“Verbal contracts aren’t worth the paper they’re written on”

Voicing an opinion without concrete foundation on a legal case involving Frank Warren is rather like smothering your tongue in honey, sticking your head in a bees nest and trying to sing “Are you lonesome tonight”, bottom line is, you’re going to get stung. With that reality in mind, I’ll tip-toe through the news he has brought a case against departed superstar Joe Calzaghe for Breach of Contract.

According to the ever reliable Sun newspaper, Warren has lodged a £1million writ with the High Court for Breach of Contract, which as far as I can ascertain, Calzaghe believes is now concluded. The terms of the writ have an echo of the bitter divorce between Hatton and Warren three years ago, when Warren contested he had a verbal three fight agreement beyond the Tszyu fight he put together for the Hitman. Hatton felt differently and despite legal wrangling and some astute maneuverings to secure exclusive rights to the MEN, Hatton’s spiritual home for many years, and the signature of Soulemanye M’Baye – one of Hatton’s mandatory contenders – the two never restored their working relationship.

Calzaghe’s case is slightly different, but not much. He’s closer to the end of his career than Hatton was at the time and publicly at least the two have enjoyed a more serene relationship despite the frustrations both have voiced at different times of Joe’s career about the elusive ‘defining fight’. Ultimately, however Calzaghe and Hatton’s thirst for a new beginning boiled down to the usual factor, money.

Calzaghe and Hatton believe they can and could earn more from their forthcoming fights as an independent enterprises enjoying the promoter’s cut and their own as the fighter. Warren points to the money and security he’s offered both, and few could argue that the two have been carefully matched, were unbeaten under his direction, always had home advantage (save a couple of isolated contests) and were essentially unmarked from their combat. And wealthy men.

They want more, and in Hatton’s case, already have it.

The timing of the announcement is interesting as it will lead conspiracy theorists to suggest this week’s postponement of the September clash with Roy Jones Jnr, which may or may not prove to be Calzaghe’s last depending which side of the bed he left this morning, due to injury is, in truth, because the legal wrangle needs to be resolved before Calzaghe can enter into the bout clear of mind and contractual obligation.

A similar situation prevailed ahead of Hatton v Maussa but eventually the bout proceeded without any public climbdown by the fighter. It would be easy to assume this move is merely a grandstand gesture by Warren, bitter from the departure of his premier attraction, after all his stable is much depleted with the loss of Nelson, Harrison, Hatton and now Calzaghe. The demolition of Maccarinelli and Rees offered little to lighten his mood either. But Warren guards his reputation and will be entirely serious about the writ if the Sun’s report proves to be accurate. Ian McNeilly, a proper journalist for BritishBoxing.net, couldn’t extract a comment, confirmation or denial from Frank Warren this morning.

As always, it will be intriguing to see how the story unfolds and to try and pick through the publicised facts and muse on what is occurring behind the scenes.

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