A MISERABLE purse offer and ‘King Khan’s’ insistence on controlling Paul McCloskey’s next two fights in the event of a second career defeat at the hands of the Dungiven man scuppered a potential world title clash between the pair in Manchester in April.
Talks collapsed last week after the McCloskey and Khan camps failed to agree terms on a highly anticpated clash at the MEN on April 16.
The breakdown hinged on Khan’s refusal to improve on a thrifty initial purse offer that - though twice what McCloskey received for his last EBU defence against Barry Morrison - was a mere fraction of what would be normally expected for a world title challenge.
It also emerged Khan was seemingly preparing for life as a former world champion insisting on three options in the event of a McCloskey win including a rematch for which the would-be new WBA belt-holder would have been be paid just 2.5 times the amount he got for defeating Barry Morrison last year.
Khan also wanted to promote McCloskey’s subsequent two fights taking a percentage in each case.
Talks broke down on the purse offer for the rematch; Mr McNicholl felt that “Paul as world champion should receive a 50/50 percentage split of the rematch.
“The cash amount offered was only equal to what we asked for in the first fight. We were willing to accept. options two and three.”
Mr McNicholl also suggested a compromise could have been arrived at by maximising the revenue accruing to the Dungiven fighter through tickets and Pay-Per-View (PPV) subscriptions.
But on ticket sales Khan’s team would only agree to 20 per cent commission on sales over and above 100,000.
And on PPV Khan’s team offered McCloskey 25 per cent but only above 200,000. According to Mr McNicholl: “The Khan Maidana (Khan’s last contest) fight did not get anywhere near this number, so this offer was potentially worthless.”
Despite the dead end Mr McNicholl told the Sentinel yesterday the Dungiven fighter was very much in the mix for a world title challenge for the WBC belt following the insipid defeat by Timothy Bradley of Devon Alexander on Saturday night.
“Paul is rated fourth in the WBC rankings,” said Mr McNicholl. “We are very much in the mix as far as a world title challenge is concerned and that’s the way we are looking at it. We want to move on to the world level as opposed to the European level from now on.”
Amir Khan’s father Shah told the Sentinel the potential clash was very much dead but insisted their offer was reasonable.
“I think they were very unprofessional in coming out and publishing the details,” said Mr Khan, who disputed the claim that they had offered just twice what McCloskey got for his EBU defence against Barry Morrison.
He added: “Our offer was reasonable. Amir has never got more than 10 per cent on ticket sales for any of his fights - no more - but we were going to offer Paul McCloskey 20 per cent.” He also said the McCloskey camp should not have insisted on a cut of the PPV subscriptions as the Dungiven man was not a “PPV fighter.”
“The thing is, out offer was very reasonable and I don’t think Paul McCloskey will get a better one, unless he becomes a world champion and a genuine contender,” said Mr Khan.
Mr Khan said he was now looking at Junior Witter and reconsidering the formerly priced-out Lamont Peterson as potential opponents for the WBA defence in April but wished the McCloskey camp well.
Mr McNicholl earlier reciprocated, wishing the Bolton fighter the best of luck in future despite his disappointment the Khan camp could not agree to what he viewed as reasonable requests.
“We regret that the Khan team could not agree,” he stated. “The general boxing public are the ones who are missing out on a great fight for this part of the world. One that we know Paul would have won and retained his undefeated record.”