5 October 2010
Following recent speculation in the press regarding a possible clash between Irish middleweight rivals Andy Lee and John Duddy promoter Brian Peters has said he has twice tried to make the fight – with the issue of European Champion Matthew Macklin a major stumbling block.
There has been increasing rumblings in the media about the possibility of Lee and Duddy getting it on, but Peters has revealed that a recent written offer to both camps was rejected.
I have the greatest of respect for both Andy and John and have always worked very well with them in the past but I believe it’s important that a recent offer made to them is put on the record, said Peters.
I first tried to make the fight for November of 2009 but I also tried again more recently and on the 17th of August last I made detailed written offers to both John and Andy’s management teams. I subsequently spoke to John’s manager, Craig Hamilton and also met with Andy.
The offer was for Andy and John to meet on a proposed date at the beginning of 2011 in Ireland with the winner to meet Matthew Macklin in their next fight. Both fights would have been live on RT and the offer to each fighter was for a six figure sum with the winner to receive a further six figure sum to fight Matthew so from a financial point of view it was certainly quite lucrative and above and beyond the type of purses that they could command for any other fight right now.
Despite the lucrative nature of the offer both camps rejected the deal on the basis that they did not want to be tied in to a bout with Macklin.
The indications I received from both sides were that they were interested in fighting each other but the prospect of the winner having to fight Macklin as part of the deal seemed to be the stumbling block, said Peters.
A press release issued on behalf of Andy Lee recently stated that a fight between Duddy and Lee would address the burning question Who is the number one Irish middleweight fighter in the world today? however Peters believes that both men remain in Matthew Macklin’s shadow.
I don’t think there is much doubt at the moment that the leading Irish middleweight out there is Matthew Macklin, said Peters. He is the reigning European Champion and he is the only one of the three to be rated in the top ten of all the world sanctioning bodies (WBC 5, WBA 5, IBF 8, WBO 7) as well as being rated number 5 by the Ring magazine.
John is obviously coming off the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. defeat while Andy has been winning recently but not at Championship level like Matthew so I don’t think it’s really up for debate right now as to just who is Ireland’s leading middleweight but surely if John and Andy were to fight then a fight with Matthew would be a natural.
Let’s face it these are the fights that people want to see and myself and RT are in the business of delivering those fights. RT have proven their commitment to the sport by backing these kind of events and their first 3 shows of the new season will have featured 4 European title fights which is a serious statement of intent from them.