Loyalty is defined as having ‘a strong feeling of support or allegiance’ to something or someone. Loyalty is an oft used phrase in the sporting world; we all bemoan the modern footballer for having no loyalty. They chase the fast buck, the fast car, the fast woman. All in all we perceive footballers to have no loyalty to anyone but themselves. Is Boxing any different?
This week has seen the re-utterance of the famous Micky Duff quote ‘If you want loyalty, buy a dog’. This latest musing has come from one Richard Hatton in describing his treatment at the hands of SKY. For those of you who don’t know Hatton’s stable of fighters will no longer fight on the channel on promotions under his banner (the last show of their existing agreement will be topped Rendall Munroe vs Scott Quigg on 16 June). Many have expressed shock and anger at this news.
Cast your mind back, circa 2005. Hatton sweeping all before on his way to dethroning pound for pound legend Kosta Tszyu in front of not only a rabid Manchester crowd but thousands at home generating PPV sales and cash for the aforementioned SKY. So, you could argue by deserting what was once their Golden Goose that SKY have acted in an immoral way. You also need to ask the question should Ricky expect loyalty anymore than the next man? Does loyalty exist in Boxing?
Some would say given the news that Hatton will be in the corner of a man fighting one of his own fighters (Hatton will be present in Sergey Rabchenko's corner against fellow stablemate Ryan Rhodes) that he maybe not in a position to argue the virtues of allegiance (but why should Hatton show any more favouritism towards Rhodes because he happens to be British? - Deputy Ed).
Ryan Rhodes at this point may feel the same feeling of being hard done by in the same way that Hatton has experienced this week. Of course, we don’t know the 'ins and outs' of that particular scenario so it’s probably not overly wise to go into that one too much. However, what we can say without worry is that loyalty in Boxing; well essentially it is in short supply. There are many examples up and down the land of trainers, fighters and promoters doing what is right at the time to suit themselves. Nothing wrong with that, we all have a living to make. However, maybe the Boxing world should really just accept this as being just the way it is.
Yes, have a sense of mistreatment; we are all human after all. However, incredulity I find difficult to reason with. It’s like driving at 35 mph in a 30 zone and complaining when you’re on the speed awareness course. Pointless. The feeling of disloyalty has happened throughout the years, from Nigel Benn, Naseem Hamed and Hatton himself all leaving a certain promotional stable, for reasons to suit themselves. Again, nothing wrong with that, they are the ones taking the punches. The divorce between Brendan Ingle and Naz is a prime example of how the feeling of disloyalty can be apparent. The young son leaving his second father left many feeling a sense of shock at the time. In hindsight it’s typical.
Fast forward to the more recent times. Carl Froch, gutsy fighter, great man it would seem, left Mick Hennessy to suit his own needs. I’m sure Hennessy feels a bit pissed off about that. Eddie Hearn, bemoans Tony Bellew’s big fight credentials one minute, the next he’s standing ringside with the man like a proud father. He sees potential in Tony, of course he does we all do. Bellew is set to make a lot of money.
Before we all get upset, all of the aforementioned characters I don’t know on any sort of personal level so therefore this is nothing personal. You may see this as generalisation in the extreme, an unfair slight on the protagonists in a sport which hurts. Or, you could see this as a fair explanation of the Boxing world as it always has been.
Loyalty?? Not overly bothered myself. Just bring me the big fights and the big knockouts that’ll be all. If you want loyalty purchase a canine.