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PUT MICK HENNESSY BACK ON SKY


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PUT MICK HENNESSY BACK ON SKY

Danny Flexen says the promoter deserves more success

 

GOOD ACTION: Craig Watson-John O'Donnell II from the Wembley show

IMAGINE you are a boxing promoter. Just over a year ago your relationship with a top broadcaster was terminated despite your having produced several shows which attained critical and commercial success. You persevered until, a year later, one of your best fighters, a man who has spent his entire career with you and who you have taken to British and European titles, left for a competitor at the end of his contract, just when he appeared poised for world glory. But you kept plugging away and booked Wembley Arena for a big show. Yes it holds 5,000 for boxing but you have a huge London ticket-seller on the books and purse bids for his long sought-after megafight were soon due. Then you won the purse bids but the opponent opted to take a different fight while your London draw was unable to get ready in time for Wembley. So you picked yourself back up yet again, attracted 2,000 fans to Wembley without major TV backing or your biggest capital ticket-seller and staged an enjoyable show, one of the best British bills so far this year. But two of your main men lost title fights on the card and a third, a former world champion no less, was defeated in Canada hours later. You must feel like you've broken a huge amount of mirrors or walked under umpteen ladders.

 

This may seem like some cautionary tale designed to illustrate the pitfalls of boxing promotion but it’s a litany of ill fortune and injustice that has actually happened to one luckless man... Mick Hennessy.

 

Now I'm not going to lie – Mick and I have fallen out more than once, probably spending more time at odds than getting on in the past. But I feel for him now, because I recognise he has continually shown determination, resolve and resourcefulness in the face of abject adversity, often to have it thrown back in his face.

 

I have always respected Hennessy and I am not alone. Indeed it is rare to find a promoter who inspires as much warmth from his peers in this ruthless, competitive environment. When the ITV deal went sour, rival Frank Warren, not a man known for paying meaningless lip service, said, “I feel bad for Mick. He does his bit, works hard and what ITV have done to him is disgusting.” Trainer and promoter Spencer Fearon called Hennessy a “warrior”, while show-stager and Seconds Out owner Robert Waterman also greatly admires his counterpart. “Hennessy is the only promoter, myself included, who takes a risk,” Waterman praised. “He deserves a break.”

 

The pugnacious promoter also commands loyalty from his fighters. Despite the occasional grumble regarding a lack of home advantage or mainstream TV exposure, Carl Froch has stuck by Hennessy through thick and thin. Darren Barker and Tyson Fury recently told Donald McRae and myself respectively that they would “never leave Mick”. Can you imagine many other fighters saying that about their paymaster, especially when he is struggling? It’s because Hennessy is more than a promoter to his fighters and has worked tirelessly to ensure their success. The loyalty is reciprocal and the negative whispering you tend to hear regarding fight figures is largely absent about Hennessy.

 

But Mick would not welcome pity – I believe part of him relishes these setbacks because they help spark the determination to come back. He would probably say he is happy working with Premier Sports and Primetime and given that he keeps putting on shows Mick is either making money or has huge financial resources. But while Premier plays a crucial role in supplying a demand for fights you cannot see elsewhere, a source tells me they would have considered 5,000 people watching Hennessy’s Saturday show a success. And it that may be true, in terms of the broadcaster turning a profit. But long-term, for Hennessy to get back up there with the big boys he needs to be on Sky who attract six-figure audiences for their shows.

 

I cannot blame Sky for choosing the promoters they have under long-term contracts – Warren, Frank Maloney and the Hattons all have larger stables than Hennessy, while Matchroom own a format in Prizefighter that is a proven ratings winner. But Hayemaker recently agreed a four-date deal with Sky for bills topped by George Groves and I believe some of the broadcaster’s agreements with the other guys are up for renewal later this year. A limited-date arrangement could be just what Hennessy needs. It would provide him with the time and the platform to build his stable back up while keeping the likes of Barker and Fury active on his own shows. His promising youngsters like John Ryder and Tyler Goodjohn could develop on the undercards as the public get to know them. Then, when the contract ends, assuming Mick has delivered, he can renegotiate a longer deal.

 

I may not speak for Boxing News – I have not discussed this issue with the rest of the team – and given recent history, I’m not about to launch a TV-related campaign. But if someone else instigated a drive to get Hennessy Sports back on mainstream TV they would be guaranteed my support. Mick puts on good shows so merits it on results alone but, for me, he deserves it for his love of the game. Because it would be nice to believe, sometimes in this sport, you get out what you put in. Until next time...

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I agree with this sentiment.

Hennessey deserves more credit and exposure for the fights he's pulling together.

He's making far better domestic fights than Warren ever has, yet finds it difficult to crack the world market, due to the murky world of boxing politics.

Throw in the fact he's being overlooked far too often by TV networks, and he can certainly feel justified in feeling hard done by, when you consider some of the p*sh Fish eyes has sold us over the years....

 

Hennessey's average card is better than Warren's "30th anniversary best ever" effort ffs!

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I agree with the sentiment here, I think Hennessy simply makes better fights than does Warren, who kind of reminds me of just an English version of Bob Arum in that he's constantly giving you something less than what you actually want to see. ITV dropping him was dumb, although I agree with Faulks that he didn't/doesn't do himself any favors with his personality.
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Someone explained to me how it works the space management in the television for boxing in UK ???

 

There is an organization that handles relations with TV & Broadcast

(professional League, federation..ecc) or event stable make ourselves ???

 

It's very unstable - the TV companies keep changing their minds about boxing, sometimes even pulling out during existing contracts. Promoters use their influence to individually secure TV deals, but Sky TV are the only people who always show boxing - ITV and the BBC "cherrypick" fights/fighters.

 

When Froch was fighting Taylor, for example, Hennessy had to go to PrimeTime, who were brand new channel, or the fight would not have been on UKTV. When the fight turned out to be really exciting, the BBC bought the repeat and showed it in the afternoon. It's very unfair really.

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Someone explained to me how it works the space management in the television for boxing in UK ???

 

There is an organization that handles relations with TV & Broadcast

(professional League, federation..ecc) or event stable make ourselves ???

 

It's very unstable - the TV companies keep changing their minds about boxing, sometimes even pulling out during existing contracts. Promoters use their influence to individually secure TV deals, but Sky TV are the only people who always show boxing - ITV and the BBC "cherrypick" fights/fighters.

 

When Froch was fighting Taylor, for example, Hennessy had to go to PrimeTime, who were brand new channel, or the fight would not have been on UKTV. When the fight turned out to be really exciting, the BBC bought the repeat and showed it in the afternoon. It's very unfair really.

 

I also remember Witter vs Alexander and Woods vs Cloud didnt have any tv in the uk at all.

 

Matchroom have sneaked ont sky because of prizefighter. I do think Hennesey is doing a deal to get Froch on there which is a start.

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Someone explained to me how it works the space management in the television for boxing in UK ???

 

There is an organization that handles relations with TV & Broadcast

(professional League, federation..ecc) or event stable make ourselves ???

 

It's very unstable - the TV companies keep changing their minds about boxing, sometimes even pulling out during existing contracts. Promoters use their influence to individually secure TV deals, but Sky TV are the only people who always show boxing - ITV and the BBC "cherrypick" fights/fighters.

 

When Froch was fighting Taylor, for example, Hennessy had to go to PrimeTime, who were brand new channel, or the fight would not have been on UKTV. When the fight turned out to be really exciting, the BBC bought the repeat and showed it in the afternoon. It's very unfair really.

 

Thanks !!!

 

I do not understand, in Uk you have great boxing tradition, a giant movement of fighters and there is no programming ??? I'd understand if it were my country (italy) where for broadcasters there is only football...Sky Italy (Cousin UK) the last live match has sent (PPV) ..'five years ago'...

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Yes, but the people in charge of Tv companies are 1) stupid and 2) greedy. Snooker has regularly attracted millions of viewers, but the man who now runs BBC Sport doesn't like snooker, so tournaments are being dropped and other things are being put in their place.

 

Football takes priority over everything here as well, and most of the broadcasters spend a lot of their money on premier league games, so the rest gets spread out between the remaining sports.

 

When Howard Eastman fought Bernard hopkins, it was a last-minute bid by Setanta(an Irish company) that let us see it even as a PPV. An Englishman fighting for the unified middleweight title for the first time in decades and British TV wasn';t even showing it.

 

I don't think it helps that American TV has become the dominant force even over here - two British guys fighting in Britain could still not be televised until 4am here because HBO want to show it live and HBO take priority.

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Someone explained to me how it works the space management in the television for boxing in UK ???

 

There is an organization that handles relations with TV & Broadcast

(professional League, federation..ecc) or event stable make ourselves ???

 

It's very unstable - the TV companies keep changing their minds about boxing, sometimes even pulling out during existing contracts. Promoters use their influence to individually secure TV deals, but Sky TV are the only people who always show boxing - ITV and the BBC "cherrypick" fights/fighters.

 

When Froch was fighting Taylor, for example, Hennessy had to go to PrimeTime, who were brand new channel, or the fight would not have been on UKTV. When the fight turned out to be really exciting, the BBC bought the repeat and showed it in the afternoon. It's very unfair really.

 

 

Gav-

Even over here where HBO/Showtime are King, the lesser networks approach boxing with a tepid interest that often varies....Versus and Fox Sports periodically get into it big time, but never fully commit, unless it is something like Top Rank RUNNING it's own series on Fox Sports. ESPN varies in it's commitment over the years, cutting broadcasts down. The Networks keep changing their minds and promoters making their own sweetheart deals has been a problem everywhere.

The Huge outlay for Major Sports, whether the NFL or English Premier League, has taken it's toll everywhere but Germany as far as I can see.

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Promoters should look into streaming the event them selfs from the internet if they cant get it on the Tv. They must be missing out on a lot of money if they cant get it on Tv, so why not try the internet?. or even let a company do all the streaming for you like http://news.gofightlive.tv/about/promoter-information/

 

Give away the promotion for free online, sell the advertising space and get your fighters well known. You'll take a short term hit but long term profit...then again it's harder work.

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Yeah, the Internet NEVER HAS been used right for LIVE boxing. Don't get me wrong, I love YouTube and the Download sites, it's been great, but when it comes to Live Events (and I'm not talking feeds that the fans have provided for each other) then it's been Shlock that I wouldn't watch for Free, much less actually pay for. It's amazing how some promoters will think they're garbage cards will get some poor saps to spend $9.95 online. As pointed out, you'd think that using it to provide a "taste" and view some prospects that can't make it on TV, and yes some good promoters have done that, but they are far outnumbered by the ones who want to exploit their audience.

 

In effect, for some unexplained reason, I expected the greedy bastards that run our sport to take advantage of their opportunity and not be snake oil salesmen.....why was I so optimistic?

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Give away the promotion for free online, sell the advertising space and get your fighters well known. You'll take a short term hit but long term profit...then again it's harder work.

 

Absolutely right !!! We are in the new millennium the possibilities of the Internet are endless....if we sow good will collect the large !!!

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Yeah, the Internet NEVER HAS been used right for LIVE boxing. Don't get me wrong, I love YouTube and the Download sites, it's been great, but when it comes to Live Events (and I'm not talking feeds that the fans have provided for each other) then it's been Shlock that I wouldn't watch for Free, much less actually pay for. It's amazing how some promoters will think they're garbage cards will get some poor saps to spend $9.95 online. As pointed out, you'd think that using it to provide a "taste" and view some prospects that can't make it on TV, and yes some good promoters have done that, but they are far outnumbered by the ones who want to exploit their audience.

 

In effect, for some unexplained reason, I expected the greedy bastards that run our sport to take advantage of their opportunity and not be snake oil salesmen.....why was I so optimistic?

 

I know the WBC do do some live shows streamed for the fans but they are generally quite obscure Mexican cards (Barrera's recent one and some of Alvarez's have been the exceptions), hopefully some promoter sees it and follows suit

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