces and Calzaghe’s friend, promoter and manager for the past 14 years.

The pair are locked in a dispute over money owed in the aftermath of an acrimonious fallout. Warren claims Calzaghe owes him a percentage of his winnings from his final fight, against Roy Jones Jr, because by not allowing him to promote the fight, Calzaghe was in breach of a verbal contract which promised Warren he would promote all of Calzaghe’s fights.

In the courtroom, as in the ring, Calzaghe was quick to counter. He has launched a counter-claim that says Warren owes him £2m in unpaid fees from a fight against Bernard Hopkins in April 2008.

Much of yesterday’s courtroom submission centred on a meeting that took place in a London office in January last year. There, Warren claims that a verbal agreement was made that he would promote all of Calzaghe’s future fights.

But, following the Hopkins fight Warren says he became concerned by press reports and rumours that Calzaghe was describing himself as a free agent and claiming he had severed his ties with Warren and was going to promote his fight with Roy Jones Jr alone.

Around that time, in a letter to Warren, Calzaghe denied the pair had made any agreement at the meeting.

Yesterday Ron Thwaites, counsel for Frank Warren, said Calzaghe will claim he ended his relationship with Warren because he felt he was “unfairly exploited”. He added that the boxer, who earned more than £16m in a 43-fight career that spanned 15 years, will claim he was “bullied and pressured into signing agreements … when he was mentally and physically tired as a result of heavy training … and that he signed under duress.”

But Mr Thwaites said his client will prove that is untrue. He added: “What we suggest happened is that instead of doing what he did best in the ring, Mr Calzaghe, rather unwisely, thought that promoting fights was simplicity itself, that there was nothing to it and he could do it without a promoter. That is how he came unstuck.”

The court heard how Calzaghe and Warren had previously enjoyed a good relationship. Details of contracts were read out in which it was revealed Warren had negotiated deals of £800,000, £1m and £1.2m for consecutive fights for the Welsh boxer, plus a £2.5m television deal for two fights. The court was told Warren took the smaller part of an 80/20 percentage split as opposed to the more customary 75/25. And Warren had given Calzaghe a £50,000 “knock-out bonus” that he wasn’t entitled to, as well as a £20,000 watch. Calzaghe’s legal team expressed their fear that, should Calzaghe win the counter-claim, Warren could simply close down his company, Sports Network, meaning Calzaghe will not receive his money since it is in the name of that company that Warren is suing the boxer.

The hearing continues.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent